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Gregg Walker
Propane Education & Research Council

Propane Education & Research Council Approves Partnership with Maker of Utility Vehicles

Council also approves program to develop 8-liter engine for irrigation, other purposes

WASHINGTON (February 11, 2011) — The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), meeting last week by conference call, voted to invest in the development of a new utility vehicle platform for the golf, resort, turf, commercial, and industrial markets.

With the Council’s support, Club Car of Augusta, Ga., will create a propane-fueled version of its well-established utility vehicle. Golf courses and maintenance crews nationwide use Club Car utility vehicles in various configurations, including cargo, truck bed, food and beverage, and people-mover.

“Operators of golf courses and commercial campuses of all kinds buy a significant number of utility vehicles from Club Car every year,” says PERC President and CEO Roy Willis. “They are going to discover what operators of propane-fueled lift trucks and mowers already know — namely, that switching to propane will lower their carbon emissions, increase their energy efficiency, and cut their operating costs.”

In other Council business last week:

• The Council approved a grant funding request from Buck’s Engines for a program that would develop, test, and commercialize a propane-fueled 8-liter engine for agricultural irrigation, pump, and electrical generation applications. The engine would replace the Vortec 8.1-liter engine that General Motors has taken out of production. As part of the development program, Buck’s Engines would seek emissions certification of the engine from the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board for both off-road stationary and off-road mobile applications.
• The Council authorized funding for the annual API survey and report of total odorized propane sales by state from all propane retailers. The report, called Sales of Natural Gas Liquids and Liquefied Refinery Gases, is the only regularly published source of data on state-by-state sales of odorized propane. It is used by propane marketers, investors, and others with an interest in our industry. Primarily, the results from the annual survey are used to distribute the federally mandated state rebate dollars (20 percent of the overall PERC budget) to the state foundations and councils.
• The Council approved a plan to hire a staff engineer to support the growing number of engine-based projects in the Council’s research and development portfolio.
The Council approved the following funding requests:

Research and Development
Docket 17086 — Development and EPA/CARB Certification of 8-Liter Engine, $120,000
Docket 17111 — Club Car Product Development, $650,000

Industry Programs
Docket 17117 — 2010 API Survey and Report, $189,337

State Rebates
Docket 17110 — 2011 CETP Rebate Program, $200,000

The Council will next meet on April 15, 2011, in Atlanta.