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UPS pushes ahead with gas propulsion

CNG and LNG vehicles and infrastructure in line for big investment


UPS has announced a US$90 million (A$117 million) investment in gas trucks and filling stations in North America.

The US-headquartered delivery firm is to build an additional six compressed natural gas (CNG) fuelling stations and add 390 new CNG prime movers and terminal trucks and 50 liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles to its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet.

US reports name the prime movers as Kenworth T680s using CNG and LNG, Freightliner Cascadias using CNG and Rico terminal trucks using CNG.

The company, which appears to announce increases to its gas-powered fleet quite regularly, says the move “further cements its leadership in the alternative fuel market while continuing to reduce its environmental footprint”.

“With more than 4,400 natural gas vehicles and a network of fuelling stations, UPS has had great results using natural gas as an alternative fuel in our fleet,” UPS senior vice president global engineering and sustainability Mark Wallace says.

“We know the importance of investing in natural gas globally for our fleet and the alternative fuel market.

“In 2016, we used more than 61 million gallons [231 million litres] of natural gas in our ground fleet, which included 4.6 million gallons of renewable natural gas.

“This helped us to avoid the use of conventional gas and diesel, and decreased CO2 emissions by 100,000 metric tons.”

The six new CNG stations will be built in: Ontario, California; Orlando, Florida; Salina, Kansas; Louisville, Kentucky; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Vancouver in Canada’s British Columbia.

Renewable natural gas (RNG), or biomethane, will be used at the station in Ontario to fuel UPS vehicles in the area with renewable compressed natural gas (RCNG).

In 2016, UPS invested US$100 million in CNG fuelling stations and vehicles.

UPS currently operates 31 CNG fueling stations in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, and West Virginia and runs CNG vehicles in 38 states in the US in addition to vehicles in Germany, the Netherlands and Thailand. 

The use of natural gas reduces greenhouse gas emissions six to 11 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.¹

RNG, also known as biomethane, can be derived from many abundant and renewable sources, including decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment and agriculture. It is then distributed through the natural gas pipeline system, making it available for use as liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG).

Biomethane is the renewable gas UK grocer Waitrose has chosen for its green transport needs.

UPS also purchased 50 additional LNG vehicles that were deployed – in Indianapolis, Indiana; Chicago, Illinois; Earth City, Missouri; and Nashville, Tennesee – where UPS has existing LNG stations.

The company says it has driven more than 1 billion miles since 2000 with its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet.

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