The Lancaster County (Pa.) Solid Waste Management Authority has invested $4.8 million to purchase compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks and construct a CNG fueling station.
The authority, which held a dedication ceremony for the fueling station on May 22, added 14 new Peterbilt transfer trucks with Cummins-Westport ISX 12L CNG engines at a cost of $2.2 million.
The agency purchased the fleet in 2013 and transitioned them into operation last month. The trucks transfer waste from the agency's transfer station in Lancaster to its other facilities and landfills in nearby cities. Previously, the authority used diesel-powered trucks that consumed an average of 140,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.
To help offset the increased cost (37% higher) of purchasing the CNG trucks versus diesel trucks, the agency received a $350,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA-DEP) as part of its Pennsylvania Natural Gas Energy Development Program.
Converting its fleet also required the authority to install a CNG fueling facility. While the agency will utilize an overnight fueling system with 16 pumps, the station 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.
The authority contracted with Newport Beach, Calif.,-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.
So far, the agency signed agreements with Good's Disposal, the City of Lancaster, and PA-DEP to use the CNG fast-fill station. The agency expects use of the station 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, the authority'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. The agency's CNG initiative is projected to reduce over 10 million pounds (or 4,500 metric tons) of air pollutants each year in Lancaster County.