Pennsylvania Refuse Fleet Transitions to CNG

| USA, Lancaster PA

LCSWMA CNG TruckDuring a ceremony that included over 100 attendees from throughout the region, the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) in the U.S. State of Pennsylvania held a dedication and grand opening of its $4.8 million compressed natural gas (CNG) project.  The project includes 14 new Peterbilt transfer trucks with Cummins-Westport ISX 12L CNG engines, costing around $2.2 million total.  LCSWMA purchased the fleet in 2013 and transitioned them into operation last month.

“This is a significant day for LCSWMA and Lancaster County,” says Jim Warner, the Authority’s chief executive officer.  “We’re bringing a cleaner technology to our community and making the way for a future that’s more environmentally friendly and economically sound.”

The trucks transfer waste from LCSWMA’s Transfer Station in Lancaster to its waste-to-energy facilities in Bainbridge and Harrisburg, as well as to its landfill in Conestoga.  Previously, LCSWMA used diesel-powered trucks that consumed an average of 140,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

To help offset the incremental difference (37%) of purchasing the CNG trucks versus diesel trucks, LCSWMA received a $350,000 grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA-DEP), as part of their Pennsylvania Natural Gas Energy Development Program.

Converting its fleet also required LCSMWA to install CNG fueling infrastructure at its Transfer Station Complex.  While LCSWMA will utilize a time-fill (overnight) fueling system with 16 pumps for its fleet, this project also includes a fast-fill fueling system with four pumps for waste haulers and other select fleets.  Total cost for construction of the dual-station CNG fueling infrastructure was about $2.6 million.  This is the first system of its kind in Lancaster County.

LCSWMA contracted with Newport Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels to design and construct the CNG fueling stations, as well as provide multi-year operations and maintenance services for the system.

“LCSWMA’s forward-looking leadership is extending the cost and environmental benefits of CNG to both the refuse vehicles and heavy-duty trucks in their fleet,” said Ray Burke, vice president of Clean Energy.  “We look forward to supporting this fleet as it continues to serve the people of Lancaster County.”

LCSWMA CNG Ribbon CuttingWarner describes the thinking behind LCSWMA’s decision to explore CNG for its fleet and offer this technology to the larger community, “We take a progressive approach to managing waste and continue this mindset with our business planning by developing varied sources of revenue and providing alternative forms of energy to the community.”

So far, LCSWMA has agreements with Good’s Disposal, the City of Lancaster and PA-DEP, as well in discussions with Clean Energy, UGI and several other commercial fleets to use the CNG fast-fill station.  LCSWMA expects that number to steadily increase as more companies become aware of the centrality and convenience of the fast-fill CNG station, as well as the economic and environmental incentives to make the switch from diesel to natural gas.  Currently, LCSWMA’s price to customers for CNG is $2.23 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE), which is about 45% lower than the average diesel gallon price on the East Coast.

Not only is there a cost savings by switching from diesel to CNG powered vehicles, but the environmental benefits are significant as well.  LCSWMA’s CNG initiative is projected to reduce over 10 million pounds (or 4,500 metric tons) of air pollutants each year in Lancaster County.

“LCSWMA continues to demonstrate our commitment to improving the environment, while also offering our customers the opportunity to lessen their environmental impact as well,” says Warner. “Our CNG project accomplishes this, while also lowering our operational costs and contributing to the long-term stability of our Integrated System.”

LCSWMA hopes this project will inspire more businesses to make the switch to natural gas as a transportation fuel source, both for the economical and environmental benefits, but also because of the location and convenience of its new CNG fueling station.

(Source: Clean Energy Fuels)

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