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Gregg Walker
Propane Education & Research Council


Propane Council Announces Bold New Program to Find Best, Brightest Ideas in Propane Innovation 

Council also approves funding to create training program on propane autogas maintenance, installation


 Propane Council Announces Bold New Program to Find Best, Brightest Ideas in Propane Innovation (pdf)  

WASHINGTON (April 21, 2011) — The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), meeting last week in Atlanta, announced the Propane Challenge, an innovation catalyst that is designed to inspire the best and brightest researchers in companies, universities, and laboratories to develop new ways to deliver and use propane.

The best technology-based ideas that the Council receives can earn research funding and have a chance to win the PROPANE Exceptional Energy® Award for the most innovative and meaningful contributions to the propane industry. Researchers who visit can learn about the Council’s search for breakthrough innovations in 13 priority areas and submit their ideas through the website.

“With the Propane Challenge, we want to stimulate interest in propane among researchers and companies to secure new project proposals for new products and technology that represent the most promising opportunities to build new and more sustainable markets,” PERC President and CEO Roy Willis said. “Propane industry leaders and manufacturers have helped us identify breakthrough opportunities for propane to do even more to meet America’s energy needs while reducing its dependence on foreign oil and safeguarding our environment.”

Also at the Atlanta meeting, the Council approved funding to create a training program for people who install, operate, and maintain vehicles that run on propane autogas and off-road equipment powered by propane-fueled engines. On the recommendation of a blue-ribbon task force on propane autogas excellence, the training will cover the conversion, operation, and service of fleet vehicles and equipment and the installation and maintenance of refueling systems. The comprehensive propane autogas maintenance training will be available for use by fleets, propane suppliers, retrofit shops, state propane gas associations, and others that offer automotive training.

In other Council business last week:

  • As part of its efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of its safety and training programs and to prioritize future expenditures, the Council approved funding for a pilot program to review how organizations measure the benefits of their own safety management efforts. The review will focus on propane marketers as well as similar industries and organizations that have experience with the over-the-road delivery of hazardous materials to residential and commercial customers in challenging weather conditions and topographies. Results from the pilot review will be used to develop a more in-depth survey.
  • The Council approved a project with Onyx to develop and certify six Subaru-based propane engines for use in construction equipment and power products, today the largest market for gasoline engines of less than 50 horsepower. Applications for the propane-fueled engines could include concrete power trowels, construction saws, mortar mixers, pumps and sprayers, concrete polishers, soil compactors, and air compressors.
  • Council Chairman Bill Platz, Delta Liquid Energy (Paso Robles, Calif.), announced that he appointed Nevin Speicher, AmeriGas (King of Prussia, Pa.), and David M. Reynolds, Blossman Gas (Ocean Springs, Miss.), to the Research and Development Advisory Committee. To the Safety & Training Advisory Committee he appointed Roger Leider, executive director of the Minnesota Propane Association (Princeton, Minn.). He also appointed three to the Engine Fuel Advisory Committee: Mike Abrams, Ferrellgas (Overland Park, Kan.), Brian Grimm, AmeriGas (Valley Forge, Pa.), and Todd Mouw, Roush CleanTech (Livonia, Mich.).

The Council approved funding for the following projects:

Research and Development

Docket 17127 — Propane Challenge, $2.5 million

Docket 17135 — Construction Equipment and Power Product Conversion to Propane-Driven Applications, $400,000

Safety and Training

Docket 17136 — 2011 Media Outreach, $200,000

Docket 17137 — 2011 Trade Shows and Conferences, $500,000

Docket 17209 — Phase 1 Qualitative Safety and Training Best Practices Survey and Information Gathering, $136,670

Docket 17212 — 2011 Residential and Commercial Attitude Tracking, $151,000

Docket 17243 — Propane Autogas Maintenance and Training, $340,730

State Rebates

Docket 17148 — 2009 Propane Tank Locator Safety Decal, $3,469.58

The Council will next meet on July 13 and 14, 2011, in Portland, Ore.