Bend, Oregon-Based Onboard Dynamics & Deschutes County Partner for Natural Gas Refueling Technology


(Photo above: Onboard Dynamics CEO Rita Hansen and Vice President Jeff Witwer stand in front of their exhibit at the White House)

Deschutes County takes delivery of first self-refueling Compressed Natural Gas powered vehicle and will host an open house to allow the public to learn about the vehicle and the technology.

Onboard Dynamics, Inc. (ObDI) and Deschutes County have entered into a partnership in which ObDI has installed an innovative natural gas refueling system in a new Ford F-250 fleet vehicle for the Deschutes County Road Department.

The system installed by ObDI will enable the new Ford F-250 pickup truck to run on and refuel with natural gas, without the use of an external CNG (compressed natural gas) station. This pilot project is part of ObDI’s efforts to bring natural gas refueling solutions to market, while providing capability to analyze “on-the-road” performance of the technology.

Deschutes County Commissioners Alan Unger, Tammy Baney and Anthony DeBone, along with Director of Public Works Chris Doty are enthusiastic supporters of ObDI’s partnership with the County. “Deschutes County is pleased to pilot Onboard Dynamics’ technology in our Road Department fleet. ObDI’s system will enable the newest Deschutes County truck to refuel with clean, domestic natural gas,” stated Commissioner DeBone.

Deschutes County takes delivery of the CNG-enabled Ford F-250 truck on Thursday, September 3. The truck will be the first self-refueling, compressed natural gas powered vehicle for the Deschutes County fleet.

The Deschutes County Road Department will host an Open House event on Thursday, September 3 from 10-11am to allow the public to learn about the vehicle and the technology employed in this pilot project. The Road Department is located at 61150 SE 27th Street (immediately south of the Humane Society).

Onboard Dynamics Goes to Washington
At 6pm on July 24, Rita Hansen received a phone call and an invitation to a party. Unlike most invites, this one was from a policy advisor in the White House’s Office of Science & Technology and the party was the inaugural White House Demo Day.

Hansen’s Bend-based company Onboard Dynamics was chosen to be one of 32 companies to showcase their innovative alternative refueling technology for President Obama and 250 select private investors.

“It provided us with the opportunity to tell our story on a national platform,” explains Hansen. “It’s a huge honor for us, as we were only one of 32 companies.”

Founded in 2013, Onboard Dynamics uses natural gas compression technology developed by and licensed from Oregon State University. Their bolt-on product allows drivers to refuel from any low pressure natural gas supply line by integrating natural gas compression into cars and trucks.

Of the companies invited, three were from Oregon including BikeTrak LLC from Portland and Rogue Rovers LLC from Ashland. The businesses were mostly centered around bio-tech, medical and energy focuses. Onboard Dynamics was the only Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy funded company. ARPA-E is a government funded program aimed at, “high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment.”

The White House Demo day has been in the works for five years and the President was excited to finally bring it to fruition. In his remarks, President Obama stressed the importance of recognizing innovation as it fuels job growth.

“The president was trying to drive home the message that we need to encourage more infrastructure and tools to encourage more startups,” says Hansen.

CEO Hansen, along with Vice President Jeff Witwer set up a presentation in the diplomatic reception room for investors, strategic marketers and other visiting entrepreneurs. Midway through the event, Hansen was asked to be one of twenty to stand with Obama as he delivered his remarks.

Onboard Dynamics will have another opportunity to showcase their innovation next month at the joint NGV America and ARPA-E conference in Denver, Colorado. Then, in February 2016 they will be at ARPA-E’s Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C.

Closer to home, Onboard Dynamics is preparing to deliver the first self-refueling cng-powered vehicle to Deschutes County in early September. The delivery is a major step towards fulfilling milestones set forth by ARPA-E and reaching their goal of getting their first product to market designed and built by mid-2016.

Onboard Dynamics
CEO: Rita Hansen
No. Employees: 20
Year Established: 2013
Product/Service: Natural gas compression technology used to convert gasoline automobile engines into natural gas powered.
Hot News: Onboard Dynamics recently returned home from Washington D.C., where they showcased their product in front of President Obama and a select group of investors.
Outlook for Growth: Onboard Dynamics is set to deliver their first product to Deschutes County in September. Their technology is reaching government milestones on their way to changing how we fuel automobiles.


About Author

Bend-based freelance writer Gregg Morris honed his wit in suburban Michigan and his gift for the written word at Michigan State University. When not writing, Gregg can be found riding his bike, earning his turns, or playing guitar alongside his wife and daughter.

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