Alliance AutoGas (AAG), an alternative fuel company based in Asheville, NC, has received their second patent for their refueling innovation of liquefied petroleum (LP) gas in a vehicle tank. Alliance Autogas was founded in 2010 by Blossman Gas, which is comprised of over 70 locations and two headquarters, one in Swannanoa, NC and the other in Ocean Springs, MS. As more and more commercial fleets across the U.S., including school districts, are turning to propane autogas as the alternative fuel of choice, Alliance AutoGas saw the need for increased efficiency and safety while servicing these vehicles.
This type of innovation will allow autogas vehicles to refuel themselves without autogas specialized infrastructure. Utilizing a vehicle’s in-tank fuel pump, control valves pull fuel from the remote fuel valve rather than inside the tank. The pump then pushes fuel outside the tank, towards the engine, where it is diverted and redirected back in the storage tank through an OPD valve. This allows the in-tank fuel pump to move liquid propane from an external tank to itself instead of requiring an external dispensing pump. This type of innovation will allow autogas refueling with a residential tank at a residence with just a hose connection.
Fleets are choosing autogas over traditional gasoline and diesel for a variety of reasons, including cost efficiency, environmental benefits, and the desire to use a domestic fuel. Propane autogas engines significantly reduce engine CO2 and NOX emissions, particulate matter, and Black Carbon, which dramatically improves air quality in local communities. While propane autogas is a clean burning fuel, normally requiring less engine maintenance than its gasoline and diesel counterparts, autogas vehicles will still require occasional fuel system repair. This is where Alliance found the need for a better way to service these vehicles.
Jessie Johnson, retired in 2017 as Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Blossman Gas after 46 years in the industry, and David Kennedy, Director of Autogas Design at Alliance AutoGas, are the inventors of the patent. “Throughout my time at Blossman Gas and Alliance AutoGas, I always enjoyed being a part of the groundbreaking innovation that we worked towards,” says Johnson. “David Kennedy and I, along with everyone else involved with the company, is pursuing technology that will enable the growth of the autogas industry and bring it closer to residential opportunity.”