LPG Spotlight: Hino Gas

October 23, 2023 By    
Alex Hinojosa Jr. and Hino Gas are partnering with 2Fuel Technologies on the dual-fuel system. (Photo Courtesy of Hino Gas)

Alex Hinojosa Jr. and Hino Gas are partnering with 2Fuel Technologies on the dual-fuel system. (Photo courtesy of Hino Gas)

Alex Hinojosa Jr. believes he has found his future. It’s a relatively new technology that is opening a market for propane in the transportation industry.

The technology is a dual-fuel system in which diesel engines can run on both diesel and propane. The system lowers fuel costs and reduces air pollution.

Hinojosa’s company, Hino Gas Sales Inc. in Harlingen, Texas, has partnered with the maker of the diesel-propane system, 2Fuel Technologies, which has offices in Macon, Georgia, and Ontario, Canada. Hino is the exclusive 2Fuel distributor in Texas.

“The gist is we’re replacing expensive, dirty diesel with low-cost, clean propane,” Hinojosa says.

According to its website, 2Fuel Technologies has installed its systems in several countries, including the U.S., over the past 15 years on Class 8 trucks, utility service vehicles, buses and smaller vehicles like the Isuzu in Thailand.

Meanwhile, Hinojosa, whose father Alex Hinojosa Sr. started Hino Gas in 1963, was looking for a way to grow his business. He determined that the only way was to enter the motor fuel market.

About two months ago, Hinojosa began placing the dual-fuel systems on Class 8 diesel trucks after buying conversion kits – including fuel injectors, sensors and hoses – from 2Fuel. He acquires LPG fuel tanks from a different supplier.

Hinojosa doesn’t charge end users for the equipment as long as they buy their propane from Hino Gas. It’s a win-win because Hino’s propane sales rise as customer fuel costs fall.

“We’re replacing up to 54 percent of the diesel with propane,” Hinojosa says. “If we assume propane costs about half the price of diesel, and we’re displacing half the diesel with propane, we can save diesel fleet users and owners 25-30 percent off their diesel costs.”

Diesel engines still need a certain level of diesel to maintain their torque. The 2Fuel Technologies website says up to 60 percent of diesel fuel can be replaced with propane, or liquefied or compressed natural gas, but Hinojosa says that in his experience, exceeding the 54 percent mark causes engine knocking.

Hinojosa says the dual-fuel system’s computer is the key. It regulates the amounts of diesel and propane injected into the engine.

“The computer, with 120,000 lines of code, is the secret sauce,” Hinojosa says. “The fuel system computer communicates six times a second with the truck engine computer.”

As for pollution reduction, not all of the fuel is combusted in a traditional diesel engine, Hinojosa says. Diesel particulates are discharged through the exhaust. Conversely, once propane is ignited, all of it combusts. When added to a diesel engine, the propane explosion takes out 99.9 percent of the diesel particulates.

“So now you’re burning nearly every single molecule in the cylinder, and we’re cutting emissions up to 70 percent – and you also get a little more power and torque,” Hinojosa says.

Also, the 2Fuel Technologies computer tracks carbon credits, gained when companies cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. Hinojosa says that once the carbon credit system is fully established, businesses will be able to sell credits to those adding greenhouse gases to the air, another revenue source for dual-fuel system users.

Company profile: Hino Gas

Year founded // 1963
Location // Harlingen, Texas
Founder and owner // Alex Hinojosa Sr. founded the company; Alex Hinojosa Jr. owns it.
Employees // 26
Fleet // 8 bobtails, 4 service trucks, 3 transports

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