Invitation for Public Comment


September 12 - October 12, 2000


September 12, 2000

Under the Propane Education & Research Council's grant review process, the public is invited to comment on funding requests received by the Council.

The grant review cycles are scheduled in relationship with Council meetings. Funding requests under review during this comment period will be considered by the Council at its December 5-6 meeting in Dallas, Texas.

What follows are summaries of the funding requests. Copies of individual funding requests can be obtained by calling 202-452-8975. Comments (including the docket #) should be submitted in writing no later than October 12, 2000 to:

Propane Education & Research Council
Attention: Public Comment
1776 K Street, N.W., Suite 204
Washington, D.C. 20006
202-452-9054 (fax)

10285 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: Stannard & Company
Short Title: Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of Transient Thermal Response of Large ASME Propane Containers Exposed to Fire
Amount Requested: $50,000.00
Total Cost: $50,000.00
Summary: Recent Code Case decisions by the ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Committee have reduced the "Design Margin" for many pressure vessels, including those used for propane service. Those reductions in design margin have increased the allowable design stress and, in some cases, significantly reduced the wall thickness of some vessels. The reduction of wall thickness has caused concern among some propane marketers and fire service officials that the thinner walled vessels will present a greater risk of suffering a BLEVE if they should be exposed to the heat of a fire. It is proposed, using FEA technology, to determine the transient thermal response of propane vessels of a number of sizes, configuration and wall thickness to a variety of fire scenarios. The results of the FEA models should either allay or confirm the concerns that have been voiced. At the same time, those results will prove to be useful in better understanding the BLEVE mechanism, in designing more effective fire protection systems and, if deemed necessary, assist in any full scale fire tests.

10294 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: Energy International, Inc.
Short Title: Assessment of Japanese Propane Gas Cooling Technologies
Amount Requested: $44,033.00
Total Cost: $44,033.00
Summary: Energy International (EI) will investigate residential and small commercial propane gas cooling products currently available in Japan that have potential for adoption in the United States. The proposed project is aimed at providing the Propane Education and Research Council with critical information regarding numerous technical, economical, legal and market issues involved for a successful technology transfer of propane gas cooling. The results may be considered as a first step in assessing the feasibility of transferring gas-cooling technologies that have been developed elsewhere to the US market place. If warranted by the results of the study, the next phase would involve devising and implementing a detailed program for commercialization.

10310 Grant (Safety & Training)
Applicant: National Propane Gas Association
Short Title: Distribution System Operations Instructor Video
Amount Requested: $280,500.00 (Option A)/$337,500.00 (Option B)
Total Cost: $280,500.00 ($337,500.00 including full distribution)
Summary: A high-quality instructor support tool designed to be utilized in employee training in the area of distribution system operations, to include propane container sizing and installation; installing lines and regulators; inspecting, pressure testing and leak checking propane piping; and installing cathodic protection systems.

10311 Grant (Safety & Training)
Applicant: National Propane Gas Association
Short Name: Quarterly Regulatory Compliance Update
Amount Requested: $60,500.00
Total Cost: $60,500.00
Summary: Four educational newsletters designed to provide important advisory information on regulatory, code or standards compliance issues to owners, managers, supervisors and employees in the propane industry. The series will provide timely notification and industry-specific information on code/regulatory changes; detailed information and guidelines on how to comply with existing regulations and code requirements; appropriate material and an incentive to hold regular safety meetings; and a means of satisfying statutory training requirements.

10312 Grant (Safety & Training/Consumer Education)
Applicant: National Propane Gas Association
Short Title: Overfilling Prevention Awareness Program
Amount Requested: $478,000.00
Total Cost: $482,000.00
Summary: The National Propane Gas Association has seen an increase in the number of questions raised regarding the implementation of the overfilling prevention device (OPD), both by marketers of propane and their customers. In an effort to aid in the transition to April 1, 2002, when all cylinders affected will have to be fitted with an OPD before they are filled, NPGA proposes to publish and distribute an informational package to assist marketers and their customers in understanding the reason for the OPD: a history of the events which led to the OPD requirements in NFPA 58; a legal 'primer' document which answers questions from marketers regarding liability associated with either installing or not installing OPD's; a table showing the latest information on which states have adopted the 1998 edition of NFPA 58, or are otherwise enforcing OPD requirements; a question-and-answer document which addresses frequently asked questions from marketers; a similar document which addresses questions from customers.

10313 Grant (Consumer Education)
Applicant: National Propane Gas Association
Short Title: Hearth & Home Expo 2001
Amount Requested: $57,000.00
Total Cost: $112,000.00
Summary: The objective of this project is to maximize the highly visible educational forum offered by this key trade show, featuring safety, education, and R & D, while targeting the hearth product market--to reach prospective customers and influential industry sources. An educational seminar, which will be given twice at the Hearth & Home Expo, will educate attendees on the benefits of propane-fueled hearth products. The exhibit will be located in the outdoor, 'live-burn' area, where we will feature demonstrations of propane hearth products. Also, NPGA will work with the Propane Council and its communications firm, Porter Novelli, on a strong media campaign to reach hearth-product trade and consumer home publications, as well as other local media.

10314 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: The ADEPT Group, Inc.
Short Title: Subsonic Liquid Level Gauge Development and Demonstration Project
Amount Requested: $156,000.00
Total Cost: $474,600.00
Summary: This multi-partner development and demonstration project is to further advance non-invasive, non-intrusive acoustic level sensing technology. The project will conduct related research and development activities. The project will further design, assemble and field test -alpha-and-beta- proto-types of the LPG subsonic level gauge. The demonstration tanks will be domestic and bulk LPG storage tanks.

10316 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: Cellex Power Products, Inc.
Short Title: LPG Fuel Cell Power Systems Development and Demonstration
Amount Requested: $486,143.00
Total Cost: $2,763,953.00
Summary: Cellex Power Products, Inc., will develop and demonstrate a proto-type LPG fuel cell-based power system for use in applications typically powered by industrial batteries.

10317 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: 1st Propane Franchising, Inc.
Short Title: Amador Residential Cogeneration Fuel Cell Project
Amount Requested: $96,311.00
Total Cost: $112,051.00
Summary: This project funding request covers the purchase, delivery, installation, start-up, monitoring, testing and performance evaluation of a propane-fueled, on-site residential cogeneration fuel cell demonstration unit. This demonstration fuel cell unit will be rated at 4.5kw electrical and 17,000 BTUH thermal output and will be installed at a rural single family residence located in Amador County, California. This residence is currently being supplied with propane for water heating and cooking appliances and receives electricity from a large private utility company. The demonstration fuel cell will be operated as a cogeneration unit providing electrical power for lighting, air conditioning, small appliances and hot water for domestic use.

10318 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: Zenith Fuel Systems, Inc.
Short Title: Impact of new technology forklift truck fuel systems on indoor air quality
Amount Requested: $200,000.00
Total Cost: $414,440.00
Summary: Commencing in model year 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency has mandated emissions regulations for industrial engines in which forklift trucks will come under these mandates. There is no known body of data that has documented what will occur to the indoor environment once these new machines are placed in that environment. The purpose of the proposed program is to demonstrate what can be accomplished when state of the art technology in engine management systems, i.e., electronic propane fuel injection, electronic engine governing, is applied to a forklift truck. The demonstration will show: a) a significant improvement to indoor air quality; b) fuel consumption improvement; c) repeatability of exhaust emissions; and d) lowering of heating and AC costs.

10319 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: Northwest Propane Gas Company
Short Title: LPG Emissions Deterioration Factor Project
Amount Requested: $160,000.00
Total Cost: $206,625.00
Summary: Currently aftermarket converters performing emissions tests under Option 3 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Memorandum 1A must use deterioration factors (DFs) for propane set out in EPA publication CD-95-14. The partners in this project propose to develop propane-specific DFs to replace those in EPA publication CD-95-14 for purposes of Option 3 testing through December 31, 2001 and for purposes of full EPA or California certification (Options 1 and 2) beginning with model year 2002 vehicles. The EPA's DFs were developed from mathematical modeling rather than from actual emissions testing of LPG vehicles and they assume relatively rapid deterioration of such vehicles' emissions performance. New DFs will be developed for at least 15 light-duty engine families based on actual emissions testing of LPG vehicles. Testing will be performed according to a protocol agreed to in advance by the project partners and EPA.

The project partners include: Northwest Propane Gas Co., Dallas, Texas; the Texas Railroad Commission's Alternative Fuels Research and Education Division, Austin, Texas; the Texas Department of Transportation; Wallace Laboratories, Houston, Texas.

10320 Grant (Consumer Education/OTR)
Applicant: RP Publishing, Inc.
Short Title: Fifth Annual Propane Vehicle Conference & Exposition
Amount Requested: $15,000.00
Total Cost: $101,150.00
Summary: The Fifth Annual Propane Vehicle Conference & Exposition (PVCE), scheduled for February 2001 in Kansas City, Mo., will be a three-day event designed to advance the use of propane motor fuels by bringing customers and industry together in an interactive forum featuring:

  • an educational program for propane customers with industry experts and peers providing information on the use of propane as a motor fuel.
  • an exhibit hall where propane manufacturers and suppliers can display the latest in propane vehicle technology and customers can purchase or evaluate products and services.

10321 Grant (Consumer Education/OTR)
Applicant: Propane Vehicle Council
Short Title: Propane Vehicle Marketing Campaign
Amount Requested: $785,000.00
Total Cost: $1,885,000.00
Summary: The propane motor fuel market is shrinking dramatically due, in part, to sharply limited vehicle offerings. Prior to September 1997, the propane industry could convert most common makes and models. By 2004, only fully certified propane systems will be legal. There are currently just one pickup, two medium duty trucks, one paratransit engine and one school bus that are certified. Unless sales of these vehicles increase and more certified vehicles become available to replace the 80 percent of the current propane fleet comprised of uncertified aftermarket conversions, even this meager array may shrivel.

The Propane Vehicle Council (PVC) proposes to create a new, targeted marketing approach based on a closer partnership between the propane industry, propane marketing organizations and vehicle manufacturers. The partners will strategically employ their resources to target those fleets that can use the available propane vehicles. The project partners include Ford Motor Company, Detroit, MI, General Motors, Detroit, MI, the Propane Vehicle Council, Washington, DC, the Texas Propane Educational and Marketing Foundation, Austin, TX, the Texas Railroad Commission's Alternative Fuels Research and Education Division, Austin, TX, Eastern Research Group, Austin, TX, and other state propane marketing organizations.

10322 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: GFI Control Systems, Inc.
Short Title: GM Impala - Phase I Propane Concept Vehicle
Amount Requested: $250,000.00
Total Cost: $500,000.00
Summary: General Motors and GFI produced a propane concept vehicle, which was displayed at the Clean Cities Conference in San Diego. Fleet interest prompted the investigation of a quick to market variant for market development and evaluation purposes. This will require development and evaluation of a propane fueling strategy to promote enhanced engine durability. Without this strategy, longer development times would be required. GFI will calibrate and certify the vehicle to the Environmental Protection Agency ULEV standard. Successful completion of this program is a necessary toward the future possible OEM-vehicle development program and commercialization. This proposal pertains only to the concept vehicle development phase (Phase 1) of this program only. Upon proposal approval this activity will be completed within six months.

10323 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: Unique Mobility, Inc.
Short Title: Hybrid-electric, Propane-fueled Forklift
Amount Requested: $325,000.00
Total Cost: $410,000.00
Summary: The objective of the project is to develop and test a hybrid-electric, propane-fueled forklift. The project would optimize and demonstrate the efficiency and environmental performance of using propane in a lower cost unit rather than an all electric forklift. The specific device utilized will optimize the goals of the project.

10324 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: Teledyne Energy Systems
Short Title: Minotaur Electric Power Generator Market Development Project
Amount Requested: $307,500.00
Total Cost: $510,000.00
Summary: Minotaur Electric Power Generators (based on proven internal combustion engine technology) in the 2.5 to 5 kW range hold promise for significantly expanding propane's market in the off-grid sector. Currently, these applications are limited by the lack of electric power or rely on diesel generators, which produces fumes and particulate pollution. The goals of this project are two-fold: identify the most promising early entry markets for propane Minotaur Electric Power Generator in the 2.5-5 kW range, and conduct demonstration projects at ten of the most promising applications.

Teledyne Energy Systems has developed the 2.5 kW propane Minotaur Electric Power Generator. With the assistance of the Texas Railroad Commission, Teledyne has conducted rigorous field testing on the 2.5 kW system at the Big Bend National Park as a power supply for the Visitor's Center. (Big Bend summer temperatures frequently exceed 115 degrees Fahrenheit.) Teledyne is now working to increase the power range and maintenance-free operating period for a 5 kW version.

10325 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: Plug Power, Inc.
Short Title: Propane Fuel Cell Development and Demonstration Program
Amount Requested: $276,523.17
Total Cost: $553,046.33
Summary: In partnership with the Propane Education and Research Council, Plug Power proposes a multi-phased program resulting in the field-demonstration of a fuel cell system operating on propane.

10326 Grant (Research & Development)
Applicant: H Power
Short Title: Residential Propane Fuel Cell Demonstration Project
Amount Requested: $500,000.00
Total Cost: $645,000 + $3,500,000.00 in development of propane fuel cell
Summary: The Residential Fuel Cell Demonstration Program will demonstrate the feasibility for the propane industry of both stand-alone and interconnected residential fuel cells powered by propane. H Power, in partnership with the Railroad Commission of Texas and the Southwest Research Institute, will field-test four propane-fueled demonstration units at residential/small commercial sites in a variety of potential early entry markets for propane. H Power will also provide training schools for interested propane marketers to learn how to install and service the units.

The Residential Propane Fuel Cell System Demonstration Project has two goals. The first is to build an efficient and effective propane-fueled power system. The second is to test the technology through multiple on-site demonstrations. Specific objectives include:

  1. Deliver an optimized H Power fuel cell system operating on propane for independent performance and emission testing.
  2. Conduct a demonstration project that includes four units operating at sites identified as early entry markets throughout Texas.
  3. Conduct training schools for interested propane marketers on installation and service of the units.

10327 Grant (Consumer Education)
Applicant: Energy International, Inc.
Short Title: Manufactured Housing Propane Guide
Amount Requested: $74,950.00
Total Cost: $74,950.00
Summary: Energy International, Inc. (EI) proposes to assist the Propane Education & Research Council with the development of a web-based tool for promoting the use of propane equipment in manufactured housing. This tool will be valuable for potential homebuyers as well as manufactured home sellers. It will provide information regarding propane options for manufactured housing and will include a calculator to illustrate the cost effectiveness of using propane equipment.

10331 Grant (Research  Development)
Applicant: Propane Vehicle Council
Short Title: Propane Vehicle Demonstration Initiative
Amount Requested: $250,000.00
Total Cost: $450,000.00
Summary: This program aims to capitalize on a variety of government opportunities (e.g., the Department of Energy's State Energy Program Solicitation or Board Based Solicitations, Department of Interior's Alternative Fuels Program in the National Parks, California's Carl Moyer Fund, among others), which are time sensitive. Due to the unpredictable nature of agency funding, the Propane Vehicle Council (PVC) recommends that the Propane Education & Research Council (Propane Council) provide a pool of funds that can be used to leverage government grants that might be missed because of the Propane Council's grant cycle. The success of this program will be based on the PVC's ability to raise a dollar for every dollar contributed by the Propane Council. If the funds are not leveraged, they will be re-allocated to the Propane Council.

10335 Grant (Safety & Training)
Applicant: Colorado Propane Education and Research Council
Short Title: Train the Trainer
Amount Requested: $2,761.00
Total Cost: $2,761.00
Summary: Co-host costs for firefighter 'Train-the-Trainer' (Propane Emergencies) series scheduled for Colorado October 25.

10248 Grant (Safety & Training)
Applicant: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA)
Short Title: RV LP Gas System Technical Work Book
Amount Requested: $5,000
Total Cost: $33,000
Summary: A work book containing the step-by-step procedures required to train RV service technicians on how to perform specific LP Gas tasks on recreation vehicles. The work book will also establish the first set of specific LP Gas system maintenance and repair performance standards for the RV industry.