San Antonio Opens CNG Fueling Station for Garbage Trucks

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, January 15, 2009 (ENS) – Garbage trucks on the streets of San Antonio are moving away from the puffs of black diesel smoke often spewed into the air by old-fashioned trucks. The city is on the road to fueling an increasing number of its refuse trucks with cleaner burning natural gas.

The City of San Antonio and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. co-hosted ceremonies on Wednesday to dedicate a new compressed natural gas station that will fuel the city’s expanding fleet of natural gas powered garbage trucks.

The city contracted with Clean Energy to design and construct the new CNG refuse truck fuel station, located at the Northeast Service Center on Toolyard Road in San Antonio. Clean Energy holds a five-year operation and maintenance contract for the fueling station, with a five-year option.

Guest speakers at the dedication ceremony included Clean Energy co-founder and board member T. Boone Pickens, San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger; City Manager Sheryl Sculley; and City Director of Environmental Services David McCary.

Pickens said, “A growing number of local governments are recognizing the important role they play to help reduce our foreign oil dependency through greater use of domestic resources such as natural gas. I certainly applaud San Antonio’s leadership in that regard. This will lead to significant economic and environmental benefits long term that cannot be underestimated.”

By March, San Antonio will operate a fleet of 30 CNG-powered refuse trucks, making the city’s CNG refuse fleet the largest in Texas.

The CNG powered trucks will be used to collect solid waste and recycling from about 75,000 homes primarily in the northeast service area.

The city has an option to purchase 60 more CNG refuse trucks in FY 2009 and could potentially construct two more CNG refueling stations at two additional city maintenance facilities.

San Antonio utilized federal and state funding opportunities to assist with the fueling station and vehicle cost. The city was able take advantage of the federal alternative vehicle credits by instructing refuse truck dealers to pass along the tax credit savings to the city in their truck price bids.

A grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality helped to offset station construction costs.

Natural gas used in garbage trucks releases up to 90 percent less air pollution than conventional diesel fuel, according a report by the New York-based nonprofit group Inform.

Diesel engines emit large amounts of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and air toxics, which contribute to serious public health problems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Of the 179,000 waste collection, waste transfer, and recycling vehicles on U.S. roads today – 91 percent of them diesel-fueled and most of them are old, Inform reports.

Two-thirds of the estimated 700 natural gas garbage trucks in operation in the United States operate on liquid natural gas, while the rest use compressed natural gas.

The U.S. natural gas fueled garbage truck fleet is growing. Andrew Littlefair, Clean Energy President and CEO said last year, “Less than 18 months ago, only California had refuse operators using natural gas fuel. Today, industry acceptance of natural gas fueled trucks is becoming enthusiastic and widespread.”

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