PERC funds major Autogas research
At their July meeting in Park City, Utah, the Propane Education & Research Council, a check-off program established, operated, and funded by the US LPG industry, approved ten projects with a total sum of 2.47 million USD. Of these ten projects three are related to Autogas and cover the most important issues which currently need addressing at the time: fuel quality (sulphur content), compatibility with future environmental regulations (CARB roadmap) and a modern refuelling connector.
With ultra low sulphur fuels becoming the norm with conventional fuels, the higher sulphur content in LPG can no longer be justified. The notion of deliberatly introducing sulphur into the fuel through stenching agents is already questionable, especially before the backdrop of the immense efforts undertaken to desulphur gasoline and diesel. The ultimate effect has often been that modern engines are no longer being designed to be resistant to higher levels of sulphur. When these vehicles are then exposed to a higher sulphur content, some car manufacturers have claimed, the vehicles’ delicate exhaust aftertreatment systems will suffer severely up to the point of becoming ineffective.
The PERC project with a total volume of $ 104,600, which was awarded to the Southwest Research Institute, will look into the sensitivity to sulphur content of future vehcile systems and how current levels of sulphur may affect them.
Compatibility with future environmental regulations
The Dunlap Group has been awarded a $ 60,000-contract to produce a California Air Resources Board (CARB) Roadmap 2015. The roadmap will also address product development covering vehicle and engine certifications and regulatory issues. This paper should put the Autogas industry in a much better position to introduce new technologies in the state of California as rulemakers will be made aware of the inherent advantages of LPG as a motor fuel. It will also give the industry cues as to where future regulations will be headed and offer the oportunity to contribute to rulemaking but at the same time adapt product development to suit future needs.
The US LPG industry has greeted the introduction of the so called Euroconnector with great enthusiasm. This connector, a dedicated development that addresses all shortcomings of the conventional connectors, is characterised through smooth, single-handed operation with minimal emissions, increased safety and vastly superior comfort. While experiencing only limited uptake in Europe, where infrastructure operators dread the cost, the rapidly growing US market has jumped the opportunity and decided to switch before it was too late.
In order to ensure that no one gets left behind, PERC has approved to fund a half-million dollar reimbursement programme to assist those willing to transition from old connectors to the new Euroconnector. The great acclaim received by the equipment in the US and in Spain is now prompting operators in other countries to re-consider their dismissive position on the new technology. This reimbursement programme will surely bolster the Euroconnector’s position.
Who is PERC?
The only energy council of its kind, PERC leads safety and training efforts among propane retailers and consumers and drives technology development to expand adoption of propane as a clean, domestic, and affordable energy source. PERC programs benefit a variety of industries including fleet vehicle management, landscaping, residential and commercial building, agriculture, and material handling.
The Council’s investment in R&D has played a critical role in expanding the portfolio of vehicles that run on propane autogas. PERC-supported vehicles include the Roush CleanTech Ford F-Series trucks and E-Series vans and Blue Bird and Collins buses.