Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fuel Use in Refuse Collection Vehicles (Garbag eTrucks) Industry White Paper by WIH Resource Group

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The White Paper is developed by WIH Resource Group (WIH) and was created from industry research and analysis of the current use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in refuse (municipal solid waste - MSW) collection vehicles by both public sector agencies and private sector service providers throughout the United States.

WIH Resource Group (WIH), announced today that it completed an alternative fuels project for one of the largest Cities in Idaho and issued a White Paper on the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) usage in refuse collection vehicles (Garbage Trucks). WIH Resource Group was retained by the City to conduct research and develop the White Paper and its associated recommendations on the use of fueling solid waste collection vehicles with compressed natural gas. WIH Resource Group was pleased to be awarded the project and selected to conduct the industry research and develop the White Paper.

The waste management industry's interest in this information is to assess the potential for utilizing CNG fueled refuse collection vehicles in their own organizations or subcontracted solid waste and recycling collection vehicles and operations.

The surveys and interviews conducted by WIH's Staff with various cities and other private sector companies that currently utilize and operate CNG fleets, centered on securing industry experience, data and knowledge on the following key items of interest to the waste management industry, both public and private sectors:

  • CNG Engine reliability;
  • Optimal CNG engine type (manufacturer)
  • Average age of CNG fueled fleets & life expectancy of CNG fueled fleets;
  • Average R&M and operational costs of CNG fueled fleets;
  • Determination of the overall reliability of CNG fueling systems;
  • Assessment of the legal payload impacts, i.e. contrasting standard diesel collection

vehicle payloads to that of CNG fueled trucks (CNG fueled vehicles have heavier tare
weights due to the need for larger fuel tanks), including transportation routing cost
impacts to and from disposal sites;

  • Review of the available grant funding from the State, EPA and Federal agencies to assist

in capital costs of fleet acquisition and ongoing operating costs;

  • Assessment of the effects of CNG fuels and fueling in cold winter climates and elevation

changes which require full trucks to transport up inclines.

Summary of Table of Contents
The White Paper is organized into five sections, plus Appendices. The sections of the White Paper are listed below.

-- Section 1 - Introduction and Project Approach
-- Section 2 - Refuse Collection Vehicles
-- Section 3 - Industry Research and Interviews
-- Section 4 - Natural Gas and Compressed Natural Gas
-- Section 5 - Evaluation of Key Issues and Recommendations
-- Appendices

White Paper Highlights by Section

Section One
In August 2008, a City Public Works Department, Solid Waste Programs Division retained the services of WIH Resource Group (WIH) to assist their jurisdiction in researching the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel as an alternative to traditional diesel fuel in its contracted residential refuse and recycling collection vehicles currently operated under contract by private third party solid waste and recycling collections service provider.

Section Two
In the United States approximately 136,000 refuse trucks operate and burn approximately 1.2 billion
gallons of diesel fuel a year, releasing almost 27 billion pounds of the greenhouse gas, CO2. Every
gallon of diesel fuel burnt emits more than 22 pounds of CO2. In addition to contributing to global
climate change, diesel-fueled trash trucks are one of the most concentrated sources of healththreatening air pollution in virtually all cities.

Section Three
CNG is natural gas that has been compressed into a high-pressure container for transportation. Since the 1960s, CNG has become a vehicle fuel alternative to oil-based gasoline and diesel fuel. The International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles estimates that more than one million vehicles
worldwide operate on CNG. In the United States more than 1,300 CNG refueling stations are available. The total includes public service stations and private depot-based refueling stations intended to serve fleets. Several companies provide CNG/LNG refueling infrastructure to fleets on a component or turnkey basis.

Section Four

  • The WIH Resource Group project team conducted a series of interviews and meetings with individuals that are subject matter experts (SMEs) from public agencies, private sector solid waste

collection companies and CNG industry suppliers of both fuel and engines.

  • The average price of natural gas is up to $1.00 less per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) and refuse truck operators can get fixed-price, multi-year natural gas fueling contracts from CNG and NG fuel

suppliers like Clean Energy.

  • The use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel helps reduce U.S. dependence on foreign crude oil. In 2005, 64% of the crude oil used in the United States was imported from foreign sources other than

Canada. By comparison, in 2005, an estimated 97% of the natural gas used in the United States was supplied from the United States and Canada, making it less vulnerable to foreign supply disruption and price volatility.

  • Prior to the interviews, each organization was provided a list of the issues that it would be asked about in its interview. A list of the issues that were discussed during these interviews is provided below.

Private Sector Companies and Public Agencies Interviewed Issue:
1. CNG Engine Reliability Compared to Diesel Engines
2. Optimal Engine Manufacturer
3. Average Age of CNG & Life Expectancy
4. Average R&M and operational costs of CNG fueled fleets
5. Overall Reliability of CNG Fueling Systems
6. Legal Payload Impacts - CNG verses Diesel-powered vehicles
7. Grant Funding and Tax incentives
8. Effects of CNG fuels and fueling in cold weather climates and elevation changes

Section Five
The CNG market is more stable than the gasoline market. CNG generally costs 15 to 40 percent less than gasoline or diesel. CNG requires more frequent refueling, however, because it contains only about a quarter of the energy by volume of gasoline. In addition, CNG vehicles cost between $1,500 and $3,500 annually more than their diesel-powered counterparts. This is primarily due to the higher cost of the fuel cylinders. As the popularity and production of CNG fuel refuse collection vehicles continues to increases, CNG vehicle costs are decreasing.

Once new natural gas trucks are in service, their operators stand to save money. Not only has the price of natural gas been significantly lower than that of diesel fuel for many years (approximately $.50 per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) cheaper), but an excise tax credit available under the Energy Policy Act (2005) has made this fuel an even better bargain. Estimated savings for new 20 compressed natural gas trucks the City of Boise is contemplating, may produce fuel savings of more than $157,894 per year over diesel.

Appendix A - Public and Private Sector Interviews
Appendix B - Federal Tax Credit Fact Sheet
Appendix C - Cummins Westport, Inc. ISL-G Engine Specifications
Appendix D - Natural Gas Vehicles in the World 2007
Appendix E - U.S. Natural Gas Distribution Pipeline Network
Appendix F - Alternative Fuel Resources
Appendix G - Cummins Westport Press Release - Tax Credits

Important Disclaimer
This White Paper (report) has been prepared for the use of the clients who purchased it for the specific purposes identified in the report. The conclusions, observations and recommendations contained herein attributed to WIH Resource Group, LLC. (WIH) constitute the opinions of WIH Resource Group, LLC. To the extent that statements, information and opinions provided by the client or others have been used in the preparation of this report, WIH Resource Group has relied upon the same to be accurate, and for which no assurances are intended and no representations or warranties are made. WIH Resource Group makes no certification and gives no assurances except as explicitly set forth in this report.

About WIH Resource Group:
WIH Resource Group is a global leader and provider of comprehensive waste management, recycling and business solutions, specializing in, among other services, waste management operational performance assessments, transportation / logistics, alternative fuel use, solid waste planning, waste and recycling market studies and environmental services. Based in Phoenix, the company serves municipalities, commercial / industrial and both private and public sector clients throughout North America.

Order now.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fuel Use in Refuse
Collection Vehicles
Industry White Paper
Report: $299.00 per single use copy, discounted pricing available for mulitple copy user license.
Phone: 480.241.9994 -- Fax: 623.505.2634
E-mail: bwallace @
WIH Resource Group
Environmental & Logistical SolutionsTM

For more information, contact:
Bob Wallace
Principal & VP of Client Solutions
WIH Resource Group
bwallace @
Phone: 480-241-9994


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