The Montgomery County NGV Conversion Initiative is a comprehensive conversion project which includes some of Pennsylvania's largest companies and a diverse set of business platforms. This project seeks to partner local transportation organizations; municipalities; public transportation; carting; construction; and service industries into one unique application, while simultaneously utilizing private investment in insfrastructure to help spur the usage of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative to gasoline and diesel.
The Greater Philadelphia Clean Cities Program (GPCCP) is one of the 87 Department of Energy's sponsored coalitions across the country whose specfic purpose is the reduction of petroleum within the transportation sector. GPCCP has been actively pursuing, helping, educating and outreaching for 20 years to help spur the usage of alternative fuels. GPCCP is one of the few 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization's in The Commonwealth that specifically concentrates in the transportation sector. We provide a framework for public/private partnerships to work together to enhance markets with the common interest of energy independence, environmental stewardship and economic development. Since our inception in 1993 we have had a hand in displacing over 10 million gallons of diesel and gasoline within state, providing 19 E-85 stations; placing over 20 EVSE's and educating more than 100,000 people towards the benefits of using alternative fuels. It is our fuel nuetrality and non-commercial status which makes our organization primed to pull together partners focusing on a specific tasks and completing project after project in the alternative fuel realm. Our experience at managing grants and projects from foundation, to state DEP, and federal DOE makes a natural case for the funding and implementation of this initiative.
The Montgomery County NGV Conversion Initiative seeks to convert 35 vehicles, ranging in size and type from a FORD E-450 to class 8 vehicles including refuse hauling and cement mixers. Our project partners; ARAMARK; Delaware Valley Concrete; King Limousine; Sustainable Waste Solutions; Lower Merion School District; Lower Providence Township and TransNet® a local transportation organization, have pulled together to support a new CNG fueling facility to be constructed by Lehigh Gas at an existing service station. This station will be located 113 N Gulph Rd, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406, is located within 1 mile of 2 major interstates I-76 and I-276 and in a highly visible traffic corridor near routes 422 and 202. This refueling station will be open 7 days a week 24 hours a day and open to the public. Payments can be made by credit cards; fleet cards and cash payments. This site will be constructed with a fast fill dispenser and 80 gallons of storage, with expansion capabilities and redundant compressors. In the current plan this station has the capacity to fill at 116 csfm per minute, more than enough to fill all the project partners daily if need be. This is an ideal location, being so close to the interstate and located a gasoline/diesel refueling station. In the early stages of utilizing CNG it is best to mimic the experience of “normal” refueling and by utilizing a this service station will reproduce that experience.
This project provides the perfect application towards the “chicken and egg” quandary. Bringing together private and public entities towards the common interest of utilizing compressed natural gas for fuel will help spur usage across the state. These project partners’ fleets alone comprise more than 1,300 registered vehicles in Pennsylvania, and will evaluate the cost effectiveness and the environmental benefits from this project as a benchmark towards the complete replacement and conversion to CNG for their respective fleets. Some of the fleets in the project have other depots in other counties and this project will help prove the business case to begin replacing legacy vehicles in those counties.
Funding The Montgomery County NGV Conversion Initiative, will do more than help bring compressed natural gas into the mainstream with our project partners. Our project combined, will help displace over 94,000 of gasoline every year and reduce diesel usage by using 22,000 DGE per year. That is directly replacing 114,413 gallons of petroleum just within Montgomery County. This was determined by the daily fuel usage of vehicles being replaced.
The successful implementation of this project will have even a greater reach, our partner’s vehicles outside of the county, number over 1,300 registered in Pennsylvania. Our partners will use this as a benchmark towards converting more vehicles within their fleet with a successful outcome. The utilization of the location of the King of Prussia site will see a throughput of roughly 160 gge’s per day. When we demonstrate the payback for the incremental cost of the conversion or the purchase of new vehicles, we can easily provide the business case for the cost of the conversions. We use a simple formula of: incremental cost divided by fuel savings cost which gives us our return on investment. There is financial gain in the remaining life of the vehicle. The average time a vehicle is replaced is 8 years, in reality there will be financial gain for a minimum of 4 years or as much as 8 years to the end of the vehicle’s useful life. Some partners in our project keep their vehicles up to 10 years so the payoff will continue far after the project.
As stated earlier, of the 35 vehicles in this project, there is a mixture of conversion of older vehicles and the purchasing of new ones. The breakdown consists of the purchase of 27 new vehicles that will have OEM warranties, and 8 vehicles that will be converted.