City staff first began investigating a transition from oil-based fuels to CNG in 2013. In 2018, the city agreed to lease the land as part of a long-term partnership with Trillium. In return, Trillium agreed to build the station and fund the $3 million in construction costs, with the help of a $300,000 Drive Clean Chicago grant secured in 2016. In addition, the city’s refuse and recycling contractor, Groot Industries, agreed to a long-term gas purchase agreement with Trillium, making the project more viable for all parties involved.
“A CNG station has been in the city’s plans for several years,” says Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico. “While much has changed in the world this year, Naperville’s commitment to sustainable initiatives has not. Our city fleet and community as a whole will benefit from this station for years to come, and I commend everyone for working together to bring this project to a successful completion.”
The station, which is unmanned and open on a 24-hour basis, features multiple CNG dispensers for light- and heavy-duty fueling. In addition to use by city vehicles, refuse trucks from Groot and other CNG fleets operating in and around Naperville, the station will also be available to the public. Naperville’s vehicle fleet currently includes three vehicles that run on CNG, as well as five propane, 11 electric and 16 hybrid vehicles. Groot will transition 22 of its 75 contractor vehicles from diesel fuel to CNG over the next three years, with the goal of 30% of its fleet running on CNG by 2022.
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony with representatives from Groot, Chicago Area Clean Cities and Trillium is tentatively planned for spring of 2021 pending COVID-19 restrictions.
Photo: Naperville’s recently opened CNG station