Governor lauds Waste Management for new natural gas facility
Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2013 5:00 am | Updated: 8:17 am, Sun Apr 21, 2013.
By Chris English Staff Writer – PhillyBurbs.com
Compressed natural gas is all the rage at Waste Management these days, and the state’s top government official was among many who stopped by Bristol Township Friday to laud the company for its increasing commitment to the alternative energy source.
“Waste Management recognizes the great asset we have here in Pennsylvania,” Gov. Tom Corbett said at a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for the company’s new compressed natural gas fueling station on Hayes Boulevard.
“The Marcellus Shale is now the most productive gas field in the world,” he continued. “In converting its truck fleet to CNG, Waste Management is investing in the future, saving on fuel costs, contributing to our energy independence and helping the environment.”
Waste Management has replaced 32 diesel trash hauling trucks at the Bristol Township facility, which serves Bucks County and other areas around Philadelphia, with ones powered by CNG, said company spokesman John Hambrose.
He said 10 more CNG trucks are planned by the end of the year, and the goal is to have all 70 Waste Management trucks operating from the Bristol Township facility powered by compressed natural gas by the end of 2014, he added.
Across the country, 2,000 of Waste Management’s 23,000 trucks are powered by CNG, and the goal is to keep increasing that ratio as much as possible, Hambrose said.
The benefits of that conversion are many, said Tara Hemmer, president of Waste Management’s Greater Mid-Atlantic region.
“Every time we replace one of our diesel trucks with a natural gas truck, we save 8,000 gallons of diesel a year and reduce the production of a significant amount of air pollutants,” she said.
Compressed natural gas at the Bristol Township fueling station is $1.99 a gallon. Diesel fuel costs more than $4 a gallon at most stations across the country, WM officials said.
In addition to fueling the Waste Management CNG trucks, the Bristol Township station is also open 24/7 to any member of the general public who has a CNG vehicle, WM officials said.
The combustion of natural gas produces almost no particulate, according to fact sheets handed out by WM officials at Friday’s event. By replacing a diesel truck with a CNG truck, WM eliminates the annual production of more than 24 tons of greenhouse gases, company officials added.
“The savings should help Waste Management employ more people and invest in its infrastructure both in Pennsylvania and across the country,” said Corbett.
While it’s too early in the conversion process to make specific projections, the savings should also help the company hold down costs for its customers, Hambrose said.
The CNG trucks cost more — about $340,000 apiece compared to $300,000 for a diesel truck — but the company should relatively soon recover those increased initial costs with savings on fuel, he added.
“Waste Management is very important to all of us,” said Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia. “They have stepped up time and time again to help various organizations and now they’re stepping up for the environment.”
“Waste Management is an industry leader in so many ways, and this is another example,” added state Rep. Tina Davis, D-141, who represents most of Bristol Township.
Corbett said he didn’t know of any state-owned vehicles powered by CNG but would love to see it. One of the keys, he said, is getting manufacturers in Detroit and elsewhere to produce more of the vehicles at an affordable cost. Another is getting more fueling stations like the one just opened by Waste Management, Corbett said.
Compressed natural gas trucks also run quieter than diesel and create less vibration, which leads to lower maintenance costs, WM officials said.
A $400,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection helped with the $13 million cost of the Bristol Township CNG fueling station, they added.
According to the website cngnow.com., public transportation vehicles across the country have been using CNG for decades and that 12 percent to 15 percent of such vehicles are now powered by the fuel.
Roughly 250,000 of the 12 million CNG vehicles worldwide are in the U.S., the site added.
Compressed natural gas is natural gas under pressure that remains clear, odorless and non-corrosive, according to consumerenergycenter.org. Although vehicles can use natural gas as either a liquid or a gas, most vehicles use the gaseous form compressed to pressures above 3,100 pounds per square inch, the site added.
While CNG vehicles get about the same mileage per gallon as diesel, the cost is so much less for the same amount of fuel, WM officials said.
“The horsepower, acceleration and cruise speed of natural gas vehicles are comparable with those of equivalent conventional vehicles,” said the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, afdc.energy.gov.