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Improving technology boosts Oklahoma's CNG market

by Adam Wilmoth Published: July 25, 2014
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As technology advances, price often drops while quality improves.

Oklahoma City entrepreneur Ron Peeler hopes that trend will continue in the market for compressed natural gas vehicles and the equipment that fills them with fuel.

Peeler’s HYPRES Equipment adapted its high-pressure breathing air compressors and in 2012 began selling Smart Fill CNG, a natural gas compressor system that can be installed at a home and used to fill a CNG vehicle overnight.

The first design was based on the industrial compressors HYPRES has sold for decades. The company then brought on engineer Nick Chalifoux to help redesign the product and lower its price. The new model, known as the H3, is designed for retail customers.

The improvements dropped the price to about $8,500, down from more than $13,000, Chalifoux said. CNG home fill purchasers also are eligible for a $2,500 state tax credit and a $1,000 rebate from Oklahoma Natural Gas.

Peeler said he expects the industry to continue to evolve.

“There’s a lot of good technology down the road,” Peeler said. “This will be a different industry four or five years from now.”

Home fueling costs about 70 cents per gasoline gallon equivalent, including both the cost of the natural gas and the electrical cost to run the compressor, said Chalifoux, who has since started HYPRES distributor Residential CNG.

HYPRES is working with CNG of OKC to market and sell its home fuel units.

In Okarche, OEM Systems LLC has been working with Oklahoma-based Masterpiece CNG on a similar effort for the past five years.

“Right now, most of our conversion vehicles are for small and large fleets,” OEM contract administrator Taren Robinson said. “The retail customers are the ones interested in home fueling stations. There has been an increase in those. More and more people are interested.”

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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There’s a lot of good technology down the road. This will be a different industry four or five years from now.”

Ron Peeler,
Entrepreneur

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