The California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership has recognized the actions of North America’s largest shipping ports – Los Angeles and Long Beach – to officially upgrade the commercially available, near-zero-emission (NZE) heavy-duty natural gas trucks to the highest Technology Readiness Level – TRL 9 – in their Feasibility Assessment for Drayage Trucks.
The feasibility assessment was first published by the ports in March 2019 as a means to evaluate the feasibility of various zero-emission (ZE) and NZE drayage truck fuel-technology platforms based on four key parameters: commercial availability, operational feasibility, infrastructure availability and economic workability. NZE natural gas trucks are the first technology in the ports’ assessment to achieve the TRL 9 rating. The assessment plays an integral role in the forward strategy of the port’s Clean Truck Program.
The upgraded rating was achieved following the successful demonstration of 20 natural gas trucks (powered by the Cummins Westport ISX12N NZE engine) in daily drayage operations with Total Transportation Services (TTSI), NFI, CR&R, Pacific 9 Transportation, 4Gen, Green Fleet Systems and Orange Avenue Express. The demonstration trucks – designed for the 80,000 lbs gross combined weight rating typical in drayage – accumulated 567,603 miles running between the ports and distribution centers throughout Southern California. Since completing the demonstration, the demonstration trucks have surpassed 1 million miles of operation.
“In our experience, NZE natural gas trucks are the closest direct replacement for diesel trucks in terms of their power and speed, the 600-mile range they provide between refueling, the ability to fast-fuel in about 10 or 15 minutes and their ability to compete on a cost-per-mile basis,” says Vic LaRosa, president and CEO of TTSI.
“Our fleet has been operating NZE natural gas trucks reliably and cost-effectively for several years and plans to continue our investment based on the proven results and ROI we’ve achieved,” he adds.
The demonstration, led by Clean Energy and Cummins Westport, was conducted under a grant (GFO-16-604) provided by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD).
When NZE natural gas trucks are fueled with renewable natural gas (RNG), significant reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can also be achieved. In California, more than 75% of the natural gas vehicle fuel being used is renewable, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program data (Q1-Q3 2019).
Photo: To read the Feasibility Assessment for Drayage Trucks, click here