Garbage collection in Fort Lauderdale is going green. Choice Environmental Services rolled out a new fleet of CNG (compressed natural gas) refuse trucks on November 1st, becoming the first private waste hauler in south Florida to abandon diesel fuel for a portion of its operations in favor of cleaner-burning natural gas.
The ten-truck fleet will reduce harmful emissions by over 25 percent compared to diesel-fueled trucks, according to company officials. The new trucks are also fully automated residential collection vehicles, with high compaction bodies that will reduce the number of trips they’ll need to make to the landfill. The Autocar chassis are equipped with Hercules ASL bodies supplied by E-Z Pack Manufacturing of Cynthiana, Kentucky.
The Autocar trucks feature Cummins Westbrook engines, designed for natural gas. The refuse bodies themselves are mounted with four natural gas fuel cells – two that are “saddle mounted” on the chassis frame and two additional fuel cells that are integrated into the body above and behind the hopper, in a unique configuration that does not increase the vehicle’s overall height.
E-Z Pack modified the ASL body with the additional fuel cells in direct response to Choice Environmental’s request for greater fuel capacity. The total CNG fuel capacity is equivalent to 60 gallons of diesel, which gives each truck the range of a typical diesel-fueled vehicle. At the end of a workday, operators return to the fueling station in Pompano Beach, where the trucks are automatically refueled and ready for work by the next morning.
E-Z Pack introduced the ASL product line at Waste Expo this year, and the CNG option is factory installed by E-Z Pack’s certified technicians. The Hercules ASL features a high compaction body, a 6-cubic-yard hopper capable of handling containers up to 400 gallons, simple controls without computers or PLCs, and E-Z Pack’s patented fuel saving hydraulics.
Choice Environmental hosted an open house on October 29, complete with political and business dignitaries, to launch its new CNG operation in south Florida. The open house was held at the company’s Pompano Beach CNG fueling station, designed, built and operated by Clean Energy Fuels Corp. of California. It is Clean Energy’s first CNG fueling station in Florida.
Clean Energy is the leading provider of natural gas (CNG and LNG) for transportation in North America, with a broad customer base in commercial and municipal fleet markets, fueling more than 17,200 vehicles at 184 locations across the United States and Canada.
The natural gas used to produce CNG fuel onsite at the station is supplied by TECO Peoples Gas, Florida’s largest natural gas distribution company.
Choice’s CEO Glen Miller told the gathering at the open house, “Our company is pleased to partner with Clean Energy, TECO, Autocar and E-Z Pack to begin transitioning our fleet of trucks from diesel fuel to clean-burning natural gas. We are excited and proud to be the first commercial waste company in Florida to deploy clean, quiet CNG-powered collection vehicles. Choice is committed to doing our part to reduce America’s dependence on imported oil, and to helping ensure a clean air environment for the communities we serve.”
Miller leads a senior management team at Choice Environmental with over 100 years experience in the solid waste industry. Since 2003, Choice has quickly become one of the largest providers of waste disposal services in Florida, with service areas in Palm Beach, Broward, Dade and Collier Counties. The company employs over 175 people in its waste hauling, transfer, and material recovery (recycling) facilities, and operates some 100 collection vehicles in southern Florida.