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CNG Trucks on the Road?


lappir

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Have seen a few "Garbage" Trucks in South Florida with CNG written on the side. Today I saw a Tractor/Trailer with Compressed Natural Gas where the fuel tanks are usually hung. On the motorcycle so couldn't grab the phone for a photo quickly enough. Was in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Truck was pulling a tank of some kind with a Nebraska company. Anyone else come across one?

 

Rod

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They've had a trial fleet up here a couple years ago. Kenworth T-800's, tri-drive units. Arrange the paperwork,drop off your truck, use theirs, fill out the end-use paperwork, download the logs, offer an opinion. When the 'patch was busier, it seemed like fuel was easier to find. I worked on repairs to a portable fuel station, I'll see if I can find any pics.

 

Edit to add: They still had a diesel tank, just a lot smaller, and used something like 1 gallon per mile out of it. Reduced power would let a truck get to a fuel station on diesel, but it would be a long limp home with a loaded trailer.

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Waste Management Industries is using them as well. Just about all the trucks I see locally are CNG now. Greenville utilities in Greenville NC is slowly changing their trucks to CNG. They installed a CNG filling station in 2 locations in the county for companies to use. I haven't seen private truck use though.

Considering I work in the Natural Gas industry, I have no idea of the efficiency of natural gas compared to diesel.... BTU rating, etc.

Is the mileage the same?

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CNG is usually priced and sold GGE (gasoline gallon equivalent). My dad has an F-150 that's dual fuel (gas and CNG), and both end up in the 15-18 mpg range in that truck. It was great when gas prices were north of $3/gal, but at $1.70 CNG is hard to justify financially right now--it has stayed in the same price range, and stations are usually somewhat out of the way. Oklahoma is definitely an exception though--if you were there a lot, prices are low and stations everywhere.

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In the Town of Brookhaven (Suffolk County, NY), I understand that the garbage trucks have been running on the methane collected from the rotting garbage for about ten years now. Those trucks are MUCH quieter that the diesel powered trucks they replaced.

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Waste Management Industries is using them as well. Just about all the trucks I see locally are CNG now. Greenville utilities in Greenville NC is slowly changing their trucks to CNG. They installed a CNG filling station in 2 locations in the county for companies to use. I haven't seen private truck use though.

Considering I work in the Natural Gas industry, I have no idea of the efficiency of natural gas compared to diesel.... BTU rating, etc.

Is the mileage the same?

My understanding is that the miles per btu is basically the same. Per gallon doesnt relate, as cng is a gas. Lng (liquid methane) is also very light- about half the weight of gasoline, so btu per gallon is not the same as gasoline, but btu per pound may be similar.

 

Miles per pound slightly less on methane, but open market cost is typically less than diesel. Station cost may differ wildly, based on distribution costs.

 

The Marine engine manufacturer guys tell us it is mostly a wash, infrastructure cost vs pollution devices vs fuel costs. Diesel having advantage currently most places due to mature distribution network

 

My understanding is that a methane truck should not require near the amount of pollution prevention devices as a diesel fuel truck, based on my experience with the marine industry.

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Essentially the same understanding I got from talking to the guys running the trailer. Hourly operating costs were comparable. Due to the locations the trucks run up here, infrastructure was mostly a moot point, as fuel has to be trucked in, regardless of type. The bigger inroads seem to be coming in the form of power generation. The drilling rigs all run on big generators. Big generators are thirsty beasts. Roll a truck of diesel on a mountain bush road, you've got your hands full. LNG is a lot easier to deal with in this instance. Oil change intervals can be stretched out with LNG, too. Again, less liquid hydrocarbon transport issues.

This isn't the company I worked for, but Certaurus is one that's been pretty aggressive.

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Essentially the same understanding I got from talking to the guys running the trailer. Hourly operating costs were comparable. Due to the locations the trucks run up here, infrastructure was mostly a moot point, as fuel has to be trucked in, regardless of type. The bigger inroads seem to be coming in the form of power generation. The drilling rigs all run on big generators. Big generators are thirsty beasts. Roll a truck of diesel on a mountain bush road, you've got your hands full. LNG is a lot easier to deal with in this instance. Oil change intervals can be stretched out with LNG, too. Again, less liquid hydrocarbon transport issues.

This isn't the company I worked for, but Certaurus is one that's been pretty aggressive.

The fuel may be lighter, but they end up with twice as many loads.

 

As a side note, when running methane, it isnt notmally actually a diesel engine, compression is lower with a glow plug to ignite, unless they spray diesel into the chamber.

 

If the spray diesel in to ignite the methane, that would explain how they can limp in on diesel. But then two fuel delivery systems to go bad. Complex engines. Give me a 8-92 with a turbo, and i can fix anything. Now i get intimidated when i change the oil on my kia.

 

Lower compression pressure would explain why the garbage trucks are quieter. Or just better mufflers.

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There are a crap load of them out there and they were getting more and more common every day. But they are kind of dying as of late. But I'm sure as diesel price goes up they will be back.

 

Be sure not to confuse CNG with LNG. LNG is the one with the diesel pilot. They were normally used for longer hauls or site specific using the orca trailer. CNG has the spark plugs and is the short haul regional type of thing.

 

It's pretty easy (relatively) to run a CNG truck around the country east of Kansas City. But get west of there you start running out of CNG stations that are close enough together to keep you filled. Moving one of them across the country is not for the faint of heart!

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