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22 June 2016

Going mobile – satellite CNG fueling outpost is a win-win for Louisiana solid waste district and waste hauler

I’ve spent the past few years in the brave new world of alternative vehicle fuel. I thought readers might be interested in a recent project I worked on where a solid waste district negotiated a contract with its waste collection contractor to purchase BioCNG fuel. The win-win agreement meant the contractor could purchase a new CNG fleet and the district was able to expand the market for its fuel – and develop a first-in-the-nation satellite renewable natural gas (RNG) fueling outpost in the bargain.

Here’s how it went down

St. Landry Parish (Louisiana) Solid Waste Disposal District developed a BioCNG processing and fueling station in 2012 to make compressed RNG vehicle fuel for municipal vehicles out of its landfill gas. The fuel has been used for Sheriff’s Department cars, light duty trucks and vans, and the district’s utility trucks.

After a few years, the District began to develop plans to expand their fueling capacity. They reasoned that the only way to economically grow the BioCNG program was to increase RNG fuel demand. Parish residents really embraced the original fueling concept, and some communities wanted to be able to access the RNG fuel at an off-site location. However, this local fuel demand alone was not enough to support expansion.

Wittmann_BioCNG2-revThe District recognized that its solid waste hauler, Progressive Waste Solutions, was a potential RNG user, but all of the company’s existing vehicles were diesel-powered. Undaunted, and with the hauling contract scheduled to be rebid in a couple of years, the District negotiated a contract with Progressive to purchase BioCNG fuel, offering them a contract extension as an incentive.

The RNG purchase agreement required that the District have an uninterruptible CNG supply for the trucks. Adding backup natural gas to the landfill’s BioCNG fueling station was not an option due to the distance to the nearest pipeline. So the District decided to install an off-site RNG fueling station (called a satellite site) that would be supplied by a RNG tube trailer filled at the landfill fueling station (known as the primary site). The satellite site would have backup natural gas for the uninterruptible fuel supply in case BioCNG was temporarily unavailable.

Wittmann_BioCNG1-revThis primary/satellite system also provides an off-site BioCNG source in the most populated Parish community, which will be made available to the general public in the future. To my knowledge, this is the first development in the country of a primary/satellite mobile fueling station that uses biogas-derived RNG as the primary fuel source. Hopefully it’s just the first of many win-win solutions for developing RNG vehicle fuel demand.

If you want to know more about this great project, check out this article I wrote for Renewable Energy from Waste (June 2016 edition), called Not stopping at first.

What are your thoughts on alternative vehicle fuel and its role in expanding energy sources?

Steven Wittmann has more than 40 years of experience in the environmental investigation, engineering and construction field. He has managed six biogas to RNG vehicle fuel projects, along with electrical generation projects.

Categories: Alternative Energy, Biogas and Landfill Gas, Solid Waste
Posted By Steve Wittmann at 2:53 PM  |  No Comments on Going mobile – satellite CNG fueling outpost is a win-win for Louisiana solid waste district and waste hauler

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