NGVConnection Newsletter - April 2013


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Change in NFPA 52 Now Requires HAZOP Analysis for CNG Stations

By Annalloyd Thomason, Vice President/General Manager, NGVi

The 2013 version of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 52 Vehicular Gaseous Fuel Systems Code is in effect, and several sections of the code have been revised and updated.  Perhaps the most significant update for CNG fueling station designers is found in an entirely new chapter titled “General Fueling Station Requirements,” and specifically subsection 4.4 Installation Validation.

This subsection specifies that “The refueling station and associated storage equipment shall be validated per the specifics of 4.4.1 when a change is made to the fundamental design, or not less than every 4 years…The validation shall at a minimum include the following (1) Process safety analysis and hazard and operability studies (HAZOPS)...Validation shall be kept on site and provided to the AHJ upon request.”  This requirement is interpreted to mean that every CNG station designed after the effective date of NFPA 52 2013 is affected—or at least will be within four years of its construction.

So, “what’s the big deal?” you might ask.  The first part of the big deal is that this is a new requirement—CNG station designers have not had to perform the HAZOP study until now. The second part of the big deal is that conducting a HAZOP analysis is a specialized procedure, and whoever performs the study must be highly-trained and intimately familiar with the detailed workings of every component and sub-component of CNG fueling equipment.

As a general definition, a Hazard and Operability Analysis (HAZOP) is a structured and systematic technique for system examination and risk management.  HAZOP is often used as a technique for identifying potential hazards in a system and identifying operability problems. HAZOP is based on the theory that assumes risk events are caused by deviations from design or operating intentions.

For CNG fueling stations, the HAZOP review must be conducted by a qualified engineer with proven expertise in mechanical, electrical and gaseous storage systems, as well as fire protection and gas detection.  The primary goal is to identify ways to increase the safety of the station, while a secondary goal may be to protect the owner against unwitting participation in either criminal or civil violations. 

A basic CNG fueling station HAZOP review would include these elements:

  • Identify the typical CNG fueling station (all the components combined) to be analyzed.
  • Compare the typical CNG fueling station with NFPA 52 and all other codes and standards that govern the design and installation of the station.
  • Review industry safety experience as identified in current literature.
  • Identify potential hazards of internal and external events leading to potential accidents.
  • Analyze potential accident scenarios determined from the hazards analysis.

During this process, numerous complex analyses and determinations of causes, consequences, safeguards, probability, and severity are performed.  The end result of the HAZOP analysis is a detailed evaluation of each potentially hazardous condition and recommendations for corrective action.

To help the industry meet HAZOP analysis needs, NGVi is incorporating the subject into our CNG Fueling Station Design training curriculum—an all-new module for 2013 courses.  As the industry becomes aware of the new requirements, this additional layer of safety regulations may help increase the already-safe CNG fueling stations built in the future—and safety is the number one priority.

Perspectives with Dave Myers, Hexagon Lincoln
By Kayla Vickaryous, Marketing Specialist, NGVi

Recently, NGVi had the chance to sit down with industry veteran and business manager at Hexagon Lincoln, Dave Myers. Hexagon Lincoln, an NGVi sponsor, is the leading provider of natural gas and hydrogen storage and transport solutions to the alternative fuel vehicle industry. Dave discusses the CNG industry outlook, existing and emerging CNG products, as well as what lies ahead for the natural gas vehicle industry.

Can you give us a little background on Hexagon Lincoln?

This year, Hexagon Lincoln celebrates 50 years in business and 20 years making CNG cylinders. At last count we had over 100,000 CNG cylinders in service globally. We are well known by our Tuffshell® moniker.

What are the main CNG products developed and currently sold by your company? What are their advantages over other similar CNG products currently available?

Our core focus is the CNG market for vehicle fuel tanks and now we have our TITAN™ Gas Transportation Module. All of our products are Type IV, meaning a full composite product that only has metal in the end boss to install the valves and pressure relief devices (PRDs). One of our advantages is the speed that we are able to build a cylinder from start to finish. Unlike the process for building metal cylinders, we have only a few steps in our manufacturing process. If you look at one of our TITAN™ tubes, it measures 42” in diameter and 456” in length. We have four of them in the module—that’s a lot of CNG. This would be impossible to replicate with a metal tube of the same proportions.

Would you care to pontificate a bit on the growth of natural gas for use in vehicles in North America?

It’s been painfully slow in coming. Some have wondered if the U.S. would ever embrace natural gas vehicles. When you look at the numbers of vehicles around the globe, we still only have rather meager numbers. We’re growing, but we are still behind where we all thought we would be back in the 1980’s.

What recent milestones have you seen achieved anywhere within the NGV industry that excite you?

There has been pent-up demand for natural gas vehicles from the trucking industry. Right now, the only thing holding this back is the need for larger horsepower. I really believe once the engines are available in volume, we will see a huge surge in natural gas for transportation. This may have a pull-through effect on the light duty side, as more people will be seeing these trucks on the highway.

What do you think it will take for natural gas to be embraced widely as a vehicle fuel in North America?

Higher legacy fuels prices. When gasoline and diesel prices hit the mid to high $4.00 range or above, the phones really ring off the desk. Certainly another huge game changer is availability of fueling. Even though we have a large number of CNG public access fueling in California, I still have people wanting to know how and where I fuel my Civic GX. Education of vehicle operators is still a challenge that we as an industry need to do more of. We need the help of the OEMs to start by educating their dealers. An example is the new 2013 Honda Civic TV commercial—it talks about every model, except the natural gas. They build it, why don’t they promote it?

What resource recommendations (conferences, magazines, websites) do you have for fleet managers throughout North America who are just beginning to look into switching to natural gas?

Conferences certainly can be a good source to see more at one time, in one place. There are a number of industry specific ones (transit, waste, and trucking), but the best one I’ve been involved in is the ACT Expo. As far as web-based information related to natural gas vehicles, there are three that do a very good job of keeping me up to date on the happenings of the industry: Fleets & Fuels, the NGVi newsletter (NGVConnection), and the weekly NGV America members update.

What are your thoughts on the new Type 5 cylinders currently being developed?

Innovation is a good thing for the industry, as is competition. Obviously the single largest item, relative to both size and cost, are the fuel storage cylinder(s). More volume at a lower weight is desirable, especially for light duty platforms. It will be interesting to see how the Type 5 products actually perform and if they are able to make an impact on costs per liter of water volume.

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NGVi Student Spotlight: Certified CNG Inspector, LLC Opens Its Doors

By Kayla Vickaryous, Marketing Specialist, NGVi

In recent years, CNG’s economic advantages over petroleum-based fuel have instigated widespread conversion to natural gas vehicles (NGVs). The domestic fuel relieves dependence on foreign sources and allows users to pay less at the pump, helping fleets save exponentially on overhead fuel costs. Based on national average prices in January 2013, CNG costs nearly 40 percent less than its petroleum-based counterpart.

Jack Stepongzi, veteran CNG fleet technician, supervisor, and fleet manager is capitalizing on the benefits of CNG in another way—as an entrepreneur. Certified CNG Inspector, LLC opened its doors last month, and provides on-site CNG fuel system inspections and fleet consulting to its customers. “We want to develop service hubs that both fleets and private operators can depend on for quality, timely and economical inspections,” stated Stepongzi, founder of Certified CNG Inspector. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, the company works around fleet operation hours to minimize fleet down time and help keep service fleets up and running.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration FMVSS304 requires that any in-use CNG cylinder, regardless of type, must be inspected every 36,000 miles of service, or 36 months—whichever comes first—or in the event that the vehicle is involved in an accident exceeding five miles per hour or vehicle fire. To become a certified CNG fuel system inspector, each applicant must take and pass the CNG Fuel System Inspector Certification exam, administered by the CSA Group. While some fleets have their own certified personnel on staff to perform these inspections, there is a growing market for third-party inspectors as the conversion to CNG becomes an increasingly popular business decision.

Jack Stepongzi recognized this need. “The idea for Certified CNG Inspector was inspired when I managed a fleet that had recently transitioned to CNG. A truck was down because it had been in an accident, and it took almost 30 days to get an inspector to put the truck back into service,” Stepongzi reflected. “I felt there needed to be more CNG support services if CNG is to move forward and be successful.”

To put his business plan in motion, Jack executed the steps to become certified, beginning with NGVi’s CNG Fuel System Inspector course in Las Vegas. NGVi’s CNG Fuel System Inspector training is a two-day course that provides attendees with the proper techniques for inspecting CNG fuel systems, including on-board compressed natural gas fuel storage cylinders.

“NGVi’s course prepared me for the test with very in-depth knowledge of CNG fuel system via classroom study, combined with a comprehensive hands-on experience with both light and heavy NGVs,” said Stepongzi. “The final test also had a hands-on component, providing a real feel of what you’d expect to find in the field.”

The NGVi training team is comprised of ASE certified and CSA certified fuel system inspectors, each with over 15 years’ technical training experience. Currently the only ASE-accredited training provider in the natural gas vehicle industry, NGVi has trained more than 17,000 students worldwide. Training manager Paul Pate commends Stepongzi for his business initiative. “Certified CNG Inspector is a great example of the entrepreneurial opportunities that are emerging in the natural gas vehicle industry,” said Pate, “It’s extremely rewarding to see our training pay off in such a monumental way.” 

Certified CNG Inspector ensures its customers a detailed inspection, which covers each important element of a quality inspection:

  • Cylinder mounting bracket inspection
  • Cylinder inspection
  • Shield inspection
  • Fuel system inspection
  • Pressure relief device and vent line inspection, and NFPA 52 compliance

Just six weeks since opening its doors, Certified CNG Inspector is now the approved contractor for McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing, Inc. in Pennsylvania, a vendor for MV Transportation in Baltimore to inspect the CNG vehicles for the Maryland Transport Authority (MTA), and the verified vendor for the federal and state government—and the new company shows no signs of slowing down.

“We want to develop service hubs that both fleets and private operators can depend on for quality, timely and economical inspections,” said Stepongzi. “Certified CNG Inspector wants fleet owners to know that we have the resources to support their commitment to switching to CNG.” 


  • To learn more about Certified CNG Inspector, LLC or to schedule an appointment, click here.
  • To learn more about NGVi’s CNG Fuel System Inspector training or other courses, click here.

CNG Fuel Price Report
From Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report published by Argonne National Laboratory for DOE's Clean Cities Program

Overall Average Fuel Prices (as of January 2013)


Nationwide Average Price for Fuel This Report

Nationwide Average Price for Fuel Last Report

Change in Price This Report vs. Last Report

Units of Measurement

Gasoline (Regular)




per gallon





per gallon





per GGE

NGVs and CNG in the News

Landi Renzo USA Delivers Chrysler 300 5.7L Hemi V8 CNG Bi-Fuel--Daily Markets

Love's Adding More CNG Fast-Fill Lanes--Fleet Owner

Industry Urged to Use Natural Gas in Operations 

--Oil & Gas Journal

To read more, click here.

Upcoming Training from NGVi

CNG Fueling Station Design Training

April 23-24, 2013
Egg Harbor, NJ

This two-day course provides comprehensive training for public and commercial sector professionals needing to learn the most up-to-date methods and practices for sizing, designing, specifying, and constructing a CNG fueling station. It is ideal for engineers, designers, construction firms, owners, and those interested in acquiring a CNG fueling station.


CNG Fueling Station Operation and Maintenance Training

April 25-26, 2013
Egg Harbor, NJ

This two-day course provides complete, in-depth instruction on proven best practices for natural gas fueling station operation and maintenance. It will help maintenance technicians improve safety procedures and provide methods that will save time and money when maintaining natural gas fueling station equipment.


NGV Technician and Fleet Operations Safety Training 

May 14, 2012
Egg Harbor, NJ

One-day session that teaches you the elements involved in the safe maintenance practices, fueling procedures, and operation of NGVs.


CNG Fuel System Inspector Training

May 15-16, 2012
Egg Harbor, NJ

Two-day session that provides you with the proper techniques for inspecting CNG fuel systems, including on-board compressed natural gas fuel storage cylinders.



Click here to Register

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Upcoming Training

Level 1: NGV Essentials
and Safety Practices

August 21, 2018
Atlanta, GA

Level 2: CNG Fuel System
Inspector Training

August 22-23, 2018
Atlanta, GA

Level 1: NGV Essentials
and Safety Practices

September 11, 2018
Boothwyn, PA

Level 2: CNG Fuel System
Inspector Training

September 12-13, 2018
Boothwyn, PA

Essentials of CNG Station Planning,
Design and Construction

September 24-25, 2018
Las Vegas, NV

Essentials of CNG Station
Operation and Maintenance

September 26-27, 2018
Las Vegas, NV

Level 1: NGV Essentials
and Safety Practices

October 2, 2018
Sacramento, CA

Level 2: CNG Fuel System
Inspector Training

October 3-4, 2018
Sacramento, CA


Register Now »

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About NGVi

Natural Gas Vehicle Institute is North America’s leading provider of training and consulting on natural gas as a transportation fuel.

Our services address the full range of natural gas vehicle and fueling issues, including:

Technical consulting services – Sizing and designing compressed natural gas fueling stations, vehicle assessments and technical assistance for fleets, CNG fueling station troubleshooting, natural gas vehicle maintenance facilities upgrades, liquefied natural gas fleet and fueling management.

Technical training – NGV Essentials and Safety Practices, CNG Fuel System Inspector Training, Heavy-Duty NGV Maintenance and Diagnostics Training, Light-Duty NGV Maintenance and Diagnostics Training, CNG Fuel System Design and Installation Training, Essentials of CNG Station Operation and Maintenance Training, Essentials of CNG Station Planning, Design and Construction Training and CNG/LNG Codes and Standards Training for Fire Marshals and Code Officials.


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