Expansion of Tulare's Liquid Natural Gas Fuel Station

February 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Billionaire T. Boone Pickens has his eye on a project in the Valley. His company wants to expand a natural gas facility in Tulare currently used by city and county vehicles only.School buses and Tulare County transit vehicles fill up regularly at the compressed natural gas pumps at Tulare's city corporation yard.

The facility also offers another clean fuel alternative -- Liquefied Natural Gas and soon commercial trucks could be filling up here.

Tulare Public Works Director Lew Nelson said, "Liquefied Natural Gas has just a fraction of the soot that a Diesel truck has so the fine particulate - the smoke - is gone."

Nelson said the city of Tulare has agreed to let national gas giant "Clean Energy" spend $500,000 to expand the city's liquefied natural gas station ... which right now is only used by the city's waste and some transit trucks.

"Clean Energy," a company founded by Billionaire T. Boone Pickens, is now trying to focus on serving a growing number of large diesel trucks that have been converted to only use liquefied natural gas as fuel.

So what's the difference between liquefied natural gas -- or LNG -- and compressed natural gas -- or CNG? To start with, liquefied natural gas is cheaper -- today only a $1.24 for a gallon and is used for large trucks. It's compressed and cooled to 260-degrees below zero until it turns to liquid.

"It has 600 times as much natural gas in a gallon as a typical gas you'd get in your home so if you liquefy it and put it on a truck you carry a whole lot more fuel," said Nelson.

The city hopes to have the expanded facility up and running by the end of the year.