Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 09:53:38 AM EST
And do people need such relief?
A trash collection service is coming clean.
Waste Management of the Inland Empire has debuted five garbage trucks that run on compressed natural gas, or CNG, which is cleaner-burning than diesel. The trucks will be used in residential Beaumont and Banning.
The trucks are quieter than their diesel counterparts and emit less pollution, company officials said.
Cleaner, greener garbage trucks hit Inland road | Inland News | The Press-Enterprise
The company eventually plans to replace all of its diesel trucks with green alternatives, which Quiroa said is a reflection of its commitment to the environment.
CNG is natural gas under pressure. It's clear, odorless and noncorrosive and consists primarily of methane.
It's less expensive than other fuel, costing on average one-third less than gasoline at the pump, according to Natural Gas Vehicles for America, a trade association in Washington, D.C. Waste Management Inc. is a member of the association.
With the high prices of diesel and gasoline, the interest level in CNG as a transportation fuel has increased, said association President Richard Kolodziej.
Compressed natural gas is very safe, Kolodziej said.
Compressed natural gas had not entered my radar until a friend recently wrote to me about it. This article makes it sound like a pretty good thing.
Here is what I was able to find about it on EuroTrib:
European Tribune - electric vehicles powered by solar thermal energy
The transport sector is betting heavily on bio-fuels, CNG/LNG and hydrogen. The problems with bio-fuels and hydrogen have been referred to in the Quick Scan in the introduction. The growing dependence on gas, supplied by politically unstable regimes, is increasing. The CNG/LNG route for transport applications is therefore highly questionable and above that, not a sustainable solution.
European Tribune - Energize America - A Blueprint for U.S. Energy Security (Fourth Draft)
A few municipal mass-transit agencies and school districts are converting their bus fleets from those that burn gasoline and petroleum diesel to those that burn compressed natural gas.
Switching the entire vehicle park to electrics will take at least 15-20 years, which is why substitute fuels like CTL, GTL, tar sands, heavy oil and CNG will be crucial. And no, there won't be any CCS.
The Wikipedia article mentions the following drawbacks:
Compressed natural gas vehicles require a greater amount of space for fuel storage than conventional gasoline power vehicles. Since it is a compressed gas, rather than a liquid like gasoline, CNG takes up more space for each GGE (Gallon of Gas Equivalent). Therefore, the tanks used to store the CNG usually take up additional space in the trunk of a car or bed of a pickup truck which runs on CNG. While CNG-powered vehicles are considered to be safer than gasoline-powered vehicles , there are concerns about how best to fight fires involving CNG vehicles. Since its calorific value is far less than other fuels it needs comparatively large volume of Gas to get desired energy.
Keeping these drawbacks in mind, could there still be some merit in resorting to CNG as temporary relief from the current gasoline crunch? Could it be used somehow as a way to help people, in particular Americans, get used to increasing fuel prices gradually rather than in such a sharp and painful manner?
On the other hand, just how hard has it been to deal with the higher gas prices? Is it still that painful? Or have people been adjusting better than expected despite the initial shock?