The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), has included three Compressed Natural Gas high achievers amongst the winners of the 2017 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards. These three have separately focused on public access CNG refuelling stations, CNG-powered airport shuttle buses, and advancement of alternative fuels.
“As May is Clean Air Month, this is a fitting time to recognize achievements in sustainable transportation and the positive affects this industry can have on the environment,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Since 2000, during a period of historic growth for Tennessee, pollutants have decreased and our air has become cleaner. Currently, the entire state is designated attainment for the federal ozone standard.”
The Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards recognize outstanding initiatives to improve the efficiency, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability of transportation systems in the state. A panel of judges selected the following entities as 2017 winners of the Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards:
Memphis Light, Gas and Water: Public Access CNG Refueling Stations
In 2013, Memphis Light, Gas, and Water (MLGW) invested over $500,000 to convert its privately owned compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling station to the area’s first public-access CNG refueling station, enabling all businesses and residents of Memphis and Shelby County to convert from gasoline and diesel to cleaner, domestically produced natural gas. The following year, a second public refueling CNG station was built. The stations are close to high traffic industry access ways, to attract heavy-duty trucks from both local and interstate roadways. Drivers can also conveniently refuel 24 hours a day.
In 2016, MLGW began purchasing 100% renewable natural gas from Clean Energy Renewable Fuels (CERF); CERF collects, cleans, and compresses the gas that is produced by the North Shelby landfill, and MLGW brings that gas to market through their natural gas distribution system. The partnership is an acknowledgment of the growing potential of biomethane as a renewable, low-emission fuel.
To date, over 10% of MLGW’s fleet is powered by alternative fuels, saving nearly 53,000 gallons of gasoline/diesel annually. Total CNG usage and diesel displacement since the opening of the stations has reached over 700,000 diesel gallon equivalents (DGE).
Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority: Nashville Airport CNG Parking Shuttle Buses
In February 2017, the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) unveiled 20 new CNG shuttle buses to service parking lots at the Nashville International Airport (BNA). These 20 shuttles join eight new BNA Express Park CNG powered shuttles that were put into service in June 2016. Based on an annual estimated consumption of 300,000 gallons of diesel (338,248 gasoline gallon equivalent), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributed to the airport’s shuttle operations will be reduced by 14%. This is a well to wheel calculation and equates to an annual reduction of 587 tons of GHG emissions.
In April 2017, MNAA also opened an on-site CNG refueling station to support its CNG shuttle bus operations. MNAA plans to incrementally continue modernizing and converting its fleet annually. Information on MNAA’s CNG use will also be displayed on the airport’s “Green Screen,” an interactive kiosk inside the airport that educates customers on progress made on sustainable and green initiatives.
United Parcel Service, Inc.: UPS Rolling Laboratory
The United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) has been exploring alternatives to conventional petroleum fuels to power its ground fleet for a long time. The company, which has invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technologies since 2009, now operates one of the largest private alternative fuel and advanced technology fleets in the U.S.
Natural gas, in the form of both compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG), has become the foundational fuel of UPS’ alternative fuel vehicle fleet, based on its ability to meet the demands of the heavy-duty, over-the-road trucks that connect the company’s regional hubs. In 2016, UPS opened 11 new CNG refueling stations throughout the U.S.; with these new stations, UPS now owns and operates 44 CNG and LNG stations in 21 states.
In the State of Tennessee, UPS vehicles consumed over 7.5 million diesel gallon equivalents (DGE) of natural gas in 2016; over 2 million DGEs of this natural gas consumed was renewable natural gas (RNG) or biomethane, diverted from landfills.
In December 2015, UPS announced that it would supply its fleets in Memphis, Tennessee and Jackson, Mississippi with an estimated 15 million diesel gallon gas equivalents of RNG as part of a multi-year agreement with Memphis Light, Gas and Water and Atmos Energy Marketing, LLC. The deal will help the company to meet its goal of driving one billion miles with its alternative fuel vehicle fleet, known as the Rolling Laboratory, by the end of 2017, an effort that will reduce environmental impact and help to advance new sustainability solutions and markets.
(Source: Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation)