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  • CNG Conversion

    Good afternoon everyone!
    My name is Gonzalo Del Negro. I am a CNG manufacturer and installer from Argentina. I am planning to set up my factory and workshops in USA because as you all know, my country is not a very nice place to live in.
    Apart from my CNG conversion business, I also represent a CNG compressor manufacturer for filling stations.
    I would like to get some help and some general knowledge on this business. Is there a potential market for my products?
    Are there many conversion workshops?
    Are there any manufacturers?
    Is there market for filling stations?
    I also want to know how do you people manage DIY kits. It is unbearable for me to think that you install your own kits. If that was done here in Argentina, thare would be massive blow ups.
    Thank you for your help.
    Please visit my site: www.redgas.com.ar.
    Please mail me at [email protected].

    Best regards
    Gonzalo Del Negro

  • #2
    Re: CNG Conversion

    Your products will most likely not be approved by the EPA.

    They want you to pay a tax of $25,000-$50,000.00 USD per year, to certify each year, make, model, and engine size. So if you have a kit that is fine for more than one vehicle, you will have to pay that money again, even though it is the same kit, for every year that the car was made.

    For example, if you want to sell a Ford F150 kit for 2001, 2002, 2003, in the year 2008:
    2001 Ford Truck with XX size of engine has to be taxed.
    2002 Ford Truck with XX size of engine has to be taxed.
    2003 Ford Truck with XX size of engine has to be taxed.
    2001 Ford Truck with YY size of engine has to be taxed.
    2002 Ford Truck with YY size of engine has to be taxed.
    2003 Ford Truck with YY size of engine has to be taxed.

    Then again, in 2009, you will have to do the same.
    2001 Ford Truck with XX size of engine has to be taxed again.
    2002 Ford Truck with XX size of engine has to be taxed again.
    2003 Ford Truck with XX size of engine has to be taxed again.
    2001 Ford Truck with YY size of engine has to be taxed again.
    2002 Ford Truck with YY size of engine has to be taxed again.
    2003 Ford Truck with YY size of engine has to be taxed again.

    For every year make and model of truck, every year, no matter if it was certified before.

    Now you see why it is so expensive to get conversions in the U.S. This is why so many people want to do the install themselves...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: CNG Conversion

      Is there a chance to set up a conversion shop without any approval?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: CNG Conversion

        Sure, just expect to be banned from this site.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: CNG Conversion

          Originally posted by gonzalo89 View Post
          Is there a chance to set up a conversion shop without any approval?
          If you check the group calender, we post training class information. Setting up an unlicensed conversion shop would not be worth while in as much as EPA would be a real problem for you.

          The conversion shop is not the one that has to pay to get the engine groups certified, the manufacturer of the kit does. The ligitimate conversion shops are very busy right now, and look to be even busier in the future.

          The licensed kit manufacturers will not sell to unlicensed shops. Selling the kits you are used to dealing with would be illegal, unless those kit manufacturers were to support you in getting those kits certified for sale in the US. Imagine how nice it would be to be able to get exclusive US marketing rights for some of those kits.

          There are colleges and tech schools that cazn cet you certified here. Your experience would make the class very easy to pass. Oh, there really are no DIY kits in the US... at least not the legal ones. Best of luck with your venture. We need all the legitimate shops we can get here.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: CNG Conversion

            Curtis, Thank you for your information.
            I have a factory in Argentina and more that 10 million cars are working with my kits right now. As one of the members told me, it is very expensive to certify a kit in USA. What I dont understand is why there are so many vehicles running on CNG without the EPA certification. If this happens, it means that there are some people getting their car installed in uncertified places.
            Suppose I get my workshop running and import my own kit from Argentina, in that case I would still be out of regulation, wouldnt I.
            Sorry for all these questions but I suppose you have an idea on the business.
            Also like to know if theres any interest in setting up filling stations. I have the compressors, the know how and also some of the money.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: CNG Conversion

              People are installing the uncertified kits, because they don't have many other options. Most people cannot afford to pay the cost of a new car, to convert their old car to run on natural gas. With gas becoming more expensive, everything else is becoming more expensive as well. So when gas goes up, food, clothes, heating bills, tires, etc. It all gets more expensive, and people have to decide whether to drive to work, or pay their bills...

              It's similar to why so many people sneak into the U.S. from other countries, even though it's illegal.

              Anyway, there is a HUGE demand for more CNG fueling stations. Even in areas where there are already stations. The demand is so high in some areas, that the stations rarely have full pressure, and you cannot get a complete fill.

              If you have the ability to open stations, that would probably be the best route to take, for a man in your position. If I had the money to invest, I would be interested in that as well.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: CNG Conversion

                The act of setting up and performing illegal conversions is against the law, period. Let there be no further discussion of it on this board. You feel free to do as you wish, however once EPA catches up with you the fines are $5000 per day, per kit you install.

                Infrastructure is in high demand everywhere (almost). I simply suggest that you take your time, do things legally, correctly, and have a prosperous future. There are training classes starting mid-Nov (19th-21st) listed on the group calender. It's a place to start. Just remember, even if you were a doctor in Argentina, you wouldn't be allowed to practice here without being re-certified to make sure you understand our regulations and requirements. Best of luck.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: CNG Conversion

                  If he has time before he is ready to make the move into the U.S., I suggest he just wait and see what comes out of some of the recent legislation. In a year or so, the certification costs and procedures may become less expensive and easier to obtain. At least we are all hoping so. Then again, there will be a lot of competition if they do.
                  '12 Metallic Civic NG w/Navi
                  '09 White Civic GX
                  '06 White Bifuel Ridgeline
                  FMQ 2-36

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: CNG Conversion

                    Originally posted by OKGX View Post
                    If he has time before he is ready to make the move into the U.S., I suggest he just wait and see what comes out of some of the recent legislation. In a year or so, the certification costs and procedures may become less expensive and easier to obtain. At least we are all hoping so. Then again, there will be a lot of competition if they do.
                    We're all hoping so, but I wouldn't bank on it...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: CNG Conversion

                      What about {reference to illegal product removed by forum staff}. they are promoting installs in their site.
                      Last edited by John Mitton; 09-25-2008, 12:18 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: CNG Conversion

                        Gonzalez, I wouldn't worry too much about the legal issues, get a good lawyer (US) first and investigate the possibilities. The backers of certified are going to tell you certified only and others are ggoing to tell you no proble, as there are many after market non-certified kits being openly sold and there is being no recourse enforced with them.... tells me that there is a big gray area in this discussion. It's all about the money!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: CNG Conversion

                          Gonzalez remember this is America the land of opportunitie just look how far some of our politicians have gotten by robbing us blind. I wish you luck in your venture this is a good read for you. As far as those outfitters go I think they are playing Russian Roulette: As a truck driver hauling groceries if I'm hauling a load of milk and lay the truck over and fifty gallons or more of milk spills on the ground,it is now an enviromental hazard. Therefor in now must be cleaned up by EPA standards which costs tens of thousands of dollars brutal it is.

                          New safety warning from NGVAmerica and CVEF
                          Convert Your Vehicle to Compressed Natural Gas - SAFELY
                          Source - NGVAmerica - CVEF
                          Thursday, 22 May 2008

                          USA

                          The following bulletin was issued by NGVAmerica and the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation(CVEF). Though aimed at the US market, the safety message is relevant to most other markets as well.

                          As gasoline and diesel prices continue to rise, many people are considering converting their car or light truck to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). CNG is a clean, inexpensive (currently selling for less than half the cost of gasoline) domestic fuel. Best of all, it uses zero imported (or domestic) petroleum. And government rebates are available to help with the cost of conversion and to further lower the cost of CNG fuel. But conversion from gasoline to CNG should not be done by unqualified technicians, using unapproved conversion kits or unsafe high-pressure gas cylinders.

                          The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rules concerning the manufacture, sale and installation of alternative fuel engine conversion systems. The California Air Resources Board has similar and even more stringent emission rules for conversions in that state. Only EPA and/or CARB-certified conversion systems are permitted to be installed on vehicles. While a variety of non-certified systems are sold on the Internet and/or offered by some automotive shops, EPA has taken the position that installation of these systems is "tampering with a federally approved emission control system", a federal violation punishable by a substantial financial penalty. Installation of non-certified systems can also cause a vehicle to fail emissions inspection.

                          Because of the technical difficulty and the expense of EPA and CARB certification, certified conversions are only available for a limited number of engine families and applicable vehicle models. An up-to-date list of all currently available EPA- and CARB-certified engine retrofit and repower systems is available at NGVAmerica. New Honda Civic GX CNG vehicles, built in the USA, are also available in some states (see Honda).

                          Installation of an engine conversion package and fueling system may be done when the vehicle is first purchased or after it has been in service. EPA and CARB require that converters provide appropriate documentation and training to installers of their systems. Installation by non-qualified installers is illegal and could damage the retrofit equipment or the engine (or both), compromise vehicle performance, or render the vehicle unsafe to operate. No EPA- or CARB-certified engine conversion systems are sold to untrained/unapproved installers.

                          CNG conversions SHOULD NOT be performed by unqualified technicians! Properly installed CNG systems are safe and economical, with the vehicle operating almost exactly like a gasoline vehicle. However CNG systems rely on high-pressure compressed natural gas for fuel, and high-pressure gases require specialized components and technical skills for installation. Conversions should be done according to the National Fire Protection Association's Vehicular Fuel Systems Code (NFPA 52).

                          CNG converters and vehicle owners are reminded that CNG cylinders, often the most expensive component of the fuel system, must carry labels showing they meet the applicable Department of Transportation standard (FMVSS 304) by the symbol "DOT" on the label. The label will show an expiration date, after which the cylinder may not be safely used. Cylinders should also be inspected for safety every three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first (see www.cleanvehicle.org for more information). Converters and vehicle owners should have documentation that this safety inspection has been done.

                          Detailed answers to "Frequently Asked Questions About Converting Vehicles to Operate on Natural Gas" are available from NGVAmerica.

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                          • #14
                            Re: CNG Conversion

                            That pretty much says it all.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: CNG Conversion

                              Thank you all very much. You have been of great help

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