Clean Energy Fuels Corp. said it has reached agreements with fleet customers to buy or lease more than 250 new natural gas trucks through its Zero Now program.
The program helps carriers purchase new trucks with the Cummins Westport ultra-low NOx ISX12N natural gas engine at nearly the same cost as diesel models. Zero Now also allows fleets to purchase Clean Energy’s “Redeem” renewable natural gas (RNG) at a fixed discount to diesel fuel.
“We are seeing the first signs of success of fleets taking advantage of our Zero Now truck financing program which is encouraging,” Andrew Littlefair, Clean Energy’s president and CEO, said in the company’s quarterly earnings statement issued May 9.
Clean Energy is planning to offer Redeem at all of its fueling stations by 2025. Redeem provides at least a 70% reduction in carbon emissions when displacing diesel or gasoline.
It is created by capturing biomethane derived entirely from organic waste sources and is available in either comprised natural gas (CNG) or liquified natural gas (LNG) forms. The company's 2025 timetable to achieve zero-carbon intensity is 20 years ahead of California’s 2045 goal of transforming the state’s power supply to 100% renewable.
RNG “has the proven ability to meet fleet duty cycles, be cost effective and be carbon-negative today,” said Chad Lindholm, vice president of Clean Energy.
At last month’s Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, called natural gas only an "interim solution" on the path toward zero emissions. In an e-mail to Fleet Owner, Lindholm had a different assessment.
“Natural gas vehicles have the cleanest well-to-wheels emissions profile of any fuel on the market today,” he said. “Fleets increasingly are putting more natural gas trucks on the road because they represent a long-term fuel strategy that benefits the country, the environment and the bottom line.”
Lindholm added: “When and if other fuels and technologies such as electric, hydrogen, solar become commercially available, these should be added to the portfolio mix.”
Clean Energy has 530 stations across North America. Redeem volume grew by 40% to 110 million gasoline gallons equivalents (GGEs) for 2018.
“Clean Energy is committed not just to sourcing the cleanest fuel available but being the fastest to get to zero emissions,” said Ashley White, Clean Energy’s head of sustainability.
Overall, 32% of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles in 2018 was RNG, according to research from Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) and the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas.
The groups said going back five years, RNG use as a transportation fuel has increased 577%. Clean Energy said these figures will grow further as more fleets take delivery of natural gas trucks through the Zero Now program, including Kenan Advantage Group, TTSI, Freight Line Express, Supra National Express and Romans Trucking.
Los Angeles International Airport and the county of Sacramento are among non-trucking customers that are already using Redeem fuel for buses and other service vehicles.
During ACT Expo, a number of companies showed the latest in natural gas transportation technologies.
That included SoCalGas, the largest U.S. natural gas utility, which displayed the Ingevity Ford F-150, which operates at significantly lower fueling pressure than standard CNG vehicles, refilling at 900 psi instead of 3600 psi.
SoCalGas also shared information with attendees on the Carl Moyer incentive program, which offers up to $100,000 for the purchase of new near-zero emissions natural gas trucks. It offers a “try before you buy” program, allowing fleet customers to test drive for up to two weeks before making a permanent commitment.
SoCalGas said it is committed to replacing 20% of its traditional natural gas supply with RNG by 2030.