The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) approved a $44.8 million budget for 2012 that will emphasize research and technology development, safety and training, and market outreach and communications.
PERC plans to commit $29.2 million of its budget to programs, with 54 percent of that devoted to research and development, 32 percent to training and 14 percent to safety programs. The 2012 assessment rate of four-tenths of a cent per gallon is expected to generate revenue of more than $34 million, according to PERC.
“PERC’s 2012 budget demonstrates the council’s drive to develop new uses for propane through new technology development,” said PERC Chairman Joe Armentano, CEO of Paraco Gas. “We are dedicating significant resources to promising vehicle programs, to a nationwide commercial mower demonstration program and other market development efforts that will be supported by communications programs to reach propane retailers and their customers.”
The council also adopted a new advisory committee structure, in which a single advisory committee made up of 75 to 80 volunteers will comprise three working groups, with each working group led by two chairmen. PERC said the working groups will advise the council in its ongoing efforts to expand the use of propane.
The working group on research and technology development will be led by Darren Engle of Blue Star Gas and Mike Taylor of Heritage Propane. The working group on market outreach and training will be led by Len Caric of AmeriGas and Darin Hunhoff of CHS. The working group on safety and training will be led by Eric Kuster of Fairmont Specialty and Randy Warner of Ferrellgas.
The council also approved the following funding requests, with the amount and principal contractor:
• $149,000 to Power Solutions Inc. to develop a new heavy-duty industrial line of off-road propane engines.
• $1.47 million to Hanley Wood for a stopgap communications program for the first quarter of 2012. The interim communications program is designed to make sure that PERC’s ongoing outreach activities in the various markets for propane do not go dark while it develops and refines its communications strategy for 2012.
• $1 million to Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. for an 8.0-liter LPG engine – medium-duty truck and bus. Powertrain Integration, CleanFUEL USA and Freightliner have developed a plan to certify this engine for use in the U.S. on-highway market for up to 33,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating with a propane fuel system. Initial vehicle releases will be in school buses and propane bobtails. ($4 million was approved in 2010 for a $5 million program total.)
• $788,900 to PERC for a commercial mower dealer demonstration program. Working with propane mower and engine manufacturers, PERC plans to place up to 300 propane-fueled demonstration mowers at 300 different dealers throughout the United States to increase sales of propane mowers and propane gallons.
• Change order for the Propane Option Partners program to The Sales Network, the new principal contractor for the project, at no cost. The original funding amount was $200,240. The program is a partnership between OEMs, dealers, lawn care professionals and PERC aimed at ensuring thorough understanding of the propane technology that is available from the various commercial mower manufacturers. PERC will provide safety and training materials.
• $250,000 to a principal contractor to be determined for a Propane MaRC upgrade. The objective is to replace the current software with a solution that will be more reliable and easier and less costly and time consuming to maintain.
• $80,000 to PERC for industry outreach and 2012 regional conventions.
• $1.3 million to PERC for the 2011 partnership agreement between PERC, GPA and NPGA.
• $673,000 for 2012 consolidated advisory committee and program support.
• $424,580 for a 2012 propane market research initiative.
• $30,000 for forklift cage engineering testing and analysis.
• $15,000 for PowerSteering project portfolio management
• $13,000 for transfer of water detection technology for commercialization.
Research and development
• $50,000 to Gas Technology Institute for Carbon Management Information Center Consortium 2012. The consortium is developing resources and analytical tools that clearly and fairly evaluate opportunities for efficient natural gas and propane systems to improve total energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy costs for consumers compared to electric and oil options.
• $100,000 to Western PERC for the California low-emission equipment rebate 2012. This project will provide an incentive for marketers to replace traditional high emitting equipment with new low emission equipment to reduce LPG fugitive emissions.
• $7,421.60 to Colorado PERC for 2012 Colorado cylinder requalification CGA pamphlets. This project will provide one copy of the Compressed Gas Association pamphlets C-6 and C-6.3 to Colorado propane marketers at a discounted rate.
• $6,365.45 to Interwest PERC for 2012 Montana cylinder requalification CGA pamphlets. This project will provide one copy of the Compressed Gas Association pamphlets C-6 and C-6.3 to Montana propane marketers at a discounted rate.
• $5,544.00 to Interwest PERC for 2012 Nevada cylinder requalification CGA pamphlets. This project will provide one copy of the Compressed Gas Association pamphlets C-6 and C-6.3 to Nevada propane marketers at a discounted rate.
• $4,605.20 to Interwest PERC for 2012 Wyoming cylinder requalification CGA pamphlets. This project will provide one copy of the Compressed Gas Association pamphlets C-6 and C-6.3 to Wyoming propane marketers at a discounted rate.
• $4,135.80 to Interwest PERC for 2012 Idaho cylinder requalification CGA pamphlets. This project will provide one copy of the Compressed Gas Association pamphlets C-6 and C-6.3 to Idaho propane marketers at a discounted rate.
• $3,314.35 to Interwest PERC for 2012 Utah cylinder requalification CGA pamphlets. This project will provide one copy of the Compressed Gas Association pamphlets C-6 and C-6.3 to Utah propane marketers at a discounted rate.
The council moved its next meeting, by conference call, from Feb. 16 to March 1.