Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

Calif. County Moves to CNG

October 01, 2014

File photo
File photo

Sacramento County, Calif., has begun switching to compressed natural gas (CNG) from liquified natural gas (LNG) for its fleet by awarding a contract to TruStar Energy for fueling infrastructure.

TruStar Energy, which bid $1.87 million, plans to break ground in the fourth quarter. The station should be operational by the end of March 2015. CNG provides economic benefits that make the switch a prudent decision, said Chris Celsi, the county’s waste management and recycling superintendent.

“We have two yards that we operate out of but only one LNG station, which forces us to fuel a large bulk tanker that we affectionately call ‘Orca,’ which then transports LNG to our second location, where our drivers will then line up to fuel,” said Celsi. “One of the big issues is we’re then paying our drivers to wait up to 45 minutes for their turn to fuel their vehicle. With the CNG station, our drivers simply plug their trucks in and walk away.”

The combination time-fill and fast-fill station will be used primarily to provide fuel for the refuse fleet, but will also have a fast-fill dispenser to allow other county vehicles to fuel up. The station will be configured to time-fill 40 vehicles simultaneously at night, when electrical power needed to run the compressors is at its cheapest.

Celsi said that the county doesn’t currently have a lot of CNG-powered fleet vehicles, but now that a CNG fueling station is imminent, it will be aggressively seeking new CNG-powered vehicles. Sacramento County has been using LNG since 2004.

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