Heavy Duty Trucking

SEP 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

Issue link: https://heavydutytrucking.epubxp.com/i/382090

Contents of this Issue


Page 69 of 135

66 HDT • SEPTEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com "We chose to upgrade certain facilities completely to meet the fire and electri- cal codes for natural gas — they are different for liquid and compressed gas systems — rather than just segregate one or two bays. That would have limited future expansion." Customer interest has been high. Perry says Ryder has converted many traditional long-term lease customers to natural gas where the market makes sense, but he says there's lot of interest in the rental side as well. For a fleet with no natural gas expertise, Perry says renting is a good way to test the waters. "Those fleets can leverage our network and expertise so that the transition is practically seamless to them," he says. "It's still early days for natural gas and it's not right for every fleet, but a short- term lease or rental gives curious fleets a chance to see how it fits their operation." Relief for range anxiety Development on the fuel tank front has been fast and furious over the past year. Just last summer, we reported that Freightliner was boasting fuel tank range of up to 700 miles with a back-of-cab and saddle tank system capacity of 115 diesel- gallon equivalents. A year later, Carrick says he can build a system with a range of 1,200 miles. "I can give you dual 45-gallon CNG tanks on the rail and 155 back of cab," he says. "With capacity of 245 gallons of fuel, you've got a range of 1,200 miles." There are weight concerns with such capacity. Such an arrangement would weigh close to 5,700 pounds full of fuel, according to data from DTNA's tank supplier, Agility Fuel Systems. But in applications that are more sensitive to range than weight, 1,200 miles is about what 200 gallons of diesel will comfort- ably deliver. Agility offers back-of-cab tank capac- ity with up to 155 DGE gallons as well as saddle tanks with up to 60 gallons. Meanwhile, competitor Quantum for dual-fuel systems, through after- market conversions or glider kits. These displace some of the diesel fuel with natural gas, but allow the truck to run on diesel only if the natural gas tanks are depleted. CNG: Beyond local? In local markets where compressed natural gas is available, fuel availability is no longer a major concern. Major gas utilities often partner with distributors such as Clean Energy and Trillium to provide fueling outlets in their markets. On a scale required for trucking, it's common for the distributor to sign an anchor contract with a major truck fleet customer to establish volumes. Smaller customers enter the market after a supply beach- head has been established. Werner Enterprises recently inked a 1.1 million gallon deal with the Metropolitan Utilities District in Omaha and Tril- lium CNG, thus becoming the anchor fleet for that location — the first of its kind in Omaha. MUD owns the property and supplies the fuel, Trillium operates the station and Werner helps draw in the smaller fleet customers. In other cases, with large volume accounts, pipelines deliver fuel right to the customers' facility. Saddle Creek Logistics Services in Lakeland, Fla., is one example. Clean Energy recently announced it was expanding capacity at the company's Lakeland terminal, and adding filling capacity to meet Saddle Creek's growing demand. Mike DelBovo, transportation president of Saddle Creek, says he plans have about 200 CNG trucks running from Lake- land by October. Unfortunately, fueling facilities are few and far between once you get out into the wild. "We hear of new natural gas instal- lations almost daily, but when you dig deeper, you may find they are not truck-friendly installations," says Frank Bio, director of sales development - specialty vehicles and alternative fuels Technologies offers lighter tanks, but with less capacity. For example, Quan- tum offers a 123-gallon back-of-cab module weighing 2,363 pounds full of fuel, along with saddle tanks of up to 46.5 DGE weighing 890 pounds. With about 4,100 pounds of tanks and fuel, you'd run about 1,000 miles on the useable fuel. On the LNG side, for a comparable system of 65 DGE, the tank is about 200 pounds lighter — 885 pounds full of LNG versus a 60-DGE CNG tank at 1,100 pounds full of fuel. "In the same packaging and same With back-of-cab CNG cabinet tanks making ranges up to 1,200 miles possible, long-haul fleets are starting to look twice at CNG. ALTERNATIVE FUEL geography on a truck, LNG will get you further," Carrick says. "But even with the two largest LNG saddle tanks available, you're limited to 600-650 miles range. We know that for a fact. We have several customers using such an arrangement." But that could change. Andy Doug- las, national sales manager at Ken- worth, says there is lots of competition and innovation under way in the tank side of the business. "There's a real market opportunity here, and competitors are stepping in and starting to lower costs and improve ROI," he says. "It took a little time until we saw a critical mass in the size of the market, but we're just about there and the market is starting to perform as it should." Another way some truck owners are dealing with range anxiety is by opting

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Heavy Duty Trucking - SEP 2014