LPG Spotlight: Nantucket Energy

September 14, 2018 By    
The Nantucket Energy bobtail built by Exosent Engineering. Photo courtesy of Exosent Engineering.

The Nantucket Energy bobtail built by Exosent Engineering. Photo courtesy of Exosent Engineering.

At Nantucket Energy, a propane retailer on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, additional storage and a customized bobtail help improve efficiency, despite the logistical challenges of operating on a 105-square-mile island.

Philip Marks III, the owner and co-founder of Nantucket Energy, has 120,000 gallons of underground bulk storage and is adding another 90,000 gallons. Additional storage is a must-have when working on an island, especially during the winter when the operation can go days without a delivery.

“We had a situation last winter where we had an ice storm and we didn’t get any boats at all for a week,” Marks says. “Usually we are getting a load every day.”

The bulk storage helps ensure the operation has fuel available, while the recent addition of a customized bobtail ensures customers get the fuel when they need it.

Marks worked with Exosent Engineering, a transport manufacturing company in Texas, to build a bobtail that is lightweight, has improved storage volume, is safe and was built knowing that the driver is working on a small island.
Some features of the new bobtail include: a pump moved from directly under the barrel to outside the frame rail; the addition of a power-in and power-out hose reel directly in the back of the bobtail that also features a level wind to make it easier on the delivery driver to properly store the hose; and a meter on the passenger side so the delivery driver can work on the curb instead of in traffic. The bobtail also fills on the side of the truck because it works better with the design of Nantucket Energy’s yard.

“We had 100 percent control in the design of the bobtail,” Marks says. “We collaborated with them wholly. … So much of it was both of us working together.”

Marks and his No. 1 delivery driver worked together until they designed a bobtail that was safer and better for the location in which they operate. Once the two formulated the idea, Exosent Engineering rendered designs for review and were flexible during the process.

According to Marks, that flexibility and the ability to work on the fly was what attracted him to Exosent Engineering.

Originally, Marks was looking to add another transport trailer before adding the storage. Once Marks made the decision on storage, he asked Gerald Pearson, director of business development at Exosent Engineering, about available options on a new bobtail.

“[Gerald] said he could probably get around 4,000 gallons [for the bobtail] and I was just like, ‘Come on – there’s no way you can do that.’”

Because Exosent Engineering uses a thinner steel, less steel is used for the barrel, increasing the bobtail’s propane storage volume. According to Marks, Nantucket Energy is now getting 4,300 gallons in a bobtail load. What Marks used to do in four bobtail loads, he can now do in three.

“Think about this industry wide, with that travel time back to the yard to get refilled to just go back out again,” Marks says. “If you can reduce that by 20 or 30 percent, that is a huge number.”


Founded: 2008
Headquarters: Nantucket, Massachusetts
Owner: Philip Marks III
Founders: Philip Marks III and Jamie Ranney
Employees: 16
Bobtails: 4
Website: nantucketenergy.com

About the Author:

Joe McCarthy is an Associate Editor of LP Gas Magazine. You can contact him at jmccarthy@northcoastmedia.net and at 216-363-7930.

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