Natural gas vehicle use is increasing across North America as fleets seek to reduce their fuel costs, lower the emissions impact of their operations, and capture benefits such as quieter vehicle operation and the ability to operate on renewable natural gas produced from waste sources.
Both compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles are being purchased with most new natural gas vehicles being medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses which are available as factory-built vehicles from all major vehicle manufacturers.
One of the fastest growing areas of natural gas vehicle use is for refuse trucks. These vehicles typically have CNG fuel systems and are often refueled at private fleet sites using time fill stations where all vehicles are refueled simultaneously overnight. Another high growth area is natural gas highway tractors. These vehicles may have either CNG or LNG fuel systems. Refueling may be from private stations or from public cardlock stations for fleets.
The codes and standards for CNG vehicles and stations are well-established in Canada. Station Permitting Guidelines have been developed for each of Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Québec to give fleets a better idea of what is involved with having a CNG station design reviewed and approved by a provincial Authority Having Jurisdiction.
The codes and standards for LNG vehicles are still evolving. Canada will have its own LNG refueling code with the addition of Annex D to CSA Z276 – LNG Production, Storage and Handling.
Factory-built medium and heavy natural gas vehicles have their CNG or LNG fuel system installation done by an authorized third party that holds the National Safety Mark (NSM) for fuel system installations. These vehicles are under the jurisdiction of Transport Canada. For new factory-built vehicles, there is no requirement for Canada Registration Numbers (CRNs) on the fuel cylinders or pressure components of the fuel system. A summary of factory-built versus aftermarket vehicles is available. Also available is a summary of Canadian Compliance Requirements for vehicle manufacturers.