The City and County of Denver will build a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station at one of its main maintenance shops to support seven CNG refuse trucks the Department of Public Works Fleet Maintenance currently has on order.

Three companies are competing for the opportunity to be the contractor for the CNG fueling station: TruStar Energy, Mansfield, and Clean Energy. The City will announce the contractor upon negotiating contracts with the selected company. Public Works Project Manager Patrick Riley said they hope to reveal the contractor within a few weeks.

The department worked with RNL Engineering to establish the design requirements of the station. It will contain 68 time-filled heads to support six hour fills and two fast-fill heads, which take five to eight minutes to fill. In the meantime, the CNG trash trucks will travel to a nearby station to fill up.

“The trucks will be coming in by the end of July, and the station should be complete in January 2014,” said Felix Espinoza, interim director of fleet maintenance for Denver Public Works.

The City used funds from a $600,000 grant it received from the petroleum company Encana to purchase the Peterbilt 320 Barrel Loader refuse trucks. The added cost of each CNG vehicle is $38,735.

According to Espinoza, the governor of Colorado labeled converting to CNG a top priority and as the capital of Colorado, the City and County of Denver government wanted to make progress on the project.

“Overall, Denver is very conscious of the way we utilize our fleet and fuel sources,” Espinoza said.

On average, CNG will produce a savings of $2 per gallon with an expected savings of $8,000 per truck annually. Additionally, the City expects to reduce the use of diesel by 2,330 gallons per month with the seven trucks that arrive in July.

“We would like to add an additional five vehicles per year for the next five years, giving us a total of 32 CNG trucks by 2018,” Espinoza explained. “This would be a conversion of 28% of our fleet of 115 refuse trucks.”

By Kirsti Correa