1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

CNG on a lawn truck?

Discussion in 'Alternative Fuel Forum' started by Maco Services, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Jungle J

    Jungle J LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    CNG fill stations run about $900,000 to $1.5 mill to install. you got to have allot of customers contracted to get these in. Otherswise you may wait for at least 6-14 hours to fill. Propane cost around $10,000 to $20,000 to install and these will fill at rate of gasoline pumps. The tanks will also give you a 90% range of gasoline vs CNG which is about 40%-50% range. It's really not feasable unless you run a long short route of about 40 mile a day. Any longer than that better consider propane. CNG has 3000psi in tanks to overcome and very heavy. Not much weight difference in propane as tanks are lighter and cost less to fill. Faster too! Not to mention the almost doubled range.
  2. thunderthud

    thunderthud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    That is just plain wrong.

    I just installed a CNG fill station for my shop. The cost was no where near $900,000. Heck, my propane filling station was more than $20,000. That $20,000 you quote barely would pay for my LPG tank.

    The bulk of the cost for my CNG station was also subsidized by the gas utility. The cost per gallon of CNG is somewhere around $1.00 versus $1.76 for propane. I'm not quite sure where you get a 40 mile range on CNG, my Freightliner has a much longer range than 40 miles seeing as I drove it 130 miles to my upfitter and it's coming home on the same fill. If I bought a Civic CNG it would certainly go farther than 40 miles per fill up even with the slow fill station in a garage.

    Seeing as I have both CNG and LPG I think I'm in a position to comment on this, though my CNG is very new, and I have a season with the LPG equipment. I think the blanket statements like those above do a dis-service to anyone who is trying to learn the differences, and go to alternative fuels. How about some fact and experience rather than conjecture about the differences. If someone is reading the forum, they may just dismiss CNG because of your baseless statements rather than take the time to learn. The upfront cost for all of the alternative fuel infrastructure is high, and until people figure out how to get the cost down through experience, discussion and acceptance of a unified standard it is going to continue as a niche market.
  3. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    What did you install for a CNG station? Right now I hit the stations in the areas I work the most, Wolpole, West Roxbury, sometimes Middleboro, it would be nice if the MBTA opened theirs up to the public. I'm hoping to have 3-4 cng trucks this spring. By that point it be worth it to have a fill station. What did you pay around?
  4. thunderthud

    thunderthud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    Ingersol Rand. I needed to install my own because I wasn't driving to Tewksbury every day. I wanted to send out my crews with everything they needed on board the truck, and it made sense to refuel them back at the shop. The is never and will never allow any of us on their sites. It would be nice if they did, but it ain't happening in my lifetime. We're stuck with the AVSG locations.

    I'm going to have the Freightliner and the Dixie Choppers only next year. In 2013 I have 4 Hinos that will be replaced, and the hope is to replace them with Freightliner M2 112's on CNG.

    On the smaller trucks I'm waiting for someone like Roush to have a conversion that is factory backed for the smaller trucks.

    Cost: the bulk was picked up by the utility. Total construction cost of the LPG and CNG station was $310,000. We did the site work, the rough plumbing, and the electrical work in-house. I have a fast fill system for the CNG because I know human nature, and they'd forget to fuel the truck overnight. I will overnight fill the trucks, but I needed to be able to fast fill at least one. The bonus to CNG was the fire marshal allowed indoor fueling with the slow fill.

    I needed to install fire suppression, I needed to install the heavy truck bollards on the island, and I needed to locate it in one specific part of my yard because of neighbors and fire marshal required setbacks. We also had to dig back to the gas main and install a new feed to the CNG station. Now I won't have real world data until sometime next year and have some miles on the trucks and mowers.

    It was two years ago when we started knocking around the idea of LPG, and in the course of discussions we discovered CNG should be in the mix. It's taken two years to get to the point where I have the Freightliner CNG in New England being fitted out, the refueling infrastructure in place, and prepared to go next season.
  5. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Messages: 4,350

  6. thunderthud

    thunderthud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    Terry, we're not the public, we're fleet!

    There is a massive difference between what I need, and my software engineer neighbor needs. And he drives a Prius!

    The CNG infrastructure works for my fleet for two reasons:

    1. The local utility actually wanted me to have the infrastructure so they could sell more product.

    2. It is cheaper than propane.

    On my box truck the CNG tank isn't an issue, it did increase the overall length of my truck by two feet, but that wasn't a big issue. I went to 22 foot bodies a few years ago because we weren't using the extra two feet.

    I don't have a Phill station because it doesn't supply enough gas to the truck. But I do have the ability to refuel 6 trucks overnight in my shop. And frankly, the shop and trucks do nothing between the hours of 5pm and 6am, so there is plenty of time for them to drink. Also, the fire marshal allowed indoor refueling of the CNG equipment where LPG is strictly an outdoor affair.

    I bought propane for the mowers because it was cheaper than gas in the long term. I bought the Roush F550 because it made sense to switch the plumber and electrician to a different truck and use propane as a test. Roush didn't have the ability to supply me with a fleet of F150's yet, so we ordered the EcoBoost. I would have bought a CNG conversion as a test for the Chevy's but they only had them for the 2500's which was too much truck for my use.

    My biggest annoyance with propane, aside from Jungle J's mis-information as fact shtick, was the suppliers locally. None of them had a clue. Roush was the most helpful with the process and requirements and in turn, they got to sell a grand total of two trucks. Roush did the hard work and the local supplier will get the revenue and they did all the work.

    Again, I respect you for being here and helping out with information, It would be more useful if we could get some help with refueling equipment, station design, and infrastructure improvements. Until we're doing the work ourselves and not relying on someone to deliver the product to our door, it isn't going to work.

    As I have stated before, if not for the infrastructure in place at the shop, I would not have replaced the mowers with LPG. With only two mowers this year and bottle delivery I wanted to throttle them on a bi-weekly basis.

    How can you help us make the switch? Can we get a massive discount on mower bottles? Can we get a bulk price on fuel as a buying group? What incentives are there from the state and feds to help us convert? BMW offers a $3,500 ECO Credit to get diesel X5's off the lot and get the price down of the units, will Toro, Scag or some other manufacturer do the same? Will the propane council or even Heritage propane underwrite some of the cost of the propane unit versus a gas unit to get more of them out there?

    These are questions that interest me and my bottom line.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011

Share This Page