Compressed natural gas provides a resilient alternative

By Briana DeRosa, Clean Cities University Workforce Development Intern, Tampa Bay Clean Cities Coalition

Compressed natural gas provides light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles with about the same fuel economy as a conventional gasoline vehicle, while producing 10 times fewer emissions. When stored, CNG is compressed to less than 1 percent of its volume. It is transported over pipelines that are less affected by severe weather events compared to delivery channels for petroleum fuels, making CNG more resilient to fuel supply interruptions caused by natural disasters. A mobile compressor at the Clearwater site is an example of portable fueling infrastructure that supplements permanent equipment, allowing the fueling resources to be relocated based on need.

Tampa Bay Clean Cities Coalition (TBCCC) partnered with Clearwater Gas System and the City of Clearwater Soliday Waste/Recycling Department this summer to present a virtual tour of one of the first public, compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations in the Tampa Bay area. The webinar featuring Executive Director of Clearwater Gas System Chuck Warrington, Assistant Director of Clearwater Gas System Brian Langille and Director of Clearwater Solid Waste and General Services Earl Gloster, guides viewers through the station and shares the benefits of CNG and the buildings’ operation.

Initially opened in 2011, the station supports more than 130 vehicles per month, providing CNG to the public and to private fleets including Waste Pro and Verizon Frontier. The station also boasts one of the lower fuel prices per gallon gasoline equivalent (GGE) in the state of Florida ($1.52 GGE).

“We’re very proud to have offered this alternative energy source to the City of Clearwater, the citizens of Clearwater, and the surrounding communities,” Warrington said. “This provides lower cost fuel for our customers.”

Clearwater Gas System partnered with the City of Clearwater Solid Waste Department in 2011 to convert one refuse truck to CNG and has since converted all 73 solid waste trucks and a total of 116 vehicles, including light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles. This partnership has been a proven success story, as Gloster points out: “We’re running cleaner, we’re running greener and our maintenance costs have been cut by at least a third using compressed natural gas vehicles.”

The station celebrated its tenth anniversary, in October, and has plans to increase capacity with additional equipment updates. Station renovations will increase filling from a rate of 13-gallon equivalents per minute to over 20 gallons per minute and will include a higher capacity compressor as well as a backup generator to support the electronics.

Briana DeRosa

Visit fuelsfix.com to take a virtual tour of Clearwater Gas System’s CNG station.

Briana DeRosa is a recent graduate from the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability with a M.A. in Energy. Fueled by her passion for energy efficiency, she has been working with Tampa Bay Clean Cities Coalition since August 2020, managing social media communications and helping plan and facilitate events.

 

 

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