Upgrading Refuse Fleets to CNG: Three Considerations Beyond Economics - Fuel Smarts

Upgrading Refuse Fleets to CNG: Three Concerns Past Economics – Gas Smarts

Pure gasoline is a lighter-than-air gasoline which rises and dissipates when leaked, and amenities the place pure gasoline automobiles will probably be repaired should be able to functioning in a protected method.

Photograph: McNeilus

Refuse fleets are one of many quickest rising markets for compressed pure gasoline, primarily due to the numerous gasoline price financial savings that may be realized. The Pure Fuel Car Institute gives these key elements refuse fleets want to look at when contemplating upgrading to CNG.

Refuse fleet operators rigorously look at the economics of including pure gasoline automobiles to their fleet, taking into account the plain financial elements of gasoline price financial savings and automobile procurement prices.

In a fleet the place the price distinction between diesel and pure gasoline ranges from $2 to $3 per diesel gallon equal (DGE), automobiles that use roughly 10,000 gallons of gasoline per yr will save the refuse operator $20,000 to $30,000 per yr.

Multiply that financial savings instances the variety of automobiles within the fleet, and once more by the typical lifetime of a refuse automobile, which is 12 years, and the {dollars} begin to actually add up. Even when you think about the incremental price of a natural-gas-powered refuse truck (based on a report from the Division of Energey, the common incremental price per CNG automobile in a 2014 examine was $38,200), the economics can play out properly.

Nevertheless, the evaluation for doubtlessly upgrading a refuse fleet to CNG can’t finish with the economics. Listed below are three generally neglected issues.

The price of pure gasoline gasoline has stayed low – about $1.50 -$2.00 per diesel gallon equal cheaper than diesel – and comparatively steady. That is particularly helpful for fleets that run numerous miles (80,000-120,000 miles per yr is the candy spot).

 -  Photo: Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report

Photograph: Clear Cities Various Gas Value Report

Upkeep and Restore Facility Modifications

Nearly all present upkeep and restore amenities for refuse fleets had been initially designed for diesel (or gasoline) powered automobiles. These fuels are heavier-than-air and pool on the bottom when leaked. If these amenities are actually anticipated to additionally accommodate pure gasoline automobile restore, they should be evaluated and modified to satisfy the hearth, electrical, mechanical, constructing and different security codes for pure gasoline. Pure gasoline is a lighter-than-air gasoline which rises and dissipates when leaked, and amenities the place pure gasoline automobiles will probably be repaired should be able to functioning in a protected method.

In every facility, the constructing envelope, in addition to the air flow, lighting, heating, and electrical methods, should be evaluated together with any below-grade surfaces. As well as, features should be evaluated comparable to welding and sizzling work. Upkeep and restore facility evaluations must be carried out by a professional and skilled firm.

In any other case, the refuse fleet could wind up performing modifications which might be both insufficient to satisfy the codes, leading to disapproval by the authority having jurisdiction, or paying for modifications which might be considerably overdesigned and price greater than they need to.

For example, NGVi beforehand accomplished a facility analysis for a big main heavy-duty automobile supplier who had acquired an preliminary analysis and price estimate of $800,000 from an inexperienced supplier. When NGVi accomplished its analysis and made acceptable suggestions, the extra real looking price estimate was $490,000.

The efficient upkeep facility analysis will embody not solely a report of the advisable modifications to convey the constructing as much as code for NGVs, however a price estimate of the modifications to be carried out. Armed with this info, the refuse fleet may have a fuller understanding of the necessities to improve not solely the automobiles however the upkeep facility to CNG, and can be capable of plan and even analyze prices and payback extra precisely.

Compressed natural gas (CNG) relative to gasoline  -  Photo: Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report

Compressed pure gasoline (CNG) relative to gasoline

Photograph: Clear Cities Various Gas Value Report

Selecting the Finest Fueling Possibility

Some fleets attempt to make the choice to improve to CNG with out a clear understanding of what sort of fueling they want and what will probably be most helpful for them from each an working standpoint, in addition to an financial perspective. Working with an unbiased professional helps refuse fleets overview all of the fueling choices, look ahead to challenge each present and future wants, and arrive on the fueling answer that finest meets the fleet’s wants.

Refuse fleets have a number of choices when selecting tips on how to gasoline their automobiles. Whereas some select to gasoline their automobiles at public CNG stations, many refuse fleets select to function their very own time-fill fueling stations as a result of refuse fleets normally have perfect traits (parked in a single day at a central facility) for that sort of fueling. Different refuse fleets select fast-fill fueling stations that in addition they personal and function — and lots of refuse fleets have a mixture of each.

Time-fill fueling is considerably less expensive than fast-fill fueling as a result of the gasoline is supplied to the automobiles straight from the compressor(s), which normally are set to begin up and gasoline the automobiles in a single day. This implies there’s no want for extra pricey CNG storage, and it’s simpler to plan for and accommodate fleet enlargement.

Worker Improvement and Coaching

Maybe essentially the most incessantly neglected part of deciding to improve to CNG is assessing the worker growth and coaching wants earlier than the improve begins. In tandem, many firms acknowledge the necessity for technician coaching, however don’t instantly grasp the need to coach supervisors, operations personnel, security managers, threat managers, and others who will probably be concerned within the means of integrating CNG into the refuse fleet. Listed below are NGVi’s normal suggestions:

  • Each technician — no matter whether or not or not they are going to be repairing NGVs — ought to take fundamental NGV security coaching which covers the properties and traits of the gasoline, the elements of the CNG gasoline system and their serviceability, tips on how to gasoline and defuel a automobile, and the ideas for safely engaged on pure gasoline automobiles inside a upkeep facility.
  • Extra superior technicians — those that will probably be conducting the federally mandated CNG gasoline system inspections each three years or 36,000 miles or after any hearth or accident, ought to obtain CNG Gas System Inspector coaching. As well as, NGVi recommends for a second layer of security and legal responsibility safety that every one educated technicians obtain Gas System Inspector Certification provided by CSA Group.
  • And at last, it’s important that technicians who will probably be diagnosing and repairing heavy-duty NGVs obtain coaching that features properties of the gasoline, security procedures for CNG, high-pressure traces and fittings, set up necessities of pure gasoline elements, upkeep intervals and procedures distinctive to NGVs, engine methods and diagnostics, and tips on how to carry out fundamental restore procedures.

Whereas economics are most likely a very powerful issue when contemplating the improve to CNG, refuse fleets which might be on the front-end of the choice may have a extra full image by factoring within the upkeep facility modifications, fueling choices, and worker growth and coaching wants. The outcome will probably be a extra thorough evaluation and, in the end, a smoother transition to the premium gasoline — pure gasoline.

Concerning the creator: Annalloyd Thomason is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Pure Fuel Car Institute.

This text, initially appeared within the NGVConnection publication from the Pure Fuel Car Institute (www.ngvi.com), has been edited for accuracy as of Sept. 2023. Used with permission.

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