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CarbonCutter’s trailblazing LNG trucking haul from SLC to S. California - Nov 2011

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  • CarbonCutter’s trailblazing LNG trucking haul from SLC to S. California - Nov 2011

    Hey gang,

    Some of you may know that I recently co-invested in a startup trucking company “CarbonCutter Transport” which owns two Kenworth T800 tractors with the Westport HD 15L GX engine. They are configured as day cabs but we will probably be putting on a sleeper to one rig soon. Both tractors have dual LNG fuel tanks for a total of 112 diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) capacity. As you may know, Peterbuilt and Kenworth produce these LNG trucks as an OEM option and can be ordered at any dealer. The incremental cost is typically $80,000 over a similarly equipped diesel tractor; the concept being that this cost can be recovered over time via fuel savings or, in some situations government incentives could accelerate the recovery. The engine uses some diesel as well as LNG for compression ignition, more on this later.

    Our friends at CH4 Energy recently opened an LNG-CNG station in Salt Lake City at a great location for trucking, just off where I-15 and I-80 meet at a Flying J truck stop off the 900 West exit of the 2100 South Freeway. For those of you who don’t know about this station, it is the fastest CNG fill you will find – and of course it is the only LNG fill for hundreds of miles.

    So last week on Wednesday Nov 16th we decided to go for it… make an LNG run from Salt Lake City to Orange County California with one of our trucks (note the other truck is being used to pull 120,000 lb double-tankers of crude oil and refined fuels around Utah – how is that for ironic?). We hauled a 53 ft trailer full of cabinets for a new Deseret Book store in Santa Ana so our load was rather light, grossing at 48,000 lbs. The truck would have to refuel in Las Vegas or risk having to make it all the way to the next station in Barstow, which is 590 miles one way from Salt Lake City.

    Clean Energy (CE) is just now building a permanent LNG refueling station in Las Vegas but for now they have mobile fueling station on the property, see photo attached. It is 425 miles from the Salt Lake City LNG station to the Vegas CE LNG station. Calling ahead we were assured that the mobile system was operational so with a CE card in hand our driver set out.

    The truck left SLC early, had good weather and arrived early afternoon in Las Vegas with about 3/8 tank remaining. The CE station here is near the UPS depot and not far from the McCarran Airport. Due to construction it was difficult to get to, but under normal circumstances this will eventually become a convenient location for trucks along I-15. There is an attendant there to fuel the trucks from 6am to 9pm weekdays only. Payment is by CE card only. The fuel was cold, we got a good fill and the rig was out of there within 10 minutes and back on the road again.

    Our driver skipped the Barstow LNG station as the tanks were still quite full, and we had not gotten our Applied LNG Fuels (ALT) refueling card yet (Barstow does accept Visa / Mastercard too). He spent the night at Victorville as he was out of hours and then headed into the LA area late morning. He also skipped Ontario UPS station (note Ontario only accepts the ALT card).

    Thankfully the traffic was not bad in LA, and the load was delivered that afternoon. Our driver found a load back to SLC via an online load board service broker. Now get this… the load ended up being was 24 pallets of Doritos Nacho Cheese chips. He got this light load (only 4100 lbs!) hooked up and head to the CE station in Long Beach. Unfortunately our card was only good for CNG, not LNG so they politely pointed us in the direction of Speedy Fuel a few blocks up the street.

    Speedy Fuel does a banner business with two LNG lanes filling single-tank short chassis port tractors with the 8.9L Cummins Westport ISL-G engine. So when our truck pulled in there the attendants were blown away with our large tractor and 53’ load. They guy asked “what is with the two fuel ports?” so our driver answered “well, it’s because I have two tanks.” After hooking up to the first one the attendant took off to the convenience store to get his boss so as to check out our rig. Soon there were three guys standing around this truck, with one saying “wow, that is one bad-ass machine!” No one could believe the truck made it all the way from Salt Lake City.

    Leaving Long Beach at 5pm was the unfortunate timing of this run. The 405 was slow but once he got to the 605 things moved pretty well. He again stayed the night in Victorville, and drove all the way back that next day, with a stop again in Las Vegas with about 1/2 tank remaining. There was about 3/8 remaining when in the tank when the truck arrived in SLC.

    The trip was approx. 1600 miles; we used 234 diesel gallon equivalents of LNG fuel and 28 gallons of diesel pilot fuel for a combined diesel/LNG run fuel economy of just over 6 miles per gallon. Total fuel expense was just over $600 so it was about $2.10 per DGE of the natural gas. It would have been over $1,100 if we had done this run on diesel for a fuel savings of $490 -- or better than half the cost. We estimate a 10% of the fuel used was diesel pilot, although this might be a little high as there was considerable idling (the Westport engine generally consumes all diesel in this state).

    Correct me if I am wrong, but as best we can determine this is the first time anyone has made the run down the new I-15 LNG corridor. Must admit our driver was kind of stressed for this first run but now that we know where the stations are and the fuel required for the Westport HD system he is fine with future trips.

    We might be doing some more runs soon so stay tuned,
    John
    Attached Files
    Last edited by John Mitton; 11-25-2011, 10:11 PM. Reason: Added some links

  • #2
    Re: CarbonCutter’s trailblazing LNG trucking haul from SLC to S. California - Nov 201

    "Cool" story John. I hope for your continued success. I can't wait for my box van.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: CarbonCutter’s trailblazing LNG trucking haul from SLC to S. California - Nov 201

      I am glad to hear the trip went well. UPS is also recently started running the I-15 from Las Vegas, NV to Ontario, CA with their new GX fleet, but you guys went much further!

      The GX typically has ~5% diesel injection, but as you mentioned the percentage of diesel is higher at idle, wheras increases in engine demand will only yield increases in NG volume keeping the diesel volume fairly stable throughout the engine duty cycle. Losses from venting during fueling can play a significant factor as well depending on the stations utilized.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: CarbonCutter’s trailblazing LNG trucking haul from SLC to S. California - Nov 201

        Right. We found that UPS is now frequenting the Las Vegas LNG station as is CR England. All of the trucks are single-tank so this would indicate that our run was the first all the way from SLC to Southern California.

        Starting up the Westport GX can require some lengthy idle times, especially now in the colder seasons, as the engine warms up on diesel prior to hitting the road on LNG. No doubt some of the higher-than-expected 12% diesel ratio (234 diesel gallon equivalents of LNG fuel and 28 gallons of diesel) was caused by the startup idle requirement. We got very good cold fills at each station excepting the final fill when arriving back at SLC where the fuel was rather warm -- the tanks started venting right away. So this probably affected the final ratio as there was probably less LNG dispensed than normal.

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        • #5
          Re: CarbonCutter’s trailblazing LNG trucking haul from SLC to S. California - Nov 201

          A couple months ago I met Michael .. a Taiwanese living here in Henderson, NV and eastern China at the Sunset Rd CNG station. His company in China does diesel conversions to LNG for a quoted $30k/ unit. He claimed a three month payback. His company, Keen motors was doing a deal for conversions in Arkansas. His email which I tried once with no response: michael@keenmotor.com I knew CA had 20 some LNG stations, but Clean energy here in Vegas ?? and StL?? Thanks for all the details carboncutter. I calculate at a $500 savings per trip, you recoup your $80K in 160 trips or 250,000 miles??? !! Boone Pickens is making 100,000 gallons of LNG a day in Houston, storing 800,000 and shipping as far as Phoenix. Do you get more miles / less maintenance on your LNG diesels? Ed P

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          • #6
            Re: CarbonCutter’s trailblazing LNG trucking haul from SLC to S. California - Nov 201

            The best estimates I've seen suggest that a fully utilized over the road truck will consume 20,000 gallons of diesel a year. At a $2 per gallon differential between diesel and LNG, that's $40K a year.

            You get the payback in 2 years or less. Then, for the next 8 years of the truck's life, you get a $40K a year return on your initial investment. Normally, a rate of return like this will land you in the pokey for usury.

            The key, of course, is the fueling infrastructure. Build it, and they will come...

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            • #7
              Re: CarbonCutter’s trailblazing LNG trucking haul from SLC to S. California - Nov 201

              I'm crunching those numbers and agree. Seems like simple math and an easy conclusion. and big bucks for the entrepreneur. BUT, do you also get other ancillary benefits?? extended engine life?? less maintenance?? longer TBO's? for most big rigs 20,000 gallons a year is very conservative?? I await your followups and tales of daily idiosynchronicities/ logistics / costs thanks, epyle

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: CarbonCutter’s trailblazing LNG trucking haul from SLC to S. California - Nov 201

                Long haul trucking will never be the same, the major truck lines should be all over this like stink on a stick.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: CarbonCutter’s trailblazing LNG trucking haul from SLC to S. California - Nov 201

                  We are discussing our LNG trucks right now on Curtis' web show:
                  http://cngchat.com/forum/showthread....-radio-show!!!

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