Dane County Clears Snow with CNG Plow

| USA, Madison WI

Dane County CNG Snow PlowIn the U.S. State of Wisconsin, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi has unveiled the newest addition to the county’s growing fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles – a cutting-edge snow plow that runs exclusively on the cheaper, cleaner, fuel. Dane County is the first to pilot the new equipment in Wisconsin. The County Executive also detailed next steps the county will take to create a road map for conversion of its vehicle fleet to run on CNG by 2023.

The snow plow is built on a Kenworth  Model T-470 with a Cummins ISL-G engine rated at 300 Hp generating 860 Ft/Lb torque @ 1300 rpm and an Allison 3000 RDS 6 speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption is approximately 5 miles per Gasoline Gallon Equivalent (GGE), with onboard fuel capacity sufficient to deliver an estimated working range of 375 miles between fueling. All body assembly and engineering is done in-house by Dane county employees.

The average county plow consumes 2,400 gallons of diesel fuel per year. The renewable CNG the county generates from decaying garbage at its Rodefeld landfill costs the county the gasoline equivalent of $1.25 a gallon. With diesel prices topping off at nearly $4 a gallon locally, that amounts to over $6,000 in fuel savings per CNG plow per year.

“The county’s fleet of snow plows has gotten a real workout this winter and this new CNG technology holds great promise for reducing fuel and maintenance costs,” said Parisi. “By using more of the cheaper, cleaner, renewable CNG that we make right here in Dane County at our landfill we’re making an investment that makes sense for taxpayers and the environment.”

The 2014 county budget invested $2.3 million to acquire 13 new CNG vehicles to replace aging vehicles in the fleet, including 8 snow plows. The county currently has 30 CNG vehicles in its fleet.

The county’s switch to CNG has offset the use of approximately 25,000 gallons of diesel and gasoline, saving county taxpayers roughly $50,000 annually.  These savings continue to grow as more CNG vehicles are added to the county’s vehicle fleet.

Because CNG burns so cleanly, natural gas vehicles cost less to maintain as well.  CNG vehicles show significantly less engine wear, spark plugs last longer, and oil changes are needed less frequently.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CNG reduces carbon monoxide by 90 percent, ground-level ozone emissions by 75 percent, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25 percent.  It produces little or no fine particle pollution.

The Country is about to commission a strategic plan that will assess the possibility of converting the county’s entire fleet to CNG vehicles in the next 10 years, taking into consideration fueling station infrastructure; vehicle and equipment maintenance; staff training; and other costs.  The CNG expansion plan is anticipated in August.

(Source: County of Dane)

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