PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced plans to introduce legislation to the Pittsburgh City Council to make city refuse trucks “greener,” thanks to a pilot partnership with EQT Corp. and the receipt of a $500,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA). The grant will assist Pittsburgh in purchasing four new refuse trucks that will run on compressed natural gas (CNG).

City workers will fuel up at EQT’s recently opened, public-access CNG fueling station located at Smallman Street.

“Switching the trucks to natural gas will improve local air quality, decrease the region’s reliance on imported fuel and reduce the city’s operating costs by nearly $40,000 per year," Ravenstahl said. "In addition, this pilot project will continue our efforts to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, and will allow us to see how effective this change in fuel could be for the city’s remaining refuse trucks.”

Two of the four trucks will be purchased with grant funds at a cost of $500,000, and the other two will be purchased by matching funds provided by the city. Pittsburgh’s partnership with EQT is one of 12 projects across the state selected by PEDA to receive a share of $3.7 million to develop and implement clean energy projects. Each grant recipient will provide matching funds of various amounts.

"These innovative projects now have the funding to be implemented," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "They will bring measurable energy efficiency and decreased air emissions; and some, like Pittsburgh's natural gas-powered waste-hauling trucks, will serve as a model for other cities and states looking to implement cleaner-burning fuels."

Ravenstahl has also sought the use of biodiesel fuel to make the city's fleet more environmentlaly friendly, and 80 refuse trucks currently run on 5-percent biodiesel (B5) fuel. In addition, Pittsburgh, in partnership with Fossil-Free Fuel and Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities, is currently working on converting all Public Works dump trucks to 100 percent biodiesel (B100). To accommodate that conversion, Public Works Division 2 plans to install a biodiesel tank at its facilities.