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  1. Categories: Business, Environment

    Audi made a breakthrough vehicle. Then they made a breakthrough fuel.

    Not only is Audi breaking the consumer barrier to natural gas with their Audi A3 Sportback g-tron, the bi-fuel vehicle has spurred the company to engineer their own natural gas.

    And it’s pushing the envelope for green technology. Audi’s e-gas is synthetic methane harnessed from renewable resources – electricity generated by two giant windmills in the North Sea. An electrolytic process will separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. CO2 will then be combined with the hydrogen to create methane (i.e. natural gas). The carbon dioxide itself comes from a biogas plant, and when bonded to hydrogen, the CO2 (a projected 2,800 metric tons of it) becomes carbon neutral. That’s roughly equivalent to the carbon dioxide that could be absorbed by 224,000 beech trees per year.

    The vehicle can switch between natural gas and gasoline for an impressive combined range of up to 1,300 km. The engine itself is a turbocharged 1.4-litre, direct fuel injected four-cylinder, with the ability to run on gasoline, Audi’s e-gas and natural gas.

    In many ways, Audi has created the conditions in both automobile technology and power generation for self-sustaining cars. This e-gas technology can be used to harness surplus electrical energy (which would otherwise be wasted or sold by generators for a discount) and made into natural gas. More importantly, the vehicle’s bi-fuel engine can operate just as well on all the clean, affordable and reliable natural gas we in North America can simply take from the ground.

    Audi will be joining the ranks of Ford and Honda, in offering commercially available natural gas options. And though there are no plans to bring it to Canada today, our natural gas abundance could bring it here soon enough.

    Is the growing number of natural gas vehicles winning you over? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section provided below.



  2. Categories: Business, Environment

    Canada’s Closing Window

    At a recent meeting in Yellowknife of leaders of energy rich provinces, our Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, said the economic opportunities that exist in this country would not last forever. Though our resources may be abundant, our technology, business and trade relationships, and achieving a world-class reputation for environmentally sound development are time sensitive. He stated that we must take immediate action to get Canada’s oil and natural gas to market, instead of the dithering and second-guessing that has dominated our political and business environments.

    “The challenge for Canada is to open up to foreign markets and supply what the world needs,” he said. “We have a choice: to proceed or procrastinate.”

    All this indecision is in the face of a natural gas development bonanza south of the border. According to a recent study, the American natural gas boom in 2012 supported 2.1 million jobs, added $283 billion to GDP and $75 billion to state and government coffers. The economic stimulus increased the income of the average U.S. household by $1,200. They’ve realized that natural gas creates opportunity. These figures indicate a noticeable lift in U.S. economic circumstances – and not a moment too soon.

    Increasing affluence and industrialization of emerging markets like China, India and Brazil requires enormous amounts of energy. Simply put, they will want what we take for granted – the ability to drive cars, turn on lights and maintain a comfortable temperature in their homes. World demand will increase for energy and so will its price.

    How we marshal such a clean, affordable and reliable energy source like natural gas is the key to our future. It’s an opportunity we can’t afford to pass up.

    Let us know your thoughts in the comments section supplied below.



  3. Categories: Uncategorized

    Undeniable: Natural Gas Is Here To Stay

    The early 80s flirted with natural gas as a common vehicular fuel source. That’s when over 20,000 taxis, limos and even some private cars were converted to compressed natural gas (CNG). Market conditions also helped create 220 CNG service stations throughout Canada, so consumers assumed they could feel secure of supply.

    Then things changed.

    Supply and demand forced the price of natural gas upwards. The justification for the switch to natural gas had to be re-considered, and so did the service stations. In fact, today only seven natural gas stations remain in Ontario.

    Needless to say, the industry has its reservations about plunging headlong into a replay of the early 1980s. But this time, things are quite different. New technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have created access to massive deposits of natural gas reserves. With an abundant supply in-hand, the uncertainty of the 80s is undeniably in the past— plentiful supplies of affordable natural gas are here to stay.

    It’s here to stay for power generation and transportation. With costs being a third of gasoline, the conversion becomes a no brainer for companies seeking more profitable bottom lines.

    And as mentioned previously in this blog, you know there’s a bolder, renewed faith when Ford Motor Company begins producing their coveted F-Series pickup trucks with bi-fuel natural gas/gasoline engines. When $12,000 added to that vehicle’s sticker price doesn’t seem to be a barrier, you know natural gas has finally arrived.

    At a mere 25 per cent of the carbon emissions of gasoline or diesel, natural gas presents an environmental bonus for companies and municipalities. For example, municipalities are eagerly embracing clean, affordable and reliable natural gas for their fleets and waste disposal trucks (an area in which natural gas enjoys a higher penetration than almost any other sector).

    Need more convincing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section provided below.