What Does a Natural Gas Engine Technician Do?
July 31, 2019
Naturalgas engines achieve the lowest smog-forming emissions,maintaining these low levels during all types of driving, accordingto a study conducted and published in 2018 by the University ofCalifornia, Riverside College of Engineering Center for EnvironmentalResearch and Technology (CE-CERT) and Southern California Gas Co.(SoCal Gas). This study was conducted on a new 11.9-liter natural gasheavy-duty engine.
Growing Demand forNatural Gas Engine Technicians
Theresults from the abovementioned study highlight the importance oftrucks with natural gas engines for maintaining air quality. Thiscomes amid growing concerns over rising air pollution and globalwarming and their resultant adverse implications for human health andthe environment.
Airpollution has been identified as the cause of around 7 million deathsglobally per year, accordingto the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, climate change andrising sea levels have been grabbing the headlines over the past fewyears.
Asthese health and environmental concerns grow, logistics companieswill feel the pressure to include more trucks with natural gasengines in their fleet. However, natural gas engines are unique andhave different operating characteristics and lubrication requirementsthan diesel engines. Therefore, as companies replace their fleet withnatural gas vehicles, they will require trained technicians fornatural gas engine maintenance and repair.
Moreover,natural gas engines require more frequent maintenance. This isbecause:
Their oil change intervals are shorter than their diesel counterparts
They require periodic valve adjustments
They need period spark plug replacement
Why are Logistics Companies Turning towardsNatural Gas Engines?
Amajority of the heavy-duty vehicles in use today are diesel-powered.These vehicles are among the main sources of nitrogen oxide (NOx)emissions.
Theprimary reasons for an increasing number of logistics companiesturning towards natural gas engines are:
A corporate mandate for sustaining the environment
Volatile diesel prices
Natural gas is likely to be cheaper than diesel for the foreseeable future
Complex maintenance of emissions-control systems in diesel engines (natural gas engines do not require a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emissions-control system)
Cost of diesel exhaust fluid
The high cost of maintenance and repair of SCR emissions-control systems
Which Big Corporate Names are moving towardsNatural Gas Engines?
UPSInc. is an early adopter of natural gas engines. In June 2018, theAtlanta-headquartered, multinational package delivery, and supplychain management giant announced an additional investment of $130million in natural gas vehicles. This brings the total investment byUPS in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fuelingstations to $1 billion between 2008 and 2018.
Thebiggest names running fleets with natural gas engine vehicles are:
How toBecome a Natural Gas Engine Technician?
Whilethe prospects of natural gas engine technicians are very bright,employers prefer candidates with formal training. So, you need aprogram that gives you thorough training. Also, industrycertification is very important.
How to Improve Prospects as a Natural GasEngine Technician?
Althoughcompanies are increasing the number of natural gas vehicles, theirfleets are predominantly diesel-powered. So, to improve yourprospects, it’s a great idea to identify a training program indiesel engine maintenance and repair, which includes a module focusedon natural gas engines.
Theprogram should teach you to:
Install ignition systems
Lubricate moving parts
Replace pistons and bearings
Replace gears and valves
Replace steering and suspension components
Replace transmissions and parts
Theprogram should offer students the opportunity to work on largeengines fueled by diesel and natural gas. Hands-on experience inlarge engine repair and maintenance will give you an edge over othertechnicians.
Interestedin learning more about two-year programs offered at Lurleen B.Wallace Community College? Contactour Admissions office today!