Canada was an early leader with innovative vehicle and station technology developers and ground-breaking codes and standards work supporting the establishment and growth of the worldwide natural gas vehicle industry. These strengths also helped to create a strong industry in Canada with many leading companies who compete in the global marketplace including Westport Innovations, IMW Industries, Cummins Westport, Kraus Global, Dynetek Industries, FTI International, Viridis Technologies, and Powertech Labs.
Following more than three decades of early stage development and growth, the Canadian market for natural gas vehicles is now experiencing a major renaissance with fleets taking advantage of having a choice of fuels and of having a wide range of factory-built trucks and buses available from leading North American manufacturers. Natural gas use is reducing operating costs and lessening the environmental impact of the following leading fleets:
One of Canada’s largest for-hire trucking fleets, Robert Transport, has added natural gas trucks to the growing list of green technologies in use in its fleet. The Robert Transport project involves 180 Peterbilt 386 liquefied natural gas (LNG) highway tractors traveling between Boucherville, Quebec, and Mississauga, Ontario. The fleet has warehouses with in-yard, private refueling stations in both communities. The lower emission trucks travel along the Highway 401 and Autoroute 20 corridor. The LNG trucks represent about 15% of the Robert Transport fleet and are currently dedicated to this route.
Vedder Transport is the largest hauler of raw milk in Canada. This for-hire fleet based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, now operates 50 Peterbilt 386 LNG highway tractors representing about 15% of its fleet. The trucks refuel at a private LNG station in the Vedder yard. Each truck emits about 70 tonnes less carbon per year compared to a diesel truck. Fuel savings exceed $0.30 per diesel litre equivalent. Vedder can now market its LNG trucks as a green service for its customers as these are the lowest emission highway tractors on the road.
Calgary-based company Ferus Inc. is a major supplier to the energy industry providing liquid nitrogen and liquid carbon dioxide for well stimulation, completion, and enhanced oil recovery. In March 2012, Ferus became the first company in Alberta to deploy an LNG tractor. The Peterbilt tractor has a 700 kilometer range and is used to haul loads of more than 60,000 kilograms. After a nine month period to gain experience, Ferus intends to expand its use of LNG and eventually replace all of its diesel tractors with LNG tractors. Ferus has been able to reduce its fuel costs by $0.25/diesel litre equivalent without factoring in available fuel tax savings.
Waste Management has two natural gas collection truck projects in Canada each of which involves more than 20 CNG trucks. One of the projects is operating in Coquitlam, British Columbia, and the other one is planned for Ottawa, Ontario. Waste Management is the largest operator of natural gas refuse collection trucks in North America. The company estimates that it has 1,400 natural gas trucks in its fleet. Based on the economic and environmental benefits for Waste Management, the company has made a commitment to purchase 80% of all of its new vehicles as factory-built natural gas trucks.
With CNG stations and CNG fleets in Winnipeg, Manitoba as well as British Columbia’s Capital Regional District and Chilliwack, Emterra Environmental has established itself as a leader in the use of alternative green fleet technologies. Through its initial investment in Winnipeg, Emterra developed the largest fleet of CNG collection trucks in the world operating in an extreme cold weather climate. This opportunity also enabled Emterra to develop the most extensive experience operating CNG equipment within extreme cold weather.
As an organization that is dedicated to efficiency and mitigating the environmental impact of its operations, Emterra plans to further expand its CNG fleet and network of private and public CNG fuelling stations across Canada. Over the next year, Emterra will roll out even more CNG trucks in British Columbia and Ontario. As part of its launch in Ontario, Emterra will develop a CNG refuelling station, a new fleet of 100+ CNG trucks, and a CNG-certified truck maintenance centre in Mississauga, Ontario. This location will be a CNG Service Hub, the first of its kind in Canada that will feature fast fuelling, a CNG-certified maintenance shop, a CNG-certified drive through wash bay and a CNG-certified paint booth. CNG fleet owners/operators will be provided with a diesel-like experience, if not better, at this CNG Service Hub.
By the end of 2015, 25 per cent of Emterra’s fleet across Canada will be CNG-powered, making it one of the largest CNG fleets in Canada. Emterra will also have a network of four fuelling stations across Canada that is open to the public.
Enbridge Gas Distribution
Canada’s largest natural gas distribution company operates one of North America’s largest natural gas vehicle fleets. With more than 675 natural gas vehicles, Enbridge is able to reduce its fuel costs and contribute to corporate social responsibility objectives. Most of the utility’s fleet consists of aftermarket, converted light duty vehicles. About three years ago, Enbridge invested in its first factory-built dump truck from Freightliner. The company now has six factory-built trucks in its fleet doing day-to-day operations work and additional trucks are on order.
GazMetro, a natural gas distribution company serving 97% of the Québec market, currently uses 30 light trucks fuelled by CNG (converted/bi-fuel) and will eventually operate 50 trucks, including 5 medium and heavy trucks (dedicated and bi-fuel) in 2013. This first phase involves 9% of its vehicle fleet. GazMetro has been very active in the promotion of natural gas for vehicles in Eastern Canada. In 2010 it created GazMetro Solutions Transport, which is completely dedicated to LNG fuel for road, rail and marine transportation. This subsidiary set up and owns the first two LNG fuelling stations in Eastern Canada (stations to be used in the Transport Robert project) and will soon operate a public LNG station using renewable natural gas in Rivière du Loup.
City of Surrey, British Columbia
Surrey, British Columbia, is the first municipality in Canada to require the use of natural gas refuse trucks as a requirement of a municipal tender process. Surrey took this step based on its own analysis showing that the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas vehicle use are significant. The Surrey residential collection business was awarded to BFI Canada in early 2012. As of October 2012, there are now 55 natural gas trucks operating. The City of Surrey also intends to transition the fuel supply from fossil natural gas to renewable natural gas produced from local bin waste when supply is available from a proposed municipal facility.
EBI is a family-owned business with a mission to integrate waste management. They collect, transport and recycle material from the municipal, industrial, commercial and institutional sectors. They also produce natural gas and electricity using biogas and are considered a cutting-edge organization in the renewable energy sector.
Being a producer of renewable natural gas, EBI’s objective was to switch their entire fleet from diesel to CNG and utilize the natural gas they produce. They started with a pilot trial in 2011 in Berthierville, Quebec, where they tested the technology for one year. The success of this trial led them to purchase their first installment of CNG trucks in 2012. They have since replaced almost their entire fleet of vehicles with CNG operated trucks, extending their CNG operations to Montreal in the process. Of their fleet of 149 trucks, 99 in Berthierville are natural gas fueled with another 7 NG trucks in Montreal.
Over the years, EBI has progressively developed its natural gas program, currently offering a full range of CNG services to other fleets as well as the general public. EBI has two public CNG stations, on in East Montreal, another with fast fill service in Berthierville, Quebec. They offer CNG vehicle leasing and purchasing as well as CNG filling station construction and operation. EBI’s decision to switch to natural gas was based on their motivation to use their own energy, improve their operations and promote sustainability. So far, they have saved an estimated 40% as a result of using CNG and avoided the use of 3 to 4 million liters of diesel annually.
Central Okanagan School District No. 23, British Columbia
The Central Okanagan School District, located in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley serves the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country, and Peachland. District No. 23 is the first school bus fleet in Canada to operate factory-built natural gas school buses with 4th generation ISL G engines from Cummins Westport. The fleet includes 13 CNG school buses that refuel at a private fast fill station located in Kelowna. The fleet, which has been in operation since 2011, has resulted in improved air quality for students including reduced emissions of pollutants such as sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter.