November 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature
American Power Group and WheelTime Network announced that they're teaming up, with WheelTime member companies marketing and installing APG's dual-fuel natural gas and diesel aftermarket conversion system.
APG's Vehicular Turbocharged Natural Gas System is a non-invasive, patented system offering a 300-800 mile dual fuel range with no loss of power and torque, according to the companies. If the truck runs out of natural gas and there's no fueling station available, it can run entirely on diesel.
Depending on the route profile, it can deliver an average annual net fuel savings of 15%-30% over 100% diesel fuel by displacing an average of 50% of the diesel with natural gas. It works with either compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas.
With no practical design limits for engine models or horsepower, the APG system is currently EPA-approved for 88 engine families and is expected to receive EPA approval for more than 200 additional engine families by the end of 2013. (EPA changed its conversion approval regulations in 2011, making it easier for dual-fuel system to be certified to be used on different engine models. APG says it was the first to get an engine approved under the new guidelines.)
The APG system offers the flexibility to return the vehicle to 100% diesel operation at any time. At end-of-life or vehicular rotation, the APG system and natural gas tank can be easily removed and installed on another EPA approved engine.
The WheelTime Network's 18 member companies provide installation and warranty support through nearly 200 service centers, 2,800 service bays, 3,000 factory-trained technicians and 30 training facilities located across the United States and Canada.
We see natural gas as an important and necessary development in our industry. Accordingly, WheelTime made a strategic decision earlier this year to begin taking the necessary steps to become a center of excellence for the installation and service of natural gas engines, says Mike Delaney, president and CEO of WheelTime.
The key to APG's dual-fuel technology, explains Lyle Jensen, CEO of American Power Group, was advances in engine electronics and software to manage the flow displacement natural gas. Unlike some other dual-fuel systems, he says, they did not have to make any changes to the engine's fuel injection system.
"We've stayed away from having to design a custom fuel injector, which is very expensive," he says. "We use a variable throttle body controller with our software, so we can introduce natural gas through the pre turbo."
WheelTime's Delaney says his company believes natural gas as a vehicle fuel, and dual fuel technology, is here to stay.
"The dual fuel technology class I think is a game changing movement for evolution of natural gas transportation," he says. "Up to this point market has been forced to be relatively niche, with up to $100,000 up charge on new natural gas engines, which limits the number of applications."
When his company researched the market, he says, they felt APG's dual-fuel solution was the best fit.
"APG has more engine family approvals than any other player, partly because their process is reliably simple, not dealing with injectors, pressure and heat, very little that actually changes the working of the engine the way the OE designed it. It's not intrusive technology. The engine gets to perform the way it was designed to."
Delaney points out that APG has been using the same technology successfully in off-road and stationary diesel engines for more than five years, and recently went through successful on-road fleet testing in Australia.