Planning to Green your Fleet? Look Before You Leap


Today, an increasing number of fleets are planning to go green. But, what really constitutes “green”? Some fleet managers believe that, in order to be green, the fleet must operate hybrids, pure electrics, or use a clean alternative fuel. All of these alternatives can, indeed, be environmentally friendly; however, in reality, any initiative that significantly reduces a fleet’s environmental impact can be considered green. For example, a conventional fleet that reduces fuel consumption by 35 percent through better specifications and improved utilization is, potentially, just as green as a fleet that converted to hybrids or an alternative fuel.

Looking to Green Your Fleet?  Look no further, WIH Resource Group has your solutions!  http://www.wihrg.com

Looking to Green Your Fleet? Look no further, WIH Resource Group has your solutions! http://www.wihrg.com

Why Go Green?

There are many different ways to reduce a fleet’s environmental impact, and the reasons for doing so are numerous.

But, if a fleet is considering adopting a green program, it’s important to first accurately define why it is considering such a big leap. Once that is determined, fleet leadership must establish a broad performance objective. This will help determine the steps fleet will take to become green and establish a means to measure the program’s success.

While there may be multiple objectives, they will likely fall into one or more of the following general categories:

● Enhance the company’s public image.
● Minimize fuel costs.
● Lower overall operating costs.
● Minimize CO2 emissions.
● Eliminate use of conventional, hydrocarbon fuels.
● Utilize a fuel that will be readily available in the fleet’s area of operation.
● Fulfill government mandates.

One of the first issues that may be encountered during the process of greening a fleet involves government mandates. The government may have requirements as to how the greening process is going to proceed.

What Are the Options?

There are numerous alternatives when it comes to greening a fleet, including changing how the fleet operates, increasing vehicle efficiency, adopting electric or hybrid vehicles, using drop-in liquid alternative fuels or switching to gaseous alternative fuels, or exotics (e.g., hydrogen or dimethyl ether aka DME).

Often, the alternatives can be combined. For example, a fleet can convert to an alternative fuel and make management changes to improve fleet utilization. The real question is: Which alternative should be used?

To find the best solution, a fleet manager should start by defining drive and duty cycles. The fleet may also be constrained by regulations, availability, and pricing of alternative fuels; funding; and operating considerations. This last issue is very important for utility fleets that may have to respond to emergency situations (e.g., storms or floods) outside of normal operating areas.

Drive Cycles & Duty Cycles

The terms “drive cycle” and “duty cycle” are often used interchangeably, but they actually measure two different aspects of vehicle utilization. A drive cycle defines how a vehicle is used, while a duty cycle defines how much it is being used.

A drive cycle typically measures factors such as vehicle speed, starts and stops over a given time period, idle time (incidental and extended), and engine off time. It may also incorporate data on power export (PTO operation, etc.). This information is normally graphed showing vehicle speed over time. The chart above defines an urban dynamometer test drive cycle, but is typical of how a drive cycle graph will look.

Duty cycles measure how much a vehicle is used. The primary factors tracked include frequency and length of use, utilization cycles per measurement period, distance driven per measurement cycle, on-road versus off-road use, load profile, and total vehicle lifecycle. There are numerous ways to track a drive cycle, such as the use of a data logger, downloading information from the CANbus, or by utilizing a telematics system.

Duty cycle data typically comes from a combination of data logging and historical data, but experience shows that perceived duty cycles and actual duty cycles are not always the same, so it is important to ensure accurate usage data.

A drive cycle typically measures factors such as vehicle speed, starts and stops over a given time period, idle time (incidental and extended), and engine off time. SOURCE: NTEA
A drive cycle typically measures factors such as vehicle speed, starts and stops over a given time period, idle time (incidental and extended), and engine off time. SOURCE: NTEA

Putting it all Together

Once the drive and duty cycles for a specific application have been defined, it becomes much easier to pick the right alternatives. Just remember that drive and duty cycles frequently vary by vehicle type, operating environment, specific application, and even the time of year.

Other factors — such as overall objectives, mandates, financial considerations, and application constraints — may also impact the final selection.

Ultimately, there is no single right answer — a fleet manager must make an educated decision for each situation. The selections must be consistent with operational requirements, such as: range requirements, availability of alternative fuels, charging cycles and usable range for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs), payload factors, vehicle tare weight, usable cargo space, and vehicle utilization flexibility.

Websites of such organizations as the Green Truck Association (www.greentruckassociation.com) and green technology conferences, such as the annual Green Truck Summit, which is produced by the NTEA and CALSTART, can be excellent resources to help with the selection of viable green alternatives.

Even if a vehicle drive cycle is a perfect match for a specific green alternative, the associated duty cycle and investment constraints may preclude its use.

For example, with its drive cycle (low mileage and speeds, frequent stops, and high idle times), an inner-city truck appears to be the perfect application for a hybrid or electric vehicle. However, both options typically represent a high initial investment, so there are financial considerations.

In addition, an analysis of the application’s duty cycle may show the vehicle will never drive enough miles during its life to pay back the investment. Conversely, the high idle time indicated by the drive cycle analysis may make an excellent case for the installation of a lower cost idle management system. In a related scenario, if a vehicle is utilized for two shifts a day, the use of an electric vehicle may be contradicted by the amount of dwell time needed to recharge the batteries between shifts.

When evaluating alternatives, don’t overlook the benefits of making relatively simple changes to fleet vehicles. In many cases, efficiency increases of 30 percent or more are attainable through the use of technologies such as: driver behavior modification, optimized powertrains, electrification of accessory loads and power export (electric PTOs), aerodynamics, weight reduction, reduced rolling resistance, idle management, and telematics.

Hidden Costs

Be careful not to overlook hidden infrastructure costs when evaluating advanced green alternatives. In almost all cases, it will be necessary to factor in costs for new shop equipment and technician training. In addition, specific alternatives have their own associated costs. Examples when dealing with gaseous fuels include, but are not limited to: modification of shops and parking facilities to meet fire codes; heating and ventilation modifications; lighting and other wiring modifications; upgrades to electrical systems for operation of a compressor station; type and size of compressor station needed; and potential for incurring demand billing for electrical service.

Likewise, when considering electric vehicles, don’t overlook:

● Upgrades to electrical systems (charging requirements).
● Required charge level (1, 2, or 3).
● Demand billing considerations.

Regardless of why a fleet elects to go green, there should be some means to measure success. In the end, if original goals have been met, the fleet is financially viable, and operations have not been negatively impacted, it may be fairly safe to say the program is a success. However, don’t forget, more can always be done.

About the Author
Bob Johnson is director of fleet relations for the NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry. To learn more about the organization and its annual Work Truck Show, visit www.ntea.com/worktruckshow.

SOURCE: WIH Resource Group & Work Truck Magazine

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Tons of Trash: Tour America’s Top 10 Biggest Landfills – WIH Resource Group


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Beyond the smell and decay, landfills are considered modern archeology sites, collections of discarded items that give clues to the lifestyles of those who used them. In fact, Harvard-trained archeologist Bill Rathje recently told the LA Times, “The best time capsule in the world is a landfill.”

But that time capsule has an impact.

The average American produces a little over 4 pounds of trash per day, and although we might be diligent about separating our recyclables, once the garbage truck comes along, to us, our waste is out of sight and out of mind. While we return to the house with an empty garbage can, our waste takes off on a journey for the landfill, where mountains of trash pile up to be pushed around by bulldozers and circled by vultures in the air.

Where does your trash go?

We rounded up a list of the top 10 biggest landfills, just to show the ultimate impact of our everyday waste. According to Waste & Recycling News, these are the biggest landfills, based upon tonnage received in 2007. Here are some interesting facts about these places, including some very uplifting ones (really).

Photo by Steve Marcus, Las Vegas Sun

1. Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada. 3,824,814 tons.

America’s largest landfill, Apex, lies just an hour north of Sin City. Storing nearly 50 million tons of rotting trash, Apex is no small operation. Surprisingly enough, things seem to be slowing down. According to General Manager Mark Clinker commercial and residential waste has actually decreased. Maybe there’s still hope?

Puente Hills

2. Puente Hills, Whittier, California. 3,756,718 tons.

Taking in a third of Los Angeles County’s trash, Puente Hills is a big player when it comes to waste. But talking about trash doesn’t have the same effect as seeing it. Last year, the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), a Culver City-based think tank, sponsored a tour of Puente Hills in an effort to raise awareness about waste. Tickets sold out in minutes. But the landfill doesn’t just process waste. Puente Hills is the largest recycling location in the US, taking more than one million tons per year of recyclable materials.

newton county

3. Newton County Landfill Partnership, Brook, Indiana. 2,692,455 tons.

A stone’s throw from Chicago, Newton County Landfill is responsible for taking a large part of the city’s waste. Chicago residents produce about 1 million tons of trash per year.

Atlantic Waste

4. Atlantic Waste, Waverly, Virginia. 2,669,423 tons.

Virginia’s largest landfill, Atlantic Waste is owned by the trash giant, Waste Management. In 2008 the landfill was fined for some 8,000 gallons of leachate – in other words, garbage juice – which spilled into surrounding wetlands.

Okeechobee

5. Okeechobee, Okeechobee, Florida. 2,640,000 tons.

Surprisingly enough, visitors to Okeechobee won’t just see piles of trash, they’ll also get a view of local wildlife. Of the 4,150 acres that make up the site, 1,550 have been placed in conservation easement, offering visitors a variety of recreation and conservation related activities.

Arapahoe

6. Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site, Aurora, Colorado. 2,561,809 tons.

Colorado’s largest landfill, Denver Araphoe Disposal Site accepts around 12,000 tons of waste per day. But some of that trash is going to good use. In September of 2008, DADS launched its waste-to-energy system to convert methane into electricity. In partnership with the City of Denver, the system generates enough power to fuel about 3,000 homes. (Photos are from adjacent landfill site Lowry, which ceased operations in 1990 and is now part of the waste-to-energy system)

El Sobrante

7. El Sobrante, Corona, California. 2,173,216 tons.

Another landfill owned by Waste Management, El Sobrante works closely with the Wildlife Habitat Council to manage more than 640 acres for the benefit of 31 different species, two of which are endangered.

Rumpke

8. Rumpke Sanitary, Colerain Township, Ohio. 2,128,165 tons.

Located near Cincinnati, Rumpke Sanitary brings in a lot of trash, but like other landfills, is doing its part to put some of it to good use. The landfill site hosts three methane recovery facilities that have the potential to recover approximately 15 million standard cubic feet of landfill gas daily. In total, the facilities produce enough energy to power 25,000 homes.

Frank Bowerman

9. Frank Bowerman, Irvine, California. 2,059,859 tons.

One of California’s largest landfills, Frank Bowerman also boasts the world’s first landfill gas-to-LNG plant. The plant has the capacity to produce 5,000 gallons of LNG per day, which has about the same environmental benefits as taking about 150,000 vehicles off the road per year.

Columbia Ridge

10. Columbia Ridge, Arlington Oregon. 2,050,602 tons.

Columbia Ridge processes waste from all over the Northwest, serving major cities Portland, OR and Seattle, WA.

Photo Credits: D’Arcy Norman, Steve Marcus, Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, WM, Google, Farache, EPA, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Craig Ruttle, n6vhf, Eric Mortenson.

Source:  Waste & Recycling News, WIH Resource Group & Ecosalon

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Groot, an Illinois Waste Management Company Turns to CNG For Fleet


Groot's Mack TerraPro LE (2010Model) Groot’s Mack TerraPro LE (2010 Model) 

Groot Industries Inc., the largest independent solid waste management services provider in the State of Illinois, will add 20 new compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks to its garbage hauling fleet by the end of the year. The vehicle of choice is the Mack Terra Pro LE (model year 2010), selected for its reduced emissions and engine noise, industry suitability and because of the supportive relationship between Groot and Mack, according to Groot Industries Fleet Director, Brian Curry. 

“CNG was an established cheaper alternative to diesel fuel, domestic, and already compliant with 2010 emission requirements without complex exhaust after treatment devices i.e Particulate Filters, and SCR and 50% quieter in operation”, said Curry.

The Mack TerraPro, launched earlier this year, is equipped with a 60 gallon GGE (gasoline gallon equivalent) storage capacity. Curry explained, “On average we use 30 gallons per day of bio-diesel fuel so we anticipate covering our routes without any changes to our operation. CNG engines are very clean engines so we are able to lengthen our oil change intervals, thus reducing overall maintenance cycles. We anticipate a small reduction in fuel economy as compared to a Diesel Engine. This is offset by the overall savings in fuel cost.”

This is Groot’s first venture into CNG-powered vehicles, made possible in part by Federal tax credits and State incentives. “We are also working in partnership with our local Clean Cities Coalition on additional Federal assistance”, added Curry.

Currently servicing more than 250,000 homes every week, the company is also planning to open its own CNG refueling facility in October.

Sources: NGV Global News  & WIH Resource Group

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New York City – Town of Smithtown NY Chooses CNG to Cut Refuse Collection Costs


Faced with rising refuse collection costs, the Town of Smithtown, New York, decided to require its refuse collection contractors to use compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks. It was the first New York municipality to institute such a requirement. On January 1, 2007, the 30 contractor-owned diesel refuse trucks collecting solid waste and recyclables from the town’s 116,000 residents were replaced by 22 CNG models.

Smithtown selected four bidders for seven-year contracts: Brothers Carting, Dejana Industries, Jody Industries, and V. Garafalo Carting. The companies were responsible for buying the new CNG trucks. To offset the higher cost for these trucks versus diesel trucks, the companies had the option of claiming the Federal Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit for up to 80% of the incremental cost. An alliance of local organizations helped the contractors find financing options.

To establish CNG fueling infrastructure, Smithtown partnered with natural gas supplier Clean Energy. With no leasing agreements, access fees, or capital outlay for Smithtown, the contract required Clean Energy to provide the fueling infrastructure and commission local service providers. Because of Smithtown’s new contract with the refuse collectors, Clean Energy had to complete the fueling station in six months–two to four months faster than it usually takes to locate a station, obtain permits, and secure a compressor.

To accomplish this, Clean Energy received permission from the New York Department of Transportation (NYDOT) and Office of General Services to allow expansion of a station in nearby Hauppauge, which Clean Energy already operated for New York State. The Hauppauge expansion supported NYDOT’s goal to increase natural gas use as a vehicle fuel and brought additional revenue to the state of $0.05 per gasoline gallon equivalent. Clean Energy expanded the Hauppauge volumetric gas flow rate from 15 to 2,000 scfm and opened the station within four months.Smithtown entered into an agreement on fuel pricing with Clean Energy through 2013. CNG costs for the refuse trucks started at $2.33 per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) through 2008 and increase each year to conclude at $2.94 per DGE in 2013. The contracted CNG price could decrease if the price differential between diesel and CNG goes above a set threshold.

“Controlling refuse collection costs for town residents was the primary reason Smithtown chose CNG,” explained the coordinator of the Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition. “The commitment from Clean Energy to set a stable fuel price was very important.” Switching to CNG provides environmental and energy-security benefits for Smithtown.

The CNG refuse trucks are projected over the life of the contract to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 265 tons and particulate matter by 15 tons. Smithtown also expects to displace more than 1.5 million DGE of petroleum-based fuel.The benefits are amplified when other towns adopt a similar strategy. Smithtown’s success inspired nearby Brookhaven to plan the deployment of 67 CNG trucks in 2009 in a similar effort.

Clean Cities inspired Smithtown’s move to CNG. In May 2006, Russell Barnett, Smithtown’s Environmental Protection Director, saw a Clean Cities alternative fuel presentation at the Federation of New York Solid Waste Associations Solid Waste/Recycling Conference & Trade Show in Bolton Landing, New York. The presentation persuaded him that CNG was the best choice for Smithtown’s refuse fleet. For more information, contact Russell Barnett.

Source: United States Department of Energy (DOE)

If you have any questions about this news or general questions about our diversified services, please contact Bob Wallace, Principal & VP of Client Solutions at WIH Resource Group and Waste Savings, Inc. at admin@wihrg.com.

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