Kalmbach Clean Fuels Tuesday hosted a grand opening of its compressed natural gas fueling station between Carey and Upper Sandusky. But President Paul Kalmbach said the day represented much more.
"This is not about a new gas station and it's not about a company being successful and hiring a few more local people in Upper Sandusky," he said. "It's much, much bigger than that."
The day included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a demonstration of how the fueling system works at the station, 11790 CH 4 between SR 199 and US 23, followed by an educational program about CNG at the Wyandot County Fairgrounds.
The first public CNG station in rural Ohio, it was designed and constructed by TruStar Energy at the request of Kalmbach, a subsidiary of Kalmbach Feeds.
The station allows two vehicles to fuel at the same time using fueling dispensers that work much like standard diesel fuel pumps. The station provides 24-hour, on-demand fueling to customers through fueling cards or major credit cards. And it features "fast fill," a method of dispensing compressed natural gas that takes about the same amount of time as fueling a vehicle with gasoline or diesel.
The current price for CNG is $1.95 per unit called GGE, or gasoline gallon equivalent, or $2.25 DGE, diesel gallon equivalent.
During the education portion of the day, Kalmbach explained the reasons the company is moving toward the use of CNG fuel.
"We are on the cutting edge of this," he said. "We have the most sophisticated manufacturing facilities of anybody else in our industry in the nation. And now we are going to be the cleanest feed manufacturer in the country today, and we're going to be the greenest by anybody's definition."
He said use of CNG fuel will lower transportation costs as it increases efficiency and sustainability.
Natural gas primarily is composed of methane and other hydrocarbons. Most gas is extracted from gas and oil wells, and sometimes from "biogas" sources such as landfills.
Kalmbach said natural gas offers environmental, energy security and economic benefits.
Among its benefits are fewer "greenhouse gases" than diesel or gasoline, mainly because methane is less carbon-rich than petroleum.
The company said natural gas is non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-carcinogenic and is no threat to soil, surface water or ground water.
Using natural gas supports the state's economy because it is produced in Ohio, and he said according to the Energy Information Administration, nearly all of the natural gas used in America comes from U.S. sources. About 25 percent of the energy used in the United States comes from natural gas.
However, natural gas has not been widely used in transportation. CNG is one form used to fuel vehicles. It is made by compressing natural gas to a fraction of its original volume.
It can be used in gasoline internal combustion engines that have been converted to alternative fuel vehicles.
The company said CNG fuel usually costs 20-60 percent less than petroleum fuels on an energy equivalent basis.
Kalmbach said the move toward CNG fuel represents the beginning of a paradigm shift in America.
For the last 50 years, he said Americans have been taught energy resources are limited.
"We've been told we have to compete for limited natural resources," he said. "That our standard of living will continue to decrease because food and fuel costs will continue to increase."
However, he said a paradigm change is under way with the availability of natural gas as fuel.
"I believe that God has been up in heaven looking down on us laughing at us because today's paradigm is false," Kalmbach said.
He said he envisions an America where manufacturing returns to the United States because it's cost-effective.
"We have a positive balance of trade," he said. "And we have lower feed and food costs."
And natural gas will lessen the U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
"I think we can be energy independent by 2020 without the government doing anything," he said.
Although the Unites States doesn't have as much natural gas as other parts of the world, Kalmbach said there is enough for at least 100 years.
"And America has the technology to get it out of the ground and into use," he said. "Other countries have more, but they don't have the technology to go get it."
He said the United States might even export energy.
"This has got the opportunity to solve America's financial problems," Kalmbach said. "It's the cleanest and best fuel for the environment, it requires no processing, it's efficient and sustainable.
"And it's American," he said.
Contact Kalmbach Clean Energy at (888) 771-1250 or (419) 294-3838, or visit kalmbachcleanfuels.com.