Christmas comes early for ACUA as three new ‘green’ compressed natural gas (CNG) recycling/trash trucks arrive just in time for the holidays to replace older, less efficient vehicles.
Three new ‘green’ compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks arrived at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) on Wednesday and officials and employees could not be happier.
“Of course for our drivers and handlers, there is nothing like a new truck,” said ACUA Executive Vice President and Chief Finance Officer Maria Mento. “Our CNG collection vehicles, which look like trash trucks, are used to collect both trash and recycling, depending on what day it is and where we are collecting. These trucks serve both purposes,” said Mento.
ACUA began using CNG trucks to collect trash and recycling across the County and region in 2010 and now has 19 trucks and two pick-up trucks on the road. Eventually, the ACUA plans to convert its entire fleet of collection vehicles to CNG.
“CNG is cleaner, cheaper and domestic,” Mento explained. “CNG is cleaner than diesel because it reduces particulate matter emissions by 94 percent, carbon monoxide emissions by 75 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 49 percent, and carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent. These environmental benefits are coupled with significant savings for fleet operators. These trucks are ‘green’ in the truest sense of the word,” Mento added.
Current retail prices for CNG provide a savings of more than $1.00 per gallon equivalent compared to diesel. An additional benefit: CNG trucks run 50 percent quieter than diesel trucks. Fleets across the country, including Waste Management, UPS, AT&T, Verizon and the US Postal Service are moving to this clean, less expensive alternative to diesel. ACUA officials estimate an annual savings of approximately $10,000 per truck.
CNG engines are available for light, medium and heavy-duty engines, and many resources are available to any fleet owner thinking of making the switch.
“Most importantly, the fueling infrastructure for natural gas continues to grow throughout the region and there are now a total of 7 publicly accessible stations throughout New Jersey,” said Mento. “We hope that other fleet owners will look to the ACUA’s experience and consider switching to this greener, cheaper fuel source when replacing or upgrading vehicles,” Mento noted.
ACUA’s CNG fueling station, located at the ACUA’s Environmental Park in Egg Harbor Township, utilizes “fast fill” dispensers, which can fuel a CNG truck in the same time it takes to fill a regular diesel truck. ACUA’s fueling station was designed and built by Clean Energy.
“For fleets in and around Atlantic County, ACUA’s station on Delilah Road is conveniently located and open to the public,” explained Mento.
Funding assistance for the station was awarded to the ACUA and other New Jersey entities through the New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition (NJCCC) which aims to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector by expanding the markets for alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. Other NJCCC partners include Central Jersey Waste of Trenton, Waste Management of Camden and the Atlantic City Jitney Association, which switched its entire fleet of 190 jitneys to CNG.
“Anyone considering the switch to CNG can contact ACUA for assistance. Our staff is well-versed on the subject and can assist in navigating the options and the expected cost-benefit savings,” said Mento.
For additional information, contact ACUA at 609-272-6950 or go to www.acua.com.