Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

Va. City to Open $1.4M Fast-Fill CNG Station

November 17, 2015, by Thi Dao

The City of Chesapeake has 35 CNG refuse trucks. Photo courtesy of City of Chesapeake.
The City of Chesapeake has 35 CNG refuse trucks. Photo courtesy of City of Chesapeake.

The City of Chesapeake, Va., has contracted with Clean Energy to design, build, and operate a public-access compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station that will also be used by the city fleet. This will replace a slow-fill station and allow the city to expand its CNG fleet, said George Hrichak, CEM, CPFP, fleet manager for the city.

The city used a Commonwealth of Virginia PPEA (Public-Private Education and Infrastructure Act of 2002) contract for the station, which costs $1.4 million. The station will have two dispensers and four hoses, with room for expansion. Clean Energy will provide maintenance and charge a 32-cent markup per gallon for city fleet vehicles. The company will determine retail costs for other customers. Hrichak said private fleets in the area, including refuse fleets, have CNG trucks and expect to use the station. He hopes to have the station up and running in six months.

The city already has 35 CNG refuse trucks and is replacing five to six of its diesel refuse trucks with CNG ones each year until the entire 53-vehicle refuse fleet runs on CNG.

The city’s current slow-fill station wasn’t designed for the increasing size of the CNG fleet, Hrichak said. The new station will allow the city to also convert smaller trucks to run on CNG.

Chesapeake has seen significant fuel cost savings in the past few years by using CNG refuse trucks. Between Jan. 1, 2012 and Sept. 30, 2015, the city has saved on average $27,000 in fuel costs per CNG refuse truck in comparison to a similar diesel truck. Even though fuel costs savings has decreased as diesel and gasoline prices have come down, the city is still committing to natural gas.

“Now with our slow fill station, we are paying — for the gas and electricity — 72 cents per gallon, so it’s less than diesel. Add 32 cents [in markup costs] to that, our savings aren’t going to be as much, but we’ll have a more reliable station, and the important thing is it will be open to the public,” Hrichak said. The city now pays $1.41 per gallon of diesel.

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