Casella Waste Systems, Inc, headquartered in Rutland, Vermont, provides solid waste, recycling and resource management services in seven Northeastern states. Casella’s operations include seven recycling facilities, 12 disposals facilities, 31 collection operations, and 29 transfer stations and a fleet of more than 800 vehicles including 25 CNG refuse trucks. Locations in Upstate New York include Dunkirk, Olean, Elmira, Newfield, Geneva, Oneonta, Lowville, Potsdam, Malone, Plattsburg, and Fort Edward.
Figure 21. Autocar dedicated CNG refuse trucks with
Cummins-Westport ISL G CNG engines in front and
As part of their Sustainable Environmental and Economic Development program, Casella implemented Vermont’s first CNG refuse vehicle fleet. In addition to its belief that using a domestically produced fuel is the right thing to do for our country, CNG trucks fit well within Casella’s strategy to tie economic and environmental models together to create value for its customers. A transition to a CNG fleet meets Casella’s business goals by providing positive investment returns and reduced fuel cost volatility. CNG also provides a proven technology that meets the operating standard of a refuse fleet on the road, is quieter than diesel, simplifies repairs and reduces oil change intervals.
To adhere to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) new heavy-duty truck standards for 2010, Casella plans to convert approximately 10% of its 800 truck fleet to CNG within 3 years. Casella’s current fleet includes 3 dual fuel CNG vehicles and 22 dedicated CNG vehicles. The company ordered 16 more dedicated CNG trucks and it has plans to purchase 25 new CNG vehicles in 2013. Casella saves $1,200–$1,500 per month on each truck. Each CNG vehicle will achieve a payback on the incremental cost within two years of service. The new trucks will emit about one-quarter less greenhouse gas and cut emissions by about 95%.
Casella received grant funding to support CNG vehicle purchases through the EPA under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Casella Waste Systems opened its first CNG fueling station in Chittenden County, Vermont, at its Williston facility. Time-fill CNG stations are now being used at the company’s facilities in Geneva and Fort Edward in New York. Casella has contracted for a new station at its Elmira facility. It hopes to install the fueling infrastructure before the winter of 2012, as the company found that installation during cold weather creates issues with moisture and condensation.
Figure 22. Casella Waste Systems time-fill compressed natural gas station for refuse vehicles
The biggest challenge for Casella in switching to CNG was addressing the compliance regulations for its maintenance garage. None of the upgrades completed were too complicated or costly, but it was not clear exactly what was required through the standards. Casella worked closely and early on with the local fire marshal; however, when the company started on a different site, the process was still challenging because it was with a different fire marshal who had a different interpretation of the requirements. Casella found that inspectors who were not familiar with natural gas tended to request that the company incorporate more safety measures than would be required by inspectors who had prior knowledge of natural gas vehicles. For every location where CNG vehicles were introduced and facility upgrades were necessary, Casella found it necessary to get outside assistance, such as independent consultants or professional engineers, to assist with regulation compliance requirements.
Peter Vanderhoof, Fleet Manager