Leading California Hay Exporter Reduces Fuel Costs and Emissions with LNG-Powered Kenworth T800s
Alternative Fuel Trucks Offer Hay Hauler Other Business Opportunities
BRAWLEY, Calif. — For Border Valley Trading, finding a way to lower emissions and fuel costs wasn’t like looking for a needle in a haystack.
The company turned to Kenworth Truck Company and local dealer, Inland Kenworth, for the right truck to accomplish both. The Brawley, Calif.-based alfalfa, sudan and klein grass hay producer and exporter recently replaced its fleet of trucks with 15 liquefied natural gas-powered Kenworth T800s. The company plans to add five more LNG-powered T800s later this year once its proposed fueling station in the Coachella Valley, about 140 miles east of Los Angeles, near Palm Springs, receives approval by the local planning commission.
“The economics of operating new LNG-powered trucks versus our late-model diesel-powered units favored the LNG trucks,” said Border Valley Trading president Greg Braun. “We save money because the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach waive their $70 clean truck fee for our Kenworth T800 LNG trucks, and we also save 15 to 20 percent on the price of LNG fuel over that of diesel on any given day.” Converting the company’s fleet to clean-burning LNG also fulfills the company’s commitment to the environment through its green initiatives, added Braun.
The 15 Kenworth T800s are equipped with the Westport Innovations LNG fuel system and Westport GX engine, which is based on the industry-leading Cummins ISX 15-liter engine. The Kenworth trucks use 5 percent diesel and 95 percent liquefied natural gas to power the drivetrain. A typical Class 8 truck using the cleaner burning LNG fuel may reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and greenhouse gas emissions by up to an estimated 33 percent and 20 percent, respectively, compared to a diesel-fueled truck.
Border Valley Trading acquired the new technology with help from a grant through the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee, which paid about 20 percent of the cost of the trucks. The committee funds projects that reduce air pollution from motor vehicles within the Southern California’s South Coast Air District, which includes Orange County and portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
“These trucks were right at the top of our list after converting our diesel-powered compress machines to electric power, incorporating more environmentally friendly packing materials and routing our hay products through a new logistics hub in the Coachella Valley area for more efficient storage and distribution,” Braun said.
Border Valley Trading is one of California’s largest exporters of compressed hay. The company grows, harvests and exports between 150,000 and 200,000 metric tons of compressed high-quality alfalfa, sudan and klein grass hay raised in the San Joaquin Valley and Imperial Valley. According to the company, its location near Brawley, which began as a 10-acre forage compressing facility, is now one of the world’s largest export facilities, providing 80,000 metric tons of hay storage encompassing 105 acres. The compressed hay is loaded onto containers in Brawley and Turlock. Border Valley’s trucks equipped with 450-hp LNG engines transport the containers to the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland for shipment to Japan, Korea, China and markets in the Middle East.
“The drivers really like all aspects of the Kenworth T800 LNG truck,” Braun said. “The ride comfort, performance and dependability of these Kenworth trucks are better than the diesel trucks we replaced.
“Having one of the few LNG truck fleets in Southern California that operates outside of the ports creates opportunities for adding potential in-bound container hauling business,” Braun said. “It also provides us the opportunity for associations with companies that want to do business with environmentally conscious transportation providers.
“While this technology is relatively new, with the help of our dealer, Inland Kenworth, we’ve both gained a better understanding of the fuel and the technology,” he said. “Once Applied LNG Technologies begins supplying our fueling station in the Coachella Valley and the station is in operation, my goal is to grow the fleet to 25 LNG trucks before the summer of 2010 and expand as needed beyond that point. I see no reason why we can’t eventually have a fleet of 30 or more trucks operating as growth opportunities take hold.”
Kenworth was the first truck manufacturer to offer an LNG fuel system as a Class 8 factory-installed option. The T800 LNG truck, which offers an operating range of at least 300 to 500 miles, has a large dash-mounted display to monitor the LNG fuel level. LNG fuel tanks can be configured to suit a range of customer requirements. The vehicle is available with a day cab, Kenworth Extended Day Cab or 38-inch Kenworth AeroCab® sleeper. Kenworth T800 LNG trucks also may qualify for up to $28,800 in IRS tax credits, and for other federally sponsored programs, such as the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and Clean Cities.
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth is an industry leader in providing fuel-saving technology solutions that help increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The company’s dedication to the green fleet includes aerodynamic trucks, medium duty diesel-electric hybrids, liquefied natural gas trucks, and the Kenworth Clean Power® no-idle system. In addition, Kenworth is the recipient of the 2008 J.D. Power and Associates awards for Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Over the Road and Vocational Segment Class 8 trucks. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth. A PACCAR Company.
LNG Technician Training
In a true collaborative effort, Kenworth, Westport Innovations and Long Beach Community College (LBCC), assisted by a grant from the State of California, have launched an educational program to train service technicians on liquefied natural gas vehicles.
“With trucks powered by LNG projected to be a mainstay, especially with fleets running in port operations, it’s critical to offer training to technicians,” said Andy Douglas, Kenworth national sales manager for specialty markets. “The Clean Air Action Plan in California calls for a significant reduction in emissions over the next few years, and one way for fleets to reduce their carbon footprints is through LNG technology. We’ve seen a lot of interest in our Kenworth T800s with factory-installed LNG engines and demand is increasing.”
Douglas said after sale service and support is a key component for LNG’s long-term success. Technician training, made available through Long Beach Community College, including special LNG classes for high school students through a satellite program, will help meet the need for LNG-certified technicians.
“Our goal is to train today’s technician in the latest technology and we see LNG as an up-and-coming alternative in our region,” said Cal Macy, project director for the school’s advanced transportation technology center. “We’ve long had one of the best diesel technician training institutions in the state, and it’s exciting to be the first college to offer LNG certification.”
According to Macy, Inland Kenworth in nearby Montebello, Calif., provides a Kenworth T800 LNG truck for students to examine and work on, while Westport Innovations helped develop the engine curriculum with the school.
“It’s a winning combination between the private and public sector,” said Macy. “It benefits the transportation industry and provides training to meet growing demand for LNG technicians.”
Testament to the collaboration was when the school recently received the Exemplary Innovation Award from the California Association of Local Economic Development and the California Community College’s Economic & Workforce Development Department. The award recognized the pioneering partnership between LBCC, Cabrillo High School, the Port of Long Beach, Westport Fuel Innovations, and Kenworth for creating a training program for high school students in Long Beach that leads to a green career path servicing LNG-powered trucks.
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