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Palm desert celebrates debut of nation’s first cng-powered ambulance

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  • Palm desert celebrates debut of nation’s first cng-powered ambulance

    PALM DESERT (January 20, 2010) – The City of Palm Desert will celebrate the unveiling of the community’s new compressed natural gas-powered ambulance and medic unit, the first of its kind in the United States, on Friday, January 22, at 11 a.m. at Palm Desert Fire Station 33, 44-400 Town Center Way.

    The unveiling ceremony will feature comments from Mayor Cindy Finerty and other members of the Palm Desert City Council and from representatives from the Palm Desert Fire Department, Riverside County Fire Department/CAL FIRE.

    The debut of this groundbreaking alternative fuel ambulance marks a historic moment for the Coachella Valley and the nation and continues Palm Desert’s tradition of innovation and leadership in the areas of energy independence and environmental responsibility.

    Confronted with the need to replace an aging diesel ambulance and medic unit in February 2009, the Palm Desert City Council directed staff to explore the possibility of purchasing an ambulance powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), a fuel that burns much cleaner than gasoline or diesel and that has the added benefit of being domestically produced.

    Because CNG-powered ambulances did not exist in the United States, City staff investigated whether one could be built. A committee comprised of City representatives, industry experts, and officials from the Riverside County Fire Department/CAL FIRE officials studied the options and decided that the most efficient and economically beneficial approach to create a CNG unit would be to modify existing ambulance components.

    The City purchased a Frazer Type III 14-foot patient compartment and a 2009 Ford E450 6.8L gasoline chassis. Combining these elements and changing them to allow the installation of a CNG engine and fuel storage tanks required innovative design and engineering work by Frazer Ambulance, which built the approximately $186,000 vehicle over a six-month period at the company’s headquarters in Houston, Texas. In December, the ambulance was delivered to Palm Desert, where final changes, including Palm Desert Fire Department markings, were applied.

    The unit will be based at Fire Station 71, located at Portola Avenue and Country Club Drive, where it is scheduled to start responding to calls. Station 71 was selected because of its very high call volume, with an average of 200 ambulance calls per month.

    The ambulance was purchased using money from City funds dedicated for firefighting and public safety. City staff has applied for federal grants to defray its cost. For more information, please call 760-346-0611, ext. 336.

  • #2
    Re: Palm desert celebrates debut of nation’s first cng-powered ambulance

    So is it now dedicated-CNG? I have already seen very few CNG-powered ambulances, but since underfloor CNG storage was forbidden where I live until a few years ago it's not so common. And top-mounted CNG storage is allowed only for urban buses (also would be too much dangerous in an ambulance).

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    • #3
      Re: Palm desert celebrates debut of nation’s first cng-powered ambulance

      I have to go down and take some pictures and post them.

      It is not suprising. the Coachella Valley has been a leader in CNG for around 20 years. Sunline Transit made the decision to go with CNG buses and partnered with College of the Desert to put the plan into operation. It was successful, it fact they have replaced the original buses since they exceeded their useful expected life. Sunline has also been involved in Hydrogen fuel cells and their testing. They have worked with hythane (H2/CNG mix) as well as internal combustion hydrogen.

      The Coachella Valley has also run CNG taxi cabs, mail vehicle, and many other applications.

      Look like the Coachella Valley is still at it.

      Larrycng

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      • #4
        Re: Palm desert celebrates debut of nation’s first cng-powered ambulance

        Palm Desert has been a true pioneer in the field. I am glad to see they have not backed down.

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        • #5
          Re: Palm desert celebrates debut of nation’s first cng-powered ambulance

          Hythane is cool...

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          • #6
            Re: Palm desert celebrates debut of nation’s first cng-powered ambulance

            I am not so sure that cng is a wise fuel for fire fighting and ambulances as in the event of war or other bad things that may go on for a long time a diesel is very forgiving what you pour in it coal oil hydralic oil vegie oil even motor oil close to multi fuel and gasoline is not as good but can still be carryed in a bucket finding a compresser and power to run it and gas to compress all in the same place could be a problem as power and pipelines could be down

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            • #7
              Re: Palm desert celebrates debut of nation’s first cng-powered ambulance

              You have a valid point Cowboy, however, I think it is also time to expand the infrastructure. Each fire station could be equipped with a compressor and cascade to handle on-site fueling. Yes it would cost some bucks, but, I, think it would increase reliability especially if the vehicles were bi-fuel to start with or even dual fuel during a "transition period". How often does the natrual gas supply fail? Each station is also equipped with a gen set which could run a compressor and it could also be bi or dual fuel. And remember gaseous fuel doesn't go bad. And there is still propane.

              Larrycng

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              • #8
                Re: Palm desert celebrates debut of nation’s first cng-powered ambulance

                Originally posted by cowboy View Post
                I am not so sure that cng is a wise fuel for fire fighting and ambulances as in the event of war or other bad things that may go on for a long time a diesel is very forgiving what you pour in it coal oil hydralic oil vegie oil even motor oil close to multi fuel and gasoline is not as good but can still be carryed in a bucket finding a compresser and power to run it and gas to compress all in the same place could be a problem as power and pipelines could be down
                I agree with you about the military but for firefighting and ambulance in urban areas it's not exactly the worst idea to use CNG. In some countries such as India there is already a lot of dedicated-CNG ambulances, mostly factory-fitted.

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                • #9
                  Re: Palm desert celebrates debut of nation’s first cng-powered ambulance

                  the way things are going a urban area could become a war zone at anytime whitey blacky poor rich muslem christien and many other reasons just my thoughts

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                  • #10
                    Re: Palm desert celebrates debut of nation’s first cng-powered ambulance

                    Originally posted by cowboy View Post
                    the way things are going a urban area could become a war zone at anytime whitey blacky poor rich muslem christien and many other reasons just my thoughts
                    I understand your worry, but still don't share your point of view. But a faster refuelling would be desirable.

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