Clean Energy Fuels Corp. will this week open the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) compressed natural gas (CNG) station to serve the first transit agency in Florida expected to transition its entire fleet to cleaner-burning natural gas. This fueling station will be equipped with four fast-fill CNG dispensers to fuel buses, vans and other fleet vehicles. The project includes capacity to add additional compressors as the HART fleet gradually transitions its entire fleet to CNG buses.
HART awarded Clean Energy the contract to design, build, operate and maintain the new CNG fueling station to support their investment in a cleaner and more cost-effective bus fleet. The project entailed the construction of a CNG fueling station plus modification of existing maintenance facilities and fuel lanes. The modifications were engineered and implemented by Clean Energy’s Facility Modification Services team.
“We expect our new natural gas vehicles to allow people to continue to commute in comfort and at the same time improve our air quality,” said Katharine Eagan, HART interim chief executive officer. “Natural gas is available domestically and at this time, costs approximately 20 to 25 percent less than diesel. Clean Energy has been a terrific partner with extensive expertise to help us realize a successful transition.”
Over the coming weeks, HART plans to deploy 28 new CNG vans to replace its diesel-powered models. Early next year, HART expects to put 22 new CNG buses in service as its diesel buses are retired from service. By the end of 2015, HART expects a total of 59 CNG vehicles to be in service.
Clean Energy expects this growing fleet to consume approximately 230,000 DGEs of CNG in year-one of operation and approximately 725,000 DGEs annually by 2018. Once fully-deployed, the fleet is forecasted to reduce HART’s greenhouse gas emissions by 1,738 metric tons per year, the equivalent of removing 360 passenger cars from the road annually. In addition to the new HART facility, Clean Energy also operates a public CNG station at the Tampa International Airport supporting the region’s growing number of NGV fleets.
“HART has shown incredible leadership in Florida in its transition to natural gas. We’re privileged to support them in their effort to provide a cleaner ride to their 14.6 million annual riders,” said Mark Riley, regional vice president, Clean Energy. “In addition to our CNG fueling station services, our new Facility Modification Services team made the necessary modifications to HART’s existing facilities so their transition to CNG could be as seamless as possible.”
According to a HART press release, the total investment of approximately $5.5 million came from a combination of $2,920,000 in federal and $2,580,000 in local matching funds.
Natural gas fuel costs up to $1.50 less per gallon than gasoline or diesel, depending on local market conditions. The use of natural gas fuel not only reduces operating costs for vehicles, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 30% in light-duty vehicles and 23% in medium to heavy-duty vehicles. In addition, nearly all natural gas consumed in North America is produced domestically.(Source: Clean Energy)