The first liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicle fueling station east of the Mississippi River began operation Thursday in Bridgeport, CT, setting several firsts for supplier Distrigas of Massachusetts LLC. Waste hauler Enviro Express Natural Gas LLC owns and operates the station, offering both LNG and compressed natural gas (CNG).
This is the first time LNG has been sold as a vehicle fuel from the Everett, MA, Marine Terminal and the first offering of LNG for natural gas-powered vehicles in the region.
The station will offer public access, as well as offering LNG fueling to the Enviro Express fleet of 18 Kenworth T800 semi tractor-trailers and CNG to various fleet customers. The LNG-powered Enviro fleet carries ash and other refuse from Bridgeport 110 miles to Putnam, CT.
The fueling facility was partially funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The $6.2 million project is part of the Connecticut Clean Cities Future Fuels project.
In switching to LNG fueling, the Enviro Express fleet will be able to displace about 500,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually, a company spokesperson said. The fleet operator also is expecting to lower its vehicle maintenance costs and allow the trucks to travel more miles between oil changes. "Additional savings is realized because the price of LNG is much lower than the price of diesel fuel and gasoline," the spokesperson said.
Enviro Express designed its fueling station with a closed system that recaptures boil-off from the LNG that otherwise would vent into the atmosphere and compresses it to be stored as CNG.
"LNG is lighter than diesel so we can go farther, cleaner and improve load efficiency by hauling more with the same vehicle," said Enviro Express Manager Bill Malone.
Distrigas said it expects LNG use in fleet vehicles to pick up as the price of diesel and gasoline continue to increase. "The difference in fuel and maintenance costs and the environmental benefits make LNG an attractive vehicle fuel alternative," said Joe Murphy, Distrigas vice president for sales and transportation.
Distrigas has owned and operated an LNG receiving terminal at Everett for 40 years.
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