Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

Kansas City Adding New CNG Trucks to Fleet

August 10, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - The City of Kansas City recently took delivery of one of the first of a total of 19 heavy-duty compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks being placed into service this year.

The city received a federal grant through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program to help pay for the CNG system, according to Sam Swearngin, fleet administrator for Kansas City. The CNG truck is an International 4300 storm water utility truck application.

Though the fleet also uses other available alternative fuels including propane, ethanol, biodiesel, hybrid-electric, and plug-in electric, CNG "displaces more foreign oil derived fuels than all the others combined," said Swearngin.

"We use CNG for a number of reasons. First of all, we want vehicles that are safe and perform as well as traditional vehicles. Secondly, we want the lowest emissions possible, and finally, we want a secure, domestically produced fuel that will be affordable over the long haul and offer price stability, to get us off the roller coaster of petroleum fuels. For us, the move to CNG has proven to be a good choice," Swearngin explained.

City fleet technicians, supervisors, and superintendents recently received training for the new truck from the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. The training involved three full days of class and hands-on learning.

The training covered:

  • Understanding the properties of compressed natural gas and how it compares to other fuels.
  • Purpose and function of compressed natural gas vehicle components.
  • Recognizing the proper installation guidelines and identifying component damage.
  • Compressed natural gas safety.
  • Cylinder inspection.

While the CNG truck is similar to traditionally fueled models, Swearngin said there are two noticeable differences between CNG trucks and traditional trucks. "First, the CNG fuel tanks are bigger, heavier and required more space on the vehicle. Second, filling the CNG truck's fuel tank is different. It's like a heavy-duty air chuck that snaps on the truck's inlet nozzle," Swearngin explained.

Kansas City was pleased to have worked with truck body company Mobile Hydraulics Equipment Co. (MHE) on the new trucks. "As with just about all 'first of vehicles', there are usually delays. And there was with this project, but MHE rolled with the flow and was very supportive," noted Swearngin.

CNG Truck Specs

Cab and Chassis Make and Model: International 4300
CNG Engine Make and Model: ESI Phoenix 7.6L 265HP, 820ft.lb @ 1400 RPM
CNG Fuel Tank Package: Enviromech -60 dge (diesel gallon equivalent) minimum (dge = scf /139); 4-cylinder system
Application: Storm Water Utility Truck

 

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