SoCalGas Demonstrates 'First in U.S.' Natural Gas Vehicle 'Fueling Station in a Box'

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today launched the field demonstration of a new natural gas vehicle fueling technology that aims to significantly reduce costs and increase performance.  The testing of the Galileo Microbox – a streamlined compressed natural gas "fueling station in a box" – is part of SoCalGas' research and development efforts to advance innovative technologies to benefit customers and the region. The modular fueling station technology offers the potential for lower construction and maintenance costs, faster vehicle fueling, minimized installation time and a smaller physical footprint.

The Microbox, developed by Galileo Corp. and used extensively internationally, is being showcased for the first time in the United States at SoCalGas' Riverside customer service base.  The compact, self-contained fueling station provides compressed natural gas at about $2 per gasoline gallon equivalent to vehicles operated by the city and county of Riverside, AT&T, SoCalGas as well as regional school bus and taxi companies and consumer vehicles.

"Compressed natural gas is a clean, domestically produced transportation fuel offering significant costs savings to customers," said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions at SoCalGas.  "Our goal with this demonstration project is to help advance new technology that will reduce upfront capital costs for cities, counties and private operators looking to build compressed natural gas fueling stations."

The city of Riverside is a leader in the use of clean-burning natural gas to power its fleet of 250 vehicles, including 60 sedans, 73 pickups, 39 vans and buses, 13 street sweepers, 25 refuse trucks and 39 other heavy-duty trucks.

"Riverside has proven time and again how much we value innovation, technology and environmentally responsible solutions," said Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, who also serves on the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board.  "This groundbreaking fueling station makes again a positive statement for our region's progressive efforts to preserve our environment."

The advancement of clean technology also helps to create new jobs in the emerging green renewable market.

"SoCalGas' alternative energy investment further underscores California's overall commitment to having the most dynamic energy portfolio in the world," said Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development Director, Joel Ayala.  "Earlier this year, Riverside Mayor Ronald Loveridge and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders joined with my office to announce the expansion of a regional Innovation Hub and this is the type of technology and investment our regional innovation clusters seek to enhance."

Modular fueling station technologies, like those being developed by Galileo Corp., contain all the primary components required for a refueling facility in a single, factory integrated enclosure the size of a small shipping container.  Hence, the nickname "station in a box." This technology takes 20 percent less space and can be installed faster than traditional facilities with separate components that must be installed on the site, thereby offering the potential to significantly reduce capital cost and construction time.

Southern California currently has nearly 300 compressed natural gas fueling stations serving more than 17,000 natural gas-powered vehicles.  SoCalGas over the next few years is adding 1,000 new natural gas-powered trucks to its fleet and plans to upgrade and expand all of its 13 company-owned public-access compressed natural gas stations.  The company also is a member of a national collaborative made up of North American natural gas utilities and producers focused on advancing natural gas as a fuel for all sectors of transportation, including cars, trucks, busses, and marine and mining equipment.

About Southern California Gas Co.

Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years.  It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities.  The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.  SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).


SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.

For further information: Raul Gordillo, Southern California Gas Co., 1-877-643-2331