Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

Linen Supply Fleet Adopts CNG, Propane Vehicles

September 2014, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

by Shelley Mika

Since 1930, Mission Linen Supply has expanded its business beyond linen and uniform rentals to include the service and sale of apparel, mats, and janitorial products. The family-owned business applies this same focus on growth to its green initiatives.

Its first initiative was to install heat exchangers and water recirculating systems in its plant — from there, the company’s sustainability efforts trickled down to the fleet.

“We, as a company, have been working toward being environmentally friendly for years. We started at our plant level with heat exchangers and water recirculating systems, and it has worked its way down to the fleet level,” said Christopher Mitchell, fleet manager for Mission Linen.

Adding More Alt-Fuel Models
With nearly 500 step vans, 75 bobtails, 25 tractors, and 60 trailers in operation, the company recently expanded its alt-fuel fleet by adding 28 compressed natural gas (CNG) and six propane autogas step vans. All replaced gasoline-powered step vans will be used to handle pick-ups and deliveries.

For the propane-autogas-powered step vans, Mission Linen chose ROUSH CleanTech Ford E-450 models.

The company’s choice of ROUSH CleanTech Ford E-450 models reflects its reason for investing in an alt-fuel fleet overall: lower emissions and more affordable fuel.

“Going green is a major driver at Mission Linen,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech. “The fact that the company can reduce its operating costs while using a clean, domestic fuel source tipped the scale in the direction of propane autogas.”

Mission Linen’s use of its new CNG step vans will result in an 80-percent NOx reduction and a 20-percent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction over previous gasoline-powered trucks. The company plans to save on fuel, too.

“In the short time we have had the CNG step vans in service we are showing a 19 cents per mile savings overall,” Mitchell said. “CNG achieves nearly identical mileage when compared to gasoline but will likely save you 20 to 30 percent when refueling.”

The propane-autogas vehicles also burn cleaner and emit fewer emissions: up to 25-percent reduction in GHG emissions, a 20-percent reduction in NOx emissions, and up to a 60-percent reduction in carbon monoxide emissions.

Taking Critical Steps
To incorporate the new alt-fuel vehicles into its fleet, Mission Linen took three important steps:

  • Ensure the engine was built to handle CNG and propane autogas fuel systems.
  • Verify there was a certified shop in the area to perform maintenance.
  • Locate fill stations close to company plants and along drivers’ routes.

Mitchell said having more than one local fill site and certified technicians to work on the vehicles was critical to incorporating the alt-fuel models into the fleet.

So far, Mission Linen has found success with its alt-fuel fleet, accomplishing both goals of reducing its carbon footprint and improving fuel spend.

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