LAS VEGAS --- Mack Trucks Inc. announced June 10 the availability of natural gas-powered engines for refuse applications.  

Mack officials made the announcement at a news conference here during WasteExpo 2009. 

The MACK TerraPro Low Entry model is now available for order with heavy-duty natural gas engines supplied by Cummins Westport. The TerraPro Cabover model will be available later. The 9-liter Cummins Westport ISL G is rated at 320 hp, can use compressed (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG), and has a three-way catalytic converter to meet the EPA's 10 emissions standards.  

Groot Industries Inc., a major waste hauler in the Midwest, has already placed an order for MACK TerraPro Low Entry models with ISL G engines. The 20 units will run on CNG and are scheduled to go into service in the Chicago area by the end of the year.

"Refuse companies these days are expected to be environmental leaders in their communities," said Brian Curry, director of fleet and facilities for Groot Industries. "We look for ways to serve customers with the cleanest and most efficient trucks available, which is why we were so interested in Mack's natural gas solution. Our Mack TerraPros will help us reduce emissions and our carbon footprint, as well as lessening the U.S.'s dependence on foreign oil."

Mack officials have seen a growing number of municipalities mandate alternative fuel vehicles as a condition of contracts with refuse haulers.

"Natural gas has a number of significant benefits," said Tom Kelly, Mack senior vice president of product portfolio management. "It burns very cleanly, there is an abundant supply here in North America, and it's comparable to diesel in terms of cost over the life of the vehicle."

Kelly also emphasized that the Mack trucks have been specifically engineered and built to operate on natural gas -- an important advantage over aftermarket conversions. The ISL G engine is installed on the production line at the Mack Macungie Assembly Operations plant. And each truck comes with a full factory warranty.