The opening of a new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, is another step in the building of 29 CNG stations across the State that will eventually fuel up to 1600 CNG buses. It is part of a public private partnership (P3) project commenced in 2016 with the support of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Trillium CNG.
CNG or Compressed Natural Gas is a readily available alternative to gasoline that’s made by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. Consisting mostly of methane, CNG is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It’s drawn from drilled natural gas wells and is an abundant American Made energy source.
CNG is also an affordable alternative when compared to gasoline or diesel fuel. CNG can cut fuel costs by about 50% and lower vehicle maintenance costs.
In addition to being an abundant and lower cost fuel, CNG is also environmentally friendly and produces up to 29% less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline & diesel vehicles.
Lebanon Transit will be fueling the new buses at its own CNG station, formally opened on January 22 by Governor Tom Wolf. “This innovative program is helping transit agencies save on fuel costs while allowing them to move to a cleaner burning fuel,” Governor Wolf said. “These are important steps to helping us improve the quality of life across Pennsylvania.”
Through the $84.5 million statewide P3 project, Trillium is designing, building, financing, and will operate and maintain CNG fueling stations at 29 public transit agency sites through a 20-year P3 agreement. Other stations will be constructed over the next several years, and Trillium is also making CNG-related upgrades to existing transit maintenance facilities.
“Pennsylvania is now a leading producer of natural gas, and this initiative aims to take advantage of that new, cleaner burning fuel source,” said PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Jennie Granger. “PennDOT is excited to partner on this program that will bring benefits for the state, transit agencies, and the public for years to come.”
Under the program, Lebanon Transit will convert eight buses to CNG. The authority estimates saving roughly $50,000 annually based on current diesel costs and their diesel usage of roughly 35,000 gallons per year.
PennDOT’s overall P3 project includes CNG fueling accessible to the public at six transit agency sites, with the option to add to sites in the future. PennDOT will receive a 15 percent royalty, excluding taxes, for each gallon of fuel sold to the public at public sites, which will be used to support the cost of the project.
Using the P3 procurement mechanism allows PennDOT to install the fueling stations faster than if a traditional procurement mechanism were used for each site, resulting in significant estimated capital cost savings of more than $46 million. To date, 14 CNG stations have been opened.