While Diesel is considered the primary source for fuelling large fleets in Canada, tightening exhaust emissions standards are increasing maintenance costs and natural gas is quickly becoming a considerably cleaner, more affordable option.
What is natural gas?
Approximately one-third of Canada’s entire energy needs are met by natural gas for applications including residential, commercial and industrial. Natural gas is abundant, relatively easy to transport and burns more cleanly than other hydrocarbons and, unlike other fossil fuels, trucks utilizing natural gas can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30%.
What is the difference between LNG and CNG?
LNG – Liquefied Natural Gas
Both Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) are natural gas but their differences relate to how they are stored and used. LNG, to maintain its liquefied state, must be stored at minus 160 degrees Celsius in cryogenic storage. Given the storage temperature of LNG, there is a frostbite risk, and operators are required to wear protective gear (including gloves and face shields) and training is needed to ensure safe operation.
CNG – Compressed Natural Gas
Compressed Natural Gas, or CNG, is natural gas under pressure which remains clear and odourless – and can be used as a cheaper, greener, and more efficient fuelling alternative.
CNG is comprised of mostly methane gas which, like gasoline, produces engine power when mixed with air and fed into your engine’s combustion chamber.
CNG is stored in a gaseous state in high-pressure storage cylinders. Fuelling with CNG is similar to gas and diesel, requiring no special training or gear. CNG, due to its versatility and low storage costs, is not only a cleaner solution to gasoline and diesel but also a more economical answer to Liquefied Natural Gas.
Operating CNG vs. LNG on long-haul routes
In a report conducted by Natural Resources Canada on (1) understanding the nature of Canadian Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDV), (2) the experiences gained by the existing Canadian CNG/LNG fleets and (3) the suitability of the ISX12 G Cummins-Westport CNG engine to service that market, it was discovered that there is sufficient opportunity to move freight along the Quebec – Ontario freight corridor utilizing this engine configuration on CNG or LNG.
“Based on the upper operating limit of the 400 HP ISX12 G engine, set at 36,300 kg GVW (80,000 lb GVW), there appears sufficient opportunity to move freight along the Quebec – Ontario freight corridor including cross-border runs utilizing this engine configuration on CNG or LNG.”
A clear opportunity exists to integrate the 400 HP – 12L NG engine into long-haul applications, however, additional engine technology is required to service 450 HP and loads greater than 36,300 kg GVW (80,000 lb GVW).