The city of Portage is transitioning its fleet of refuse trucks to compressed natural gas (CNG). Thanks to a grant from the Indiana Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund, the city recently acquired seven CNG trucks.
To further support the transition to CNG trucks, an additional $4.55 million was allocated through the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, according to a city council meeting. This funding enables the purchase of approximately four new CNG trucks in the coming year and the establishment of a CNG station later on. The allocation follows an 80/20 matching scheme.
Grants for Fueling Stations and Further Development
The CNG refuse trucks are already in service, with the sanitation department finalizing the process of receiving about $550,000 from the Volkswagen grants. The fleet has received two rear loaders, one mini rear loader, two grapple trucks, and two automation trucks.
A breakdown of the funds being spent includes: In 2024, roughly $1.3 million will be available for about four CNG trucks; in 2025 the CNG station will be built, estimated at about $770,000. About $180,000 is set for 2026 and in the year 2028 the remainder of the $2.2 million to be spent on CNG equipment for the city.
"That's a great revenue fund there that we've taken advantage of," Street Superintendent Randy Reeder said during the meeting.
How Do Compressed Natural Gas Class 8 Trucks Work?
Heavy-duty vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) operate in a manner similar to gasoline-powered vehicles equipped with internal combustion engines, according to The U.S. Department of Transportation. While many of these vehicles utilize spark-ignited natural gas systems, some employ compression injection systems resembling those found in diesel engines. In a spark-ignited system, the engine functions similarly to a gasoline engine.
To store natural gas, multiple fuel tanks or cylinders are typically located behind the cab of the vehicle. The CNG fuel system facilitates the transfer of high-pressure gas from the fuel tank through the fuel lines. A pressure regulator is employed to reduce the pressure to a level suitable for the engine's fuel injection system. Ultimately, the fuel is introduced into the intake manifold or combustion chamber, where it combines with air. Subsequently, it undergoes compression and ignition, facilitated by a spark plug.