Company's natural-gas-powered recycling and garbage fleet to number more than 80 trucks by year end.
Waste Management of Illinois Inc. dedicated what it says is the country’s largest commercial compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling facility in Illinois April 19.
The facility in Stickney, Ill., is equipped with 55 "slow-fuel" stations for the company's CNG truck fleet. The company currently operates more than 30 CNG trucks in the Chicago area. The company says it expects to have more than 80 in the area by the end of 2012, making it Illinois' largest commercial CNG refuse truck fleet.
Joining Waste Management executives at the official opening were officials of the state of Illinois, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), the Village of Stickney, the city of Chicago, Clean Cities Chicago, the Gas Technology Institute and representatives from numerous suburbs served by the company.
"We are rapidly transitioning to using clean-burning fuels like CNG in our collection vehicles in the Chicago area," said Steve Batchelor, Waste Management area vice president for Illinois and Indiana. "Our new Stickney CNG facility represents a substantial commitment that will allow us to independently support our growing CNG fleet in Chicago and across northeastern Illinois."
"As we strive to maintain a healthy environment for all citizens, the Illinois EPA welcomes Waste Management's contribution toward cleaner air," remarked IEPA Interim Director John Kim. "Compressed natural gas is cleaner burning than gasoline or diesel fuel, which means significantly less emissions of air pollutants."
Darwin Burkhart, chair of the Chicago Area Clean Cities coalition and alternate fuel program manager for the Illinois EPA, said, "By transforming a large fleet operation to natural gas and installing this publicly available natural gas station, Waste Management is leading by example and using our own American fuels. This is why they were designated an Illinois Green Fleet just a few months ago."
Batchelor said converting to CNG trucks will improve air quality in communities Waste Management serves and help the company achieve its sustainability goals to reduce its overall fleet emissions by 15 percent and increase its fuel efficiency by 15 percent by the year 2020. Construction of the facility took about three months to complete.
The facility includes a public, easy-access "Clean N' Green" retail station along Pershing Road that is equipped with four "fast-fuel" pumps that can be used by individuals, companies or municipalities operating CNG vehicles. The unmanned retail facility will be operated by PetroCard for Waste Management.
The Waste Management trucks are fueled using a "slow-fill" procedure to improve efficiency and carry approximately 58 diesel equivalent gallons of CNG. The CNG trucks have a capacity to carry between five and eight tons of material—the same payload as traditional collection vehicles—and can run 10 to 12 hours, completing a typical day's waste or recycling collection route.
The Stickney facility is Houston-based Waste Management's second in the Chicago area. Its Wheeling CNG site opened May 2011 to serve Chicago's northern suburbs.
Waste Management's fleet of more than 1,400 natural gas vehicles is the largest in the North American waste industry, the company says. As part of the company's annual fleet conversion, Waste Management says it expects 80 percent of its annual new collection vehicle purchases to be natural gas-powered trucks.