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SJ Airport Pumps Down

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  • SJ Airport Pumps Down

    A faulty gas pump at Mineta San Jose International Airport has been shut off until crews can fix it, a duty manager said today, meaning that taxicabs and shuttle buses that use the cleaner-burning fuel will need to pump gas somewhere else for now.

    Airport duty manager Ken Cameron said the valves at the CNG, or compressed natural gas, fuel station at 2151 Airport Blvd. were shut off Thursday at 11:47 p.m.

  • #2
    Re: SJ Airport Pumps Down

    I found this thread and San Jose Mercury News article on the CNG station at the San Jose Airport very interesting.

    One reason is because I designed and managed it for the City of San Jose for about 7 years. I even persuaded the city to own the station, which it does, and I priced the fuel such that it became the lowest cost CNG fuel in Northern CA at the time. I no longer manage the station, and have noticed that the price of CNG fuel is now much higher. So now I get my CNG fuel elsewhere.

    But the article regarding the station being down because of valves venting CNG into the atmosphere did not seem quite accurate.

    There have been leaks in the past due to drivers pulling the hoses off from the dispensers after fueling (yes, some drive off without disconnecting the fill hoses) and if any of the shut off valves on the dispenser malfunctioned at the same time, pressurized gas is released directly into the atmosphere. But that release can being easily ceased by hitting the emergency shut off buttons located at each dispenser and elsewhere at the station. So something in the article does not make sense. I sense no one from the airport or city now is managing the CNG station.

    That would make better sense given that I read the Airport is going to lay off up to about 140 of its 400 staff by 2010 due to declining airport revenues. I also heard that the new CNG shuttle buses might be replaced with electric buses in 2010, so it is not certain if this CNG station will be fully operational much after 2010.

    If that does occur, perhaps this is an opportunity to buy the station from the City of San Jose. Anyone else interested in pursuing this with me?

    PS. Not to nit pick, but they are not called gas pumps, that is for liquid fuels. They are fuel dispensers.


    • #3
      Re: SJ Airport Pumps Down

      Thanks for the reminder regarding CNG vocabulary. That portion of the text, along with the headline were cut/abbreviated from the article.


      • #4
        Re: SJ Airport Pumps Down

        I refuel at the airport at least once a week, and I have always noticed a strong smell of natural gas, even on windy days. I had always wondered if there was aleak, so I am taking the article at face value.

        Withthe large volume of buses and cabs refueling there, I had always wondered why the price was as high as it was. Never made sense to me.


        • #5
          Re: SJ Airport Pumps Down

          Hi Johnny:

          I also used to fill every other day at the SJ Airport's CNG station, but I have not since last May 08.

          As you know it is very near Terminal A, where there is a signifcant smell of jet fuel.

          I actually wanted the CNG station sited on the west side of the Airport on Coleman Ave., so its use could be increased, but I was overruled by the Airport.

          When I use the station, I only noticed the odor of CNG (actually natural gas (NG) is odorless, adulterants are added so we can smell it, a good thing) when the fuel line was disconnected, and NG was vented to the air as is the normal design.

          The compressors skids are near the dispensers, and they also are required to vent their scrubbers. The compressors are rated at around 550 scfm. So they are large, and there are two of them, one for a spare. Depending on demand, both of them may be operating; I do not know for sure now.

          I have smelled NG at other CNG stations when dispensing the fuel. It does not take much NG to smell it, less than 1 part per million (ppm) in the air.

          I suspect that the maintenance of the station is not the priority it once was since I left, as the Airport has siginificant budget problems. So I do not know if the absence of required daily maintenance is adding to the smell or not. If you have concerns, I suggest you call the Airport.

          With regard to price, I recall the average annual price was around $1.50/GGE in 2007. But as PG&E began to raise their price of natural gas to the station, I think the average annual price when I left was still below $2.00/GGE, and it was still the cheapest in the SF bay area at that time.

          I know after I left it was as high as $2.99/GGE when all the ultilities were trying to reap profits on NG when the gasoline prices went over $4.00 per gallon, because they were alleging (falsely) that NG prices are tied to gasoline prices.

          In my opinion, this country needs significat reform in the pricing of energy commodities, but we have been spoiled on cheap gas. Maybe that will change; only time will tell.

          Now I have no control over the SJ Airport's CNG station, so we consumers are left at the mercy of the bureaucrats, not a good thing. That is another reason why I left and now fuel elsewhere.

          But thank you for using the SJ Airport's CNG station.

          My gut level feeling is this station will not likely be in existence too much longer, and it may be ripe for a purchase. If this occurs, I intend to purchase it since I designed and managed it for almost 7 years. So I'm kind of connected to it.

          I believe it is one of the few CNG stations not owned by the typical CNG fuelers (e.g., CE, Triliium, Pinnacle, PG&E).



          • #6
            Re: SJ Airport Pumps Down

            I don't pretend to know much about this topic outside of how to refuel my car. The refueling station "pumps" show the Pinnacle Logo when you swipe your card. Does that mean it is owned by Pinnacle or do they only own the "pumps" themselves.


            • #7
              Re: SJ Airport Pumps Down

              So I went to this station yesterday for the first time (since my PG&E card has not yet arrived). I noticed a decent gas odor in the station. Is this normal? I see from previous posts that our noses can detect a small amount, but at the Blaney station that morning (where I went for training) I smelled no gas and was told to report any smells.

              Is a slight gas smell at the Pinnacle station normal/safe? I'm a newbie...


              • #8
                Re: SJ Airport Pumps Down

                This is the station I use and haven't noticed anything unusual...


                • #9
                  Re: SJ Airport Pumps Down

                  Station at San Jose international airport still exists and thrives today (as a Trillium station). No smell of natural gas.
                  Last edited by GX-SV; 08-26-2014, 05:45 PM. Reason: Trillium
                  Sold GX