A former Exxon station in Station Square is becoming the city's second compressed natural gas station with the help of state funding announced this week.
The station, located near the T station at the edge of the Smithfield Street Bridge, is currently under construction. It will be owned by Desdemona Holdings LP and operate under the American Natural Retail brand.
Desdemona Holdings received a $372,300 grant and $248,200 loan to help complete the project. Desdemona is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cleopatra Resources LLC, a New York-based energy company with local offices near Homestead.
A timetable for completion was not given.
The state funding is part of a larger government effort to accelerate the use of compressed natural gas, or CNG. Supply of the alternative fuel has skyrocketed with development of Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale natural gas formation, but the market for CNG-fueled cars and the infrastructure needed to support them has lagged.
Statewide, more than $9.6 million was awarded to 13 energy-efficiency projects across 11 counties in this round. The award recipients include private companies installing new power systems and a high school seeking a LEED certification for energy efficiency.
The money was awarded by the state's Commonwealth Financing Authority through the Alternative and Clean Energy Program.
The station at Station Square will be the second CNG service within Pittsburgh city limits. The other, operated by Downtown-based driller EQT Corp. in the Strip District, opened in July 2011 and announced in March that it was adding more fueling pumps to the site due to customer demand.
CNG customers have typically been large fleet operators that can convert trucks or buses to run on the cheaper fuel. Local companies such as grocer Giant Eagle and city organizations such as the Port Authority have started to incorporate CNG vehicles into their fleets.
The American Natural Retail site at Station Square will cater to public transportation vehicles and local taxis, and expects a minimum of 20 high-mileage vehicles to frequent the station. CNG has recently cost less than $2 per equivalent gallon of regular gasoline.
In Beaver County, the Beemac Trucking LLC company received a $469,292 grant to help construct a CNG fueling station to be used by the public and the firm's tractor-trailer fleet. Beemac recently added 20 CNG tractor-trailers to its fleet, which the company said will avoid the consumption of about 254,800 gallons of diesel fuel annually.