Pierce Transit, operating public transportation in the US State of Washington, received Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval for fueling its bus fleet with Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) in June this year. The EPA approval means that about 143 of Pierce Transit’s 155 buses are now running on RNG made from the biogases (biomethane) of the Cedar Hills Landfill in nearby King County.
According to Western Washington Clean Cities Coalition, Pierce Transit is believed to be the first transit agency in the nation to adopt environment-friendly RNG fuel for public transportation purposes. “Renewable natural gas is among the most climate-friendly fuels on the market today,” said Scott DeWees, Project Manager. “By using this locally-produced, waste-derived fuel, Pierce Transit will reduce the carbon emissions of its fleet by 80 percent – while also investing in our regional economy. We applaud their leadership and innovation.”
Pierce Transit’s recent move from Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to RNG was supported by Cost Management Services, Inc.(CMS), the Agency’s natural gas marketer since 2000. The Mercer Island-based company arranges the purchases and delivery of Pierce Transit’s natural gas, including its supply of biogas from the Cedar Hills Landfill.
The rate per therm for natural gas has been relatively stable for Pierce Transit, a significant benefit during an era of fluctuating diesel prices. The Agency spends about $.70 per gallon equivalent on average for RNG, which is the same rate for CNG. The current contract with CMS commits the Agency to using 5,000 therms of RNG per day, however, Senior Manager of Maintenance Bill Spies reports that Pierce Transit is currently using about 6,000 therms per day and is likely to use more as service hours increase.
“While the financial benefits of using natural gas for fuel are significant, and the rebates for RNG are an added bonus, the move from CNG to RNG is just the natural next step for Pierce Transit,” says CEO Lynne Griffith.
(Source: Pierce Transit)