UPS on Monday finalized its largest agreement to date for renewable natural gas (RNG) with Big Ox Energy for 10 million gallon equivalents/year through 2024.
The RNG supplied by Big Ox, a subsidiary of Environmental Energy Capital LLC, would be used at eight stations in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia.
RNG, also known as biomethane, can be derived from decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment and agriculture. It is distributed through the natural gas pipeline system for use as liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG).
“UPS continues to make investments in RNG that help move the industry forward,” said Big Ox CEO Rob Larsen. “Our agreement with UPS is one of the largest contracts we have signed to date and among the largest ever in the RNG market.”
RNG is said to yield up to a 90% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to conventional diesel.
Earlier this year, UPS also signed a five-year agreement with an AMP Americas unit for 1.5 million gallon equivalents/year of RNG from the Fair Oaks dairy farm in Indiana. UPS has a sustainability goal of fueling by 2025 40% of its ground transportation fleet from sources other than conventional gasoline and diesel. Last year UPS used 61 million gallons of natural gas in its ground fleet, which included 4.6 million gallons of RNG. This year it is on track to use 14 million gallons of RNG.
Since 2009, UPS has invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations globally. UPS deploys the more than 8,500 vehicles in its Rolling Lab to use technologies that work best depending on the needs of the delivery route.
“Natural gas is a proven alternative fuel to gasoline and diesel and is a key building block for our goal to reduce GHG emissions in our ground fleet,” said UPS’s Mike Casteel, director of fleet procurement. “These agreements add significantly to our investment in the use of RNG and will help put us on track to nearly triple our annual use of RNG. They are also a direct reflection of our ongoing commitment to help shape the renewable natural gas industry.”
For LNG fueling, Ryder Systems Inc. has inked a four-year contract with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to supply a fleet of heavy-duty trucks that move goods for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc. in Georgetown, KY. The facility is Toyota’s largest manufacturing facility in North America.
Clean Energy is opening an LNG fueling station in Georgetown for the fleet, which is expected to consume 380,000 gasoline gallon equivalents/year.
“At Ryder, we have the opportunity and ability to continually reduce the environmental impacts of our operations and those of the customers we serve,” said Ryder’s Chris Nordh Sr., who directs advanced vehicle technologies/energy products at Ryder. “LNG as a transportation fuel helps us reduce our vehicle emissions, and we’re happy to partner with Clean Energy to continue our dedication to sustainability solutions.”
Clean Energy Vice President Chad Lindholm said the Newport Beach, CA-based supplier was “seeing a trend in shippers selecting carriers that demonstrate a commitment to the environment. Natural gas is a perfect fit for carriers because not only is it cleaner, it’s abundant, is available today, performs every bit as well as diesel, and makes sense economically.”
Meanwhile, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $35.2 million in grants to 18 dairy digester projects that produce RNG. The captured methane from dairy operations is used either to produce electricity or make RNG.
CDFA also carries out an alternative manure management program for non-digester projects to curb methane emissions on state farms. The program is reviewing 53 applications for grants totaling $29.5 million under the program.
Elsewhere, the Leon County School District in Tallahassee, FL, said it has saved $1.1 million and reduced fleet vehicle emissions by 30% by switching to CNG. Supplier Nopetro, which has been supplying the CNG for five years, provides a fueling station with public access for city, county, university and private fleet vehicles. Rebates and other savings have been used to supplement educational programming.
Nopetro also partners with other school districts and government entities to supply CNG to fleets throughout northern and central Florida.
Meanwhile, the Scania Group has introduced a 13-liter natural gas vehicle engine in Europe with 410 hp for long-haul truck transport and construction site operations. The engine is part of a portfolio of sustainability solutions for transport offering carbon dioxide reductions of 15-90%.
“There is considerable interest in Europe in long-distance, natural gas-powered transport solutions,” says Scania Trucks’ Henrik Eng, product director of urban operations. “The engine meets these needs with all the total operating economy benefits of gas and no disadvantages.”
With LNG, a semi-trailer truck of up to 40 tons is able to drive 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) without refueling, according to Scania. With twin LNG tanks on rigid trucks, a range of up to 1,600 kilometers (nearly 1,000 miles) is possible.