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  1. Categories: Business

    HSR Goes to Gas

    The high costs of diesel fuel has led the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) to begin switching its bus fleet from diesel, to being fuelled by clean and affordable compressed natural gas (CNG).

    “The bottom line is the diesel fuel market has just exploded,” said Douglas Murray, manager of transit fleet maintenance.

    A transit fleet report noted the cost per litre of diesel has risen to more than a dollar from about 75 cents since 2009, with steady increases projected for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, the cost of CNG has generally declined over the same period, and is predicted to keep dropping until about 2017 “and then to inflate after that time, although at a lower rate…than diesel,” said Murray.

    Though only 35 of the HSR’s 221 buses are currently powered by natural gas, an analysis of fuel costs, maintenance expenditures, and other factors resulted in a recommendation to switch to natural gas as the fleet’s main fuel.

    Availability of fuel was also a consideration, with new extraction methods making large supplies of natural gas available within North America. In fact, Hamilton is one of many municipalities looking at making the switch to natural gas.

    Have any thoughts about switching diesel-burning bus engines to clean and affordable natural gas? Let us know in the comments section below.

    [Source: Hamilton Spectator, 29 Jan. 2013, at http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/877093–hsr-buses-going-back-to-natural-gas]

  2. Categories: Business

    Nova Chemicals Signs Long-Term Supply Contract

    The transition to natural gas continues in Ontario. Nova Chemicals fulfilled a condition of approval with the National Energy Board for a $600 million dollar conversion of its Corunna plant to use ethane extracted from natural gas as its raw material.

    But what does this really mean? It means jobs for Ontarians.

    “The proximity of this new feedstock supply has made ethane economically viable as a feedstock. Access to this feedstock supply is an important opportunity to ensure NOVA Chemicals’ continued competitive economic viability in Sarnia, both today and well into the future.” – Nova Chemicals

    The Corunna complex has made 30-40% of Canada’s requirements for basic petrochemicals since 1977 and has been a mainstay of employment for the past 36 years. The plan to convert to ethane is helping keep more than 900 well-paid technical jobs in Sarnia. We often speak to the benefits of natural gas as an energy resource but we have to remember that it helps provide so much more to the people of Ontario.

    Please share your thoughts on the Nova Chemical conversion in the comment section below.

  3. Categories: Business, Environment

    Natural Gas as Transport Fuel

    Fleet owners across North America are switching to natural gas for their trucks and buses because of the fuel’s affordability and cleanliness. Here’s what they experience:

    • Fuel cost savings of up to 30 – 40% per kilometre
    • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 – 25%
    • Quieter vehicles providing less noise in urban settings
    • Lower levels of air pollutants and toxins

    And because natural gas vehicles also have the power, torque and fuel consumption characteristics similar to diesel, fleets need not sacrifice the performance they require to carry out their daily tasks.


    Natural gas for vehicle use is typically 30 – 40% less expensive than liquid fuels. The savings are due partially to the fact natural gas is a lower-cost commodity, compared to crude oil. This reality coupled with natural gas being exempt from federal and provincial fuel taxes, makes it an unmatched value and a wise business decision.


    Using natural gas to fuel vehicles provides several environmental benefits:

    • Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced on a total lifecycle basis by 15 – 25% below diesel
    • Natural gas-powered vehicles also emit fewer air pollutants
    • Smog-related emissions of sulphur dioxide and non-methane hydrocarbons are reduced

    But switching doesn’t just spare the environment air pollution but also noise pollution. Natural gas vehicles are quieter than diesel vehicles. In fact, the noise from one diesel bus idling equals the noise from 10 idling natural gas buses. This significant sound reduction benefits fleets, communities and drivers who spend their days behind the wheel.

    Let us know how you feel about powering trucks and buses with natural gas, in the comments section below.