VAN WERT — The next generation of transportation fuel could soon be sold in Van Wert County. Compressed natural gas (CNG) is a clean-burning, less-expensive alternative to burning gasoline or diesel fuel. It is used in vehicles with engines that have been modified to use CNG.
Van Wert County Economic Development Director Sarah Smith said Tuesday that Trillium CNG is looking at putting in a $1.2 million fueling station near Van Wert.

“Trillium will be meeting next week with Cooper Farms, Custom Assembly, and Store ‘N Haul to negotiate the amount of CNG they would use annually. Other potential CNG users are welcome also. The goal is to get to 400,000 gallons per year, then a station would be built, tailored to the needs of potential users. We could see it constructed by early 2015.”

Trillium CNG Managing Director and Business Developer David L. George told the Times Bulletin, “We are a developer of stations for companies making the decision to move to natural gas. In that process, we are more than willing to invest the $1.5-2.5 million to build one of these stations to accommodate heavy-duty trucking. We’re more than happy to make that investment at no cost to the end user other than the fueling commitment, which is the number of gallons used by a sole person or by a community that allows us to get a return on committed capital on that investment.”

He stated that Trillium CNG is unique in the market since it is one of the only companies in the country that can design, build, own, operate, and maintain CNG filling stations. “Our position is that we want to develop stations, we want to market fuel to the stations, and we want to operate and maintain the consistent quality of the fueling experience,” he shared.

The company is the largest developer of compressed natural gas stations with 108 stations built across the U.S., and 40 more to open by the end of March 2015 and another 40 to open in 2016.

Trillium CNG is hoping to get more users to convert their fleet of trucks, or even a portion of the fleet to utilize the advantages offered by CNG.

“You can eliminate up to 50 percent of your fuel costs over diesel,” George said. “Right now diesel is about $4.15 a gallon nationally, and the cost of CNG nationally is under two bucks. That’s the first advantage; economically. Secondly, you can help our country reduce our dependency on foreign oil. The U.S. sits on the largest natural gas reserves on the planet. It’s a domestic fuel for domestic jobs. Then there’s the advantage of cleaner air. You don’t have the diesel particulates. You don’t need the diesel particulate filters. You don’t have the diesel exhaust. Natural gas is up to seven times cleaner burning than gasoline.”

Anyone wanting more information about converting a trucking or bus fleet to CNG should contact the Van Wert County Commissioner’s Office at (419) 238-6159.