- Gerry Dick
Kinetrex Expectations for 2018 Are StrongPosted: Updated:
Kinetrex, the liquefied natural gas (LNG) provider that spun off from Citizens Energy in 2013, has major plans in the works for the new year. President and Chief Executive Officer Aaron Johnson says competitive pricing and new technologies will elevate the Indianapolis-based company’s profile over the next 12 months and into 2019.
Johnson describes Kinetrex as the nation’s leading interstate LNG company, providing the trucking industry with critical natural gas solutions. And while Kinetrex may not currently be a household name, Johnson says new technological advances will demonstrate LNG’s value against more well-known electric options.
“If you think about LNG as a clean fuel replacement for diesel engines in Class A trucking in general, it ticks off the trifecta: it is the best environmental option, it is the best economic option and it’s the best operational option.” Kinetrex is attracting the interest of large companies because LNG can be purchased at a lower price than diesel fuel right now, as much as a dollar less per gallon in comparison.
Johnson thinks LNG’s environmental impact will reach previously unforeseen heights with new truck technologies set for rollout over the next few months, in particular a new engine by Columbus-based Cummins, the ISX12N. Johnson calls the new natural gas engine “a game changer” because it functions at a level that is 90 percent cleaner than the current cleanest diesel technology.
“If you put RNG in it, renewable natural gas, it gets even cleaner. Because renewable natural gas is methane that would otherwise be escaping into the atmosphere, by capturing it, turning it into a fuel and then burning it in an efficient way, it actually has a negative footprint,” he explains.
Renewable natural gas is methane collected from landfills and anaerobic digesters (processes that trap gases during biological decomposition), but to be used in the transportation sector it must cleaned of impurities. It’s an environmentally advantageous process, and a popular one because of environmental credits it generates, but requires significant investment. Johnson says that’s a challenge Kinetrex is preparing to meet.
“We’re making a large push in this area, and one of our initiatives is a large plant we’re building here in central Indiana. It’s in the engineering phase and should be operational by the first quarter of 2019. Also in 2018, our plan is to invest heavily in storage vaporization equipment, and we’re going through an expansion of our production capacity at our north (Indianapolis) plant.”
Kinetrex has two LNG plants in the Indianapolis area, and Johnson says the capacity at the plant near 86th and Zionsville Road should expand by 33 percent at the end of 2018 as a result of increased demand. Johnson says Kinetrex is looking forward to working with Cummins and other key partners to emphasize the attractiveness of natural gas for fueling over-the-road trucks.