PERC approves $2 million off-road terminal truck project

January 11, 2011 By    

A new project approved by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) could increase annual propane demand by 10 to 20 million gallons and establish a foothold for propane in the off-road truck market.

PERC, meeting in December in The Woodlands, Texas, approved a proposal to develop an off-road terminal truck that will use an 8-liter propane engine that is being developed for propane bobtail trucks and school buses. The $2 million project will help fund the development and certification of the propane-fueled terminal truck to be built by Capacity of Texas, with estimated sales of 250 to 500 trucks a year.

In other business, the council gave preliminary approval to changes in PERC policies, rules and procedures that would give the PERC president the authority to approve certain spending proposals without consulting the council or the Executive Committee. The changes cap presidential spending approval authority at $100,000 per item and $500,000 a year. The council authorized the president to publish the proposed rule changes for industry and public comment.

The council also approved the following grant funding requests, with amount and principal contractor listed:

Safety and training
• $3,747,000 to Hanley Wood for residential training of architects, builders, remodelers, HVAC pros and plumbers, with 2011 plans calling for further segmenting messages and content to deliver specific training programs each group finds most useful and that will drive business
• $746,628 to Dashe & Thomson for curriculum alignment and textbook for CETP course 4.4: appliance service
• $700,000 to Prime Consulting Group for 2011 Marketer Technology Training, expanding the training to additional markets or applications with high gallon potential – generators; on-road vehicles and fleets; and filling the home with other residential propane uses beyond space and water heating. The existing three modules (commercial mowers, tankless water heaters and irrigation engines) will be updated.
• $353,367 to Dashe & Thomson for CETP: updated and revised courses and support
• $155,485 to the University of Nebraska to develop a training manual for the proper use of flaming as a weed control tool as well as conduct field demonstrations on the proper use of flaming equipment
• $100,000 to PERC for 2011 Kawasaki dealer outreach and training
• $30,000 to Progressive Agriculture Foundation to train safety day coordinators to conduct propane safety lessons at the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day program

Research and development
• $2,000,000 to Capacity of Texas for 8-liter propane engine for off-road terminal truck applications
• $1,991,469 to Blue Mountain Energy for the continued development of an 11-ton rooftop propane-packaged engine-driven heat pump
• $325,000 to Osborn & Barr Communications and Nexight Group for 2011 agriculture outreach program. Its overall goal is to disseminate the results of projects and programs funded through PERC to benefit the U.S. agriculture and propane industries.
• $297,800 to Battelle Memorial Institute for testing of pressure relief valves for customer tanks. The California Department of Industrial Safety is enforcing a regulation requiring the replacement of relief valves on commercial tanks in accordance with the recommended life in manufacturers’ documentation. The project goal is a detailed report that will provide data enabling a reader to determine the usable life of relief valves on ASME containers.
• $262,000 for 2011 PERC innovation initiatives and to develop a long-term technology strategy
• $228,550 to Nexight Group for the 2011 research and development outreach program, with a vision that the propane industry will recognize the value of PERC’s R&D program and that PERC will be widely recognized as the leading entity supporting propane-related research and product development
• $212,000 to Origin Engines to help defray the cost of the calibration and testing process to achieve EPA and CARB emissions certification on propane-fueled 8-liter and 10.3-liter industrial engines, used particularly in agricultural applications
• $138,084 to Gas Technology Institute to provide sound technical data comparing the performance, energy consumption and dynamic response of Rinnai direct vent wall furnaces with the performance of forced warm air furnaces. The data collected from this project will help determine if PERC should support the Rinnai direct vent product.
• $98,000 to McLanahan Corp. for drying separated dairy cow bedding sand using propane

Partnership agreement
• $1,351,000 for the 2011 partnership agreement between PERC, GPA and NPGA. NPGA and GPA are responsible for appointing council members and PERC has a statutory obligation to coordinate its activities with the industry trade associations and others to improve efficiency and avoid unnecessary duplication, Council Chairman Bill Platz noted.

Market research and business planning
• $646,580 to ICF International for the 2011 propane market research and business planning initiative, which aims to consolidate PERC’s market research projects and business planning efforts into one cohesive plan

Advisory committee support
• $230,000 to PERC for Research and Development Advisory Committee oversight
• $160,000 to PERC for Engine Fuel Advisory Committee oversight
• $156,500 to PERC for Safety and Training Advisory Committee oversight
• $150,000 to PERC for Residential and Commercial Advisory Committee oversight
• $150,000 to PERC for Agriculture Advisory Committee oversight

Industry programs
• $400,000 to SmartBrief Inc. and MasterPrint for 2011 industry communications, making marketers aware of industry initiatives, encouraging their participation and obtaining their input
• $290,000 to Strategic Marketing Resources for 2011 industry outreach, which covers operating expenses involved in interacting directly with industry members

State rebates
• $100,000 to Western PERC for the California low-emission equipment rebate 2011 project, to provide an incentive for marketers to replace traditional high-emitting equipment with new low-emission equipment and help reduce LPG fugitive emissions that occur during the propane-transfer process
• $5,000 to Western PERC for a California regulatory guide for propane marketers that will help improve propane safety for consumers and industry members

There were 12 rebate requests totaling $348,745. Two rebate requests included requests for partnership funds totaling $110,184.

The council will next meet on Feb. 3 by conference call.

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