Canada's harshest cold weather conditions aren’t proving to be a problem for companies that have outfitted their organizations with new natural gas fleets, a new report has found.
The report, Evaluation of the Winter Performance of Compressed Natural Gas Refuse Trucks, documents the cold weather operation of a fleet of 18 compressed natural gas (CNG) refuse trucks owned by Berthierville, Quebec-based company EBI.
“Heavy diesel vehicles are one of Canada's fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions and natural gas trucks offer a sensible and affordable way to reduce emissions,” says Alicia Milner, President of the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (CNGVA). “More private sector investments like EBI's should be encouraged as they accelerate the transition to lower emission vehicle use in Canada,” added Milner.
The fleet of 18 Peterbilt trucks with Cummins Westport 8.9 litre engines has been operating over two years at winter temperatures as low as -16 degrees Celsius. The main report finding is that factory-built CNG trucks operate well with no issues in cold weather provided normal winter aids are used and the vehicle design is suitable for cold weather. EBI has since gone on to purchase another 32 CNG trucks given their satisfactory performance, fuel savings, and emissions benefits.
The main issues with CNG in colder temperatures are fuel quality and contaminants, such as water in the fuel.
"The colder the ambient temperature becomes, the drier the natural gas has to be,” the report states. “It is therefore critical to ensure that a dryer is included in the CNG refueling station and that the dryer is properly maintained.”
Funded by Transport Canada's ecoTechnology for Vehicles program, the report documents the real world experience of one of Canada's first heavy natural gas vehicle fleets. Demonstrating the suitability of advanced vehicle technologies for use in Canada is a priority of the Transport Canada program with new heavy vehicle emission standards now in place,
The report also highlights early learnings from a fleet of 58 CNG refuse trucks operating in Winnipeg, Manitoba by Emterra Environmental.
According to EBI's President, Pierre Sylvestre, “Natural gas is a great option that offers fuel savings from day one,” he said. “We're proud of our natural gas fleet. We're also investing in a network of public stations to bring CNG to the broader Québec market.”
The CNGVA is Canada's national trade association advocating for greater use of natural gas as a primary transportation fuel for the benefit of Canada's economy and environment. The CNGVA leads the natural gas vehicle industry's participation in the Go With Natural Gas initiative focused on encouraging greater use of factory-built natural gas vehicles.