Building a Virtual Natural Gas Pipeline
At businesses worldwide, natural gas continues to make significant inroads as a high-value energy resource for manufacturing and operations processes. Specifically, numerous factors related to natural gas — including everything from “green” environmental-impact advantages to price stability and ever-increasing proven reserves as a consequence of leveraging new technologies like fracking — are driving more and more companies to convert to it from crude oil No. 6.
Since many facilities seeking to make this conversion are situated in rural areas outside established pipeline networks, they require that natural gas be transported — in its compressed natural gas (CNG) state — via tube trailers. For years, the recognized standard for CNG tube trailers has been eight 2,900 PSI tubes capable of hauling approximately 160,000 SCF of CNG. Given this payload capacity, such vehicles were never particularly cost-effective at “extending” the pipeline to remote manufacturing operations needing vast quantities of CNG.
To address this issue, FIBA Technologies has developed a new superjumbo CNG tube trailer. Containing fourteen 2,748 PSI tubes capable of hauling approximately 290,000 SCF of CNG, the vehicle can carry more CNG than any other reliable alternative. It is also designed to be loaded and unloaded in less than one hour. With this vehicle, trailer owners and operators can make larger deliveries at each drop point, reduce the required number of trucks, drivers and insurance permits for a fleet, and decrease hook-up labor time — thereby significantly reducing transportation-related costs.
In short, by making it economically feasible to transport large payloads over long distances, FIBA’s new superjumbo trailer creates a “virtual” pipeline that helps address the skyrocketing demand for CNG conversions among even the most remote manufacturing facilities.
Traveling The Highways and Byways of Canada
With its broad expanse of rugged terrain, Canada has rural businesses everywhere that lack pipeline access and have to rely on over-road transportation of CNG — and it was here that FIBA’s new equipment was first put to use.
FIBA has CNG end-users as well as CNG distributors as customers of its 14-tube superjumbo trailer. In this way, FIBA is helping meet the CNG conversion needs of businesses both directly (i.e., by serving end-users) and indirectly (i.e., by serving trucking firms that in turn serve end-users). Ultimately, therefore, FIBA has a contributing role in bringing the benefits of CNG to industries as diverse as frozen foods, paper and alcoholic beverages — industries that, until now, have been consuming vast quantities of crude oil No. 6.
Primary Drivers of CNG Conversion
As alluded to previously, the benefits of CNG as an alternative fuel to crude oil No. 6 are numerous, and two of them are particularly important:
1) Fewer pollutants. CNG is a much cleaner-burning, “greener” fuel than crude oil No. 6. For example, in regard to greenhouse gases, CNG produces approximately 75% fewer nitrogen oxide emissions and 30% fewer carbon dioxide emissions. CNG also generates less sulfur dioxide (a cause of acid rain) and less particulate matter (a cause of smog).
A FIBA customer in Canada using the new tube trailer cites a very compelling case in point: By eliminating the use of 22 million liters (5.8 million gallons) of crude oil No. 6 annually, the company’s processing plants reduce the Canadian province’s carbon dioxide emissions by 1% — which is the equivalent of taking 4,200 gasoline-fueled automobiles off the roads.
2) Decreased cost. A high-viscosity residual oil, crude oil No. 6 is the material remaining after more valuable cuts of crude oil have boiled off. Given recent shifts in demand for No.1 – No. 6 fuel grades — such as increased usage of No. 2 petrodiesel — as well as improved efficiency in the oil refining process, less crude oil No. 6 is currently being produced. The result is a shortage … and a dramatic skyrocketing of prices. In fact, CNG on average is less than half the price of crude oil No. 6. Consequently, a manufacturer like the one discussed above that’s consuming millions of gallons of crude oil No. 6 annually can reduce fuel expenses substantially by converting to CNG.
Unique Solutions for CNG Containment Equipment Challenges
FIBA will continue to work closely with customers to develop unique, customized containment equipment designs that help facilitate CNG conversion at manufacturing-centric businesses. In particular, solutions like the new superjumbo tube trailer — which creates a “virtual” natural gas pipeline — will service remote end-users that would otherwise lack access to CNG. It’s already happening in Canada … and companies throughout the world have the same pressing need.