City of Tucson, an Early CNG Adopter, Planning Upgrades

Posted by NGT Staff on May 18, 2015 No Comments
Categories : Up Front

The City of Tucson, Ariz., is refurbishing its existing compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in order to modernize the facility and to accommodate the continued expansion of the city's CNG vehicle fleet.

TruStar Energy, under contract from Arizona-based D.L. Withers Construction, will handle the construction of the station refurbishment, intended to give the existing 20-year-old station a complete facelift. TruStar says this will update the current station's 3,000 psi fueling system to the newer industry standard of 3,600 psi, as well as develop a 90-truck time-fill fueling area, allowing for more capacity and faster fueling.
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‘The existing plant is at the end of its useful life, and city administrators felt it was time to upgrade, given our intention to continue our fleet migration to CNG,’ says Brian Conte, the city's senior engineering associate. ‘We currently have 45 CNG transit buses fueling and have plans to expand our refuse collection fleet to 90 trucks – so the station upgrade is essential.’
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Tucson was an early adopter of CNG as a replacement fuel for diesel, and TruStar says the 20-year-old station has witnessed many growing pains relating to earlier engine designs and fueling system components.
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“The station originally was designed around the transit fleet,” explains Conte, adding that other lighter-duty vehicles were brought into the mix. “Early on, we had third-party engine retrofits which provided us with “dual fuel' vehicles, but they weren't really reliable and we eventually moved away from those. The payback was seen with the heavier vehicles that used a lot more fuel.”
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“Tucson represents a perfect case in the long-term viability of CNG as a sustainable replacement fuel for diesel,” comments TruStar Energy President and CEO Adam Comora. “Tucson took a chance on CNG 20 years ago and it was the right decision, as they are back to upgrade and expand their original vision.”
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TruStar says the station's existing fast-fueling dispensers, compressors and dryers will be replaced with new systems, including Ariel compressors, ANGI-Gilbarco fast-fill dispensers and a PSB gas dryer. In addition, a time-fill parking area will be installed to allow for the fueling of the city's expanding CNG-powered garbage truck fleet, responsible for providing trash collection for both residential and commercial customers.
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“We currently have automated side loaders that handle the residential routes, front loaders that cater to commercial customers, and rear loaders designed to pick up both commercial and residential trash,” says Conte, who adds that CNG-powered trash trucks will replace older units when they retire from service.
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The contract to refurbish Tucson's station was awarded to D.L. Withers Construction, a general contractor that builds commercial projects throughout Arizona. TruStar Energy, a developer of compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling infrastructure, was contracted through D.L. Withers to handle the CNG construction phase of the project.
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“At the end of the day, it comes down to developing fleet fueling strategies that make fiscal sense – and Tucson's long history with natural gas is a testament to the validity of CNG,” says Comora. “We're excited to partner with D.L. Withers Construction and look forward to the completion of this project, scheduled for the first quarter of 2016.”

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