Propane Days Agenda: Educate and Lobby A New Congress

With a new Congress that includes 100 freshman members, 91 of them in the House of Representatives, it seems that making progress is taking even longer than usual. “A lot of issues got kicked down the road as the new Congress took over and now things are moving slower as so many new Congress members are coming up to speed on all of the issues,” said Michael Baker, director, legislative affairs for the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA). “We’ve been actively working on getting to know all of the new members of Congress and their staff. We’ve been to over 150 Congressional offices so far. At a certain point, there is only so much industry lobbyists can accomplish as these offices welcome input directly from their constituents. They are part of the propane industry in states and districts, and it is extremely valuable for them to visit these members of Congress and the staff who keep them up to date on all of the issues.”
The propane LPG industry heads to Washington, DC in June for Propane Days to meet with congressional representatives about issues affecting the propane industry including the Jones Act reports BPN the propane industry's leading source for news and information since 1939.
A key opportunity for this, of course, is NPGA’s annual Propane Days event, which is set for June 2-5 in Washington, D.C. “Industry members are needed as much as ever,” said Baker. “With so many new members of Congress, education is an important part of the process of lobbying.” Baker believes that even if industry members do not feel current issues concern them greatly, it is still important for them to keep the lines of communication open. “Establishment of these relationships is critical when issues arise that require immediate action,” Baker said.

Alternative Fuel Tax Credits
One issue that is critical for the expansion of propane’s use as a fuel for autogas and forklifts is the need for as many financial incentives as possible. “Many tax credits are still active, but 29 have expired since 2017,” Baker said. “A 37 cent-per-gallon credit on propane as an auto fuel and a fuel for forklifts is under consideration. Support for this credit and a broader package of short-term tax provisions appears to be popular in both the House and Senate. We need Congress to get this on the agenda and take some much-needed action.”

DRIVE-Safe Act
Seen by many as a win-win because it fills a critical need while providing a job for younger people in the job market, the DRIVE-Safe Act has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. “Across all industries in America, there is a shortage of 50,000 commercial drivers,” Baker said. The bills before the House and Senate call for a two-stage apprenticeship program that would allow qualified drivers aged 18-21 to participate in interstate commerce. Currently, Federal law requires drivers to be 21 to participate in interstate commerce. “We want to work with other industries to bring a safe path forward for these younger drivers,” Baker said. “Too often the higher age requirements for truck driving jobs cause potential drivers to go in other directions, learn new skills, and then they are unavailable for driving jobs at the age of 21 because they’ve invested their time and value in other occupations.”

Waiver of the Jones Act for Propane
The Jones Act is a century-old law requiring that only U.S.-built vessels may carry products from one U.S. port to another. In the case of propane, there are no U.S.-built vessels for shipping the fuel. While it must seem like common sense to allow non-U.S.-built vessels to move propane from one U.S. port to another, especially to prevent a shortage or avoid requiring propane to be bought from a foreign country, it is not that easy. The shipbuilders and dockworkers have a strong lobby that doesn’t like Congress to budge an inch on waivers of the Jones Act out of fear it will lead to more and more waivers. Meanwhile, cold winters have continued to impact the Northeast segment of the U.S., which has been prone to supply and logistics issues in recent years. The need for hundreds and hundreds of trucks moving to the Northeast could be alleviated by using just one ship to move millions of gallons to the region. “We always find some opposition, but we can’t just assume we’ll never get traction on this issue,” Baker said. “We’re not giving up on a plan to seek an industry exemption that gets propane exactly where it is needed when it is critically needed.” Baker noted that there are some like Senator Lee of Utah who believe the entire Jones Act should be scrapped. “We’d love that, but there is likely a better chance of success in advocating for an exemption where it is needed.”

Carbon Labeling
When energy customers understand each energy source’s carbon footprint based on the full fuel cycle, propane looks pretty good. Currently, all consumer appliances are labeled with a yellow Energy Guide sticker that provides the average annual cost to utilize an appliance. NPGA is advocating before Congress that in addition to the average annual cost, Energy Guide labels should also include the carbon footprint associated with a consumer appliance. While there is no specific legislation on the table right now, many Congressional offices have expressed interest in this issue. “There was some progress here in 2009 when carbon labeling language was included in the Waxman-Markey Bill that passed the House, but the legislation died in the Senate. There is historical precedence for carbon labeling, and consumer appliances such as propane water heaters look very attractive when consumers understand its environmentally-friendly, and cost-effective attributes.”

Opportunities for Progress
While legislative activity has been slow so far in 2019, Baker noted that NPGA has submitted appropriation requests for funding opportunities through the Department of Energy for vehicle engine technology and combined heat and power, and is waiting to see if they are approved. For the industry members, he stresses that building relationships with and educating Congress members as well as staff is essential and can be done in the district as well as at Propane Days. “Often it is more common that we get time with the staff rather than the Congressperson during Propane Days. That is still important because staff have the Congressperson’s ear and help to shape their approach to legislative policy that affects us,” Baker said. “Industry members may have a better opportunity to get their member of Congress to attend an event to meet constituents on-site at their propane operation. This is often a great chance to show our industry in action and demonstrate firsthand new developments such as autogas, efficient appliances, and much more. — Pat Thornton

In preparation for Propane Days 2019, you're invited to learn more about the event as well as how to talk with your legislators about some of the industry's key issues by attending a webinar, May 30, 2019, will provide an overview of all the key issues and last-minute updates. Contact BPN if you would like a copy of Propane In America: The First 100 Years 1912-2012. BPN will ship copies directly to your Washington, DC representatives.

Calculate Propane Mower Benefits: They Quickly Pay For Themselves

Louisville, Ky., like many cities, has for a long time recommended that residents delay mowing with gasoline mowers during air pollution alerts. Three years ago, the local newspaper, the Courier Journal, reported that city mowing crews were ignoring the city’s own recommendations by continuing to mow on those days. The next day, Mayor Greg Fischer and city officials discontinued mowing on the pollution alert days acknowledging the confusion continuing to mow on such days causes the public. But people also complain when grass grows too high.

Propane Mowers reduce costs, pollution on no ozone days or high pollution alert days reports BPN in May 2019A SOLUTION TO A DILEMMA
By April of 2018, the city had a solution to the mowing dilemma: propane mowers. With the purchase of 11 new mowers that run on propane, the city would retire some aging gasoline lawn mowers while 68 such mowers remained in the fleet. In a press release, city officials said the new mowers would allow some crews to keep cutting on pollution alert days “without unduly adding to the pollution problem.” A study by the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District had compared emissions from gasoline-powered lawn mowers to similar propane-powered mowers and found a major decrease in emissions, including the chemicals that form smog. The new lawn mowers have a distinctive-looking propane tank. “The new mowers will quickly pay for themselves in terms of reduced fuel cost,” Mayor Fischer said.

“And they’re not just better for the bottom line. They’re also better for our environment.” He announced the new propane mowers would run cleaner, cheaper, and quieter than gasoline mowers and help achieve goals set in the mayor’s Sustain Louisville plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. Residents were told that the new propane mowers put out about 45% less carbon monoxide emissions, as well as fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to summertime ozone. At $9500, the propane mowers cost less than 3% more than gasoline mowers, but cost 25% less to run based on March 2018 per-gallon fuel costs of $2.39 for gasoline and $1.76 for propane. “That will allow us to continue to make improvements in sustainability while also keeping our city looking good,” Mayor Fischer said.
Propane Mowers allowed for use even on no-ozone days or high pollution alert days reports BPN in May 2019 issue
In October of 2018, the Louisville Metro Government was recognized as the 2018 Green Leadership City, a distinction awarded by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).

Mayor Fischer accepted a $5000 donation from PERC at a celebration event at a local park with city officials and Parks & Recreation employees who operate the mowers regularly. “The Green Leadership City Award highlights public agencies demonstrating a commitment to environmentally-friendly and sustainable practices, which the city of Louisville has shown by adding propane mowers to its municipal equipment fleet,” said Jeremy Wishart, director of off-road business development for PERC. “Louisville has set an incredible example for the rest of the region of what a municipality can accomplish when it decides that its environmental impact matters and takes necessary steps to reduce its carbon footprint.”

In December, PERC called attention to a fuel price forecast published by the U.S. Energy Administration in November that expects gasoline prices to average more than $2.75 per gallon in 2019. “This estimate came before OPEC and Canada announced more production cuts for crude oil so that may further bump the price up in 2019,” Wishart said. “No contractor likes to think about all the money their business has to expend just to purchase fuel, and we certainly hear more complaints from contractors when gasoline prices start to approach that $3.00 per gallon mark when it turns from a nuisance to a cost that sometimes they financially can’t bear. But contractors don’t have to feel helpless against the fuel price posted at their local gasoline filling station if they switch to mowers powered by propane, which consistently costs between 30% and 50% less per gallon than gasoline. That price margin only widens when gasoline prices rise like they’re going to do again next season.”
Propane Mowers so low-emission allowed to be used on high-ozone and pollution alert days reports BPN in May 2019 issue. Lawn landscape contractors upgrade to propane equipment to save money and downtime
COST SAVINGS
Wishart noted that contractors and municipalities can lock in a set fuel price with their local propane supplier to guarantee the same rate all year long. PERC has a propane mower cost calculator that details how much money can be saved with propane. The calculator allows contractors to input operational data specific to their fleet, so the results are unique to each equipment fleet. PERC’s Propane Mower Incentive Program is available all year long. It allows for $1000 for every qualifying commercial propane mower purchase (up to 20 units) or $500 for each EPA-certified conversion kit. For a limited time in December, PERC offered an additional $500 for each propane mower (a total of $1500) or conversion kit ($1000) purchase through Dec. 31, 2018.

PERC also has an equipment dealer locator which helps contractors connect with a local resource who can also help get them in touch with a propane retailer. Equipment dealers listed on the free online locator tool are pre-screened, so contractors know they are contacting a partner who not only sells propane mowers, but is knowledgeable about propane equipment, too.
In addition to cost savings and environmental benefits, a municipality that started converting to propane lawn mowers in 2008 will also attest to an increase in productivity. The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department cares for 42 parks, 122 residential communities, and many sports fields. It also holds contracts to do maintenance for other departments within the county, such as the Port of Miami and the Miami Police Department. According to Gil Delgado, sports turf and landscape division chief for the department, a transition to propane increased productivity from the outset. “We’re spending a lot of time now maintaining flowers and landscaping instead of cutting so much grass,” Delgado said. “Part of that is because we don’t spend as much time refueling these units.”

POSITIVE PUBLIC RELATIONS
Delgado said that the transition to propane resulted in a positive public relations opportunity for the county because of propane’s clean emissions profile. “The propane mower was painted green with the department logo so that residents would identify the county with green energy,” Delgado said. “The mower was brought to as many events as possible to make the public aware of the county’s plans to operate propane mowers and to build public trust. It was like the county had brought a new toy–people were curious and excited about the machines.” As time went on, Delgado said the propane fleet grew as the fuel continued to show efficiencies in the field and improvements to the department budget. “We’re also spending a lot less on maintenance,” Delgado said. “The incremental savings just with fewer oil changes needed really add up. We only need one oil change with propane for every two to three required with gasoline. That’s a $40 savings per oil change plus employee time.”

There is a story to tell about potential savings not only with the expected 2019 spread between propane and gasoline, but also savings from a cut in loss due to spillage, evaporation, or even theft with gasoline. Wishart also emphasized it is important for retail propane marketers wanting to sell more propane to partner with a mower supplier to bring the proposed turnkey solution to the retailer. “The retail propane marketer should not just tell companies, contractors, or municipalities they should consider propane lawn mowers, they should organize a joint presentation with a lawn mower provider to really make a strong case and build relationships.” Wishart reminds retail marketers that there is a lot of information on propane lawn mowers at propane.com. — Pat Thornton

Energy Distribution Partners (EDP) CEO Tom Knauff Is Finalist For Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2019 Award

Tom Knauff CEO of Energy Distribution Partners (EDP) received EY Entrepreneur of Year Award Finalist in the Midwest reports BPN the propane industry's leading source for news and information since 1939CHICAGO, May 20, 2019 – EY has announced that Tom Knauff, CEO of Energy Distribution
Partners (EDP), is a finalist for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2019 Award in the Midwest.
The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies who excel in
innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities,
while also transforming our world. Mr. Knauff was selected as a finalist by a panel of independent
judges. Winners will be announced at a gala event on June 12, 2019, at Navy Pier in Chicago.

“I am honored to be chosen as an EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Credit goes to our entire
team at Energy Distribution Partners, who have built EDP from a start-up in 2012 into the nation’s
eighth-largest independent provider of propane and light fuels,” Mr. Knauff said. “EDP’s success is
grounded in understanding entrepreneurs in the propane business – offering an attractive ownership
transition that secures their legacy with a commitment to customers, employees and communities.
This values-driven approach has led 23 propane companies from coast to coast to join EDP, and we
are just getting started.”

Now in its 33rd year, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year program has expanded to recognize business
leaders in more than 145 cities and more than 60 countries throughout the world. Regional award
winners are eligible for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National competition.

Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are
nationally sponsored by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Local sponsors
for the Midwest program include Plexus Groupe, LaSalle Network, Cresa, PNC Bank, Becker
Professional Education and 1871.

About Energy Distribution Partners
Energy Distribution Partners is a rapidly-growing company in America's fast-changing energy
landscape – with deep experience in retail and commercial propane sales, operations and finance.
The company provides safe, reliable propane service to residential and commercial customers in
California, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and
South Carolina. Energy Distribution Partners pursues a long-term strategy of purchasing successful
operations in propane and other fuels and in the midstream energy sector, retaining the brand name,
preserving local management and delegating to leaders in local communities. The company is
actively seeking partners for growth. For more information, please visit www.edplp.net.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality
services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the
world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our
stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people,
for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst &
Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a
UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY
collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection
legislation is available via ey.com/privacy. For more information about our organization, please
visit ey.com.

Legislative Alert: Tell Congress to Include Propane Infrastructure In S. 674 Clean Corridors Act

Electric and hydrogen infrastructure is receiving preferential treatment in recently introduced legislation – so tell Congress to not play favorites and provide opportunities for all alternative fuels, including propane.
NPGA Legislation Alert to propane industry Tell Congress to support Federal Highway Administration's alternative fueling station corridors with appropriate signage for clean-fuel, no-emmission propane autogas altfuel at refueling stations
The National Alternative Fuel Corridors program, which was created through the FAST Act in 2015, ordered the Federal Highway Administration to create interstate highway corridors with appropriate signage for alternative fueling stations. The corridors included four alternative fuels: electricity (battery electric vehicles), hydrogen, propane, and natural gas.

Recently, Senator Tom Carper introduced S. 674, the “Clean Corridors Act of 2019.” Among other things, this bill would create grant funding opportunities for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations and hydrogen fueling infrastructure along the designated alternative fuel corridors. But under S. 674, propane would not be eligible for grant funding opportunities. NPGA believes strongly that all fuels designated under Section 1413 of the FAST Act should qualify.  

Click here to send a message to your Congressional representatives TODAY and tell them that propane and other fuels in the FAST Act should be eligible for grant funding opportunities for the installation of alternative fueling infrastructure included in S. 674. Language in the bill is currently being considered, so we need you to send a message TODAY!

If you have any questions, please contact NPGA’s Michael Baker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New LPG Marine Engine Technology Tested By MAN Energy and Alfa Laval

In partnership with MAN Energy Solutions (Augsburg, Germany), Alfa Laval’s (Lund, Sweden) LPG fuel-conditioning module has undergone successful tests with the first two-stroke, high-pressure marine engine to use LPG as fuel—and has been evaluated for use with ammonia.
LPG marine engines for shipping vessels use clean propane fuel to meet marine ecology challenges reports BPN
The companies observe that the competitiveness of LPG as a fuel is increasing. Not only does LPG virtually eliminate sulfur emissions, it has a lower cost than many other fuels and is readily available worldwide. For those reasons and others, MAN Energy Solutions has developed the new LPG-fueled MAN B&W ME-LGIP marine engine. Alfa Laval, having successfully provided fuel boosters for the first methanol-fueled chemical tankers, was selected as the partner to develop, supply, and test the engine’s low-flashpoint fuel supply system.

“Given our previous work with MAN Energy Solutions in the area of low-flashpoint fuels, we were well acquainted with the specific challenges involved,” says Roberto Comelli, global sales manager, fuel-conditioning systems, at Alfa Laval. “Naturally, we were eager to continue our partnership and to build on the positive experience with methanol.”

The resulting booster system, the Alfa Laval Fuel Conditioning Module LPG (FCM LPG), is said to be the first proven solution to provide LPG to a high-pressure combustion engine for marine applications. Compared to methanol, LPG must be pumped at a higher supply pressure in order to avoid phase changes and to deal with a wide composition spectrum. Alfa Laval designed the system not only for robustness, but also to function optimally under the full range of process conditions.

To deliver LPG at the 53-barg pressure the engine requires, the module incorporates new pumping technology and effective high-pressure heat exchange, which are built into low-pressure and high-pressure skids. The latter of these has a filtration stage comprising two independent chambers, which allows it to be serviced with the system in continuous operation—a setup derived directly from the booster experience with methanol. Equally critical is the new automation and control system, which matches the LPG flow to fluctuating engine load without unnecessary heat input from the pumping and flashing of light fractions in the LPG.

“Onboard, the FCM LPG will be run from the engine control room by the same people who usually deal with traditional fuels and equipment,” Comelli says. “The FCM LPG automation safeguards engine performance and offers the same ease of use found in other Alfa Laval products. That built-intelligence is key to reliability, efficiency, and safety.”

An additional feature of the FCM LPG is its LPG recovery function, which provides full liquid recovery and partial vapor recovery when the engine or fuel valve train is purged. Recovering LPG rather than fully venting it to the atmosphere is more than just economical. “Legally, there is nothing that now prohibits occasional venting of LPG into the atmosphere,” says Comelli. “However, the relevant regulations and international guidelines make clear that venting of hydrocarbons should be avoided whenever possible. LPG is also heavier than air and does not disperse like LNG does, so it’s important to minimize the effects of an unexpected venting event.”

In tests performed in Denmark at the MAN Energy Solutions Research Centre Copenhagen, the FCM LPG prototype was shown to meet, and even exceed, the fuel supply requirements of the MAN B&W ME-LGIP engine. Tests with the fuel valve train and a simulated engine load began in the second quarter of 2018, followed by online tests using the facility’s prototype engine in the first quarter this year.

“Both sets of test results verify the booster’s ramp- ing functions and its ability to match the output pressure to our engine’s changing load,” says Rene Sejer Laursen, promotion manager at MAN Energy Solutions. “In fact, almost no influence from the engine load can be seen, which demonstrates the effectiveness of Alfa Laval’s automation and control.”

“This was a testing phase not only for the FCM LPG, but also for the ME-LGIP engine design,” adds Comelli. “For Alfa Laval, it was a privilege to test the very first LPG booster system on the first two-stroke marine engine to use LPG as fuel. As we move from the prototype FCM LPG toward a final marine design, we are proud to continue our longstanding cooperation with MAN Energy Solutions in meeting the fuel needs of a changing marine industry.”

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, May 13, 2019)