On August 26, 2009, Vice President Joe Biden and United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced awards totaling $300 million in grant funding through the DOE Clean Cities Program. Over 100 applications were submitted, seeking nearly $1 billion in funding. Of the 25 applications awarded funding, nearly $10 million was awarded for the SANBAG/Ryder natural Gas Truck project.
The project is supported with funding provided from federal and state sources, including US Department of Energy and California Energy Commission grant funding. The US DOE Alternative Fuel and Advanced Technology Vehicle Pilot Program awarded $9,950,708 for the project, and the Energy Commission AB 118 Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program awarded an additional $9,258,708. Ryder System, Inc. will also provide $17.06 million of its own capital.
The source of the DOE funding is from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and will lead to the accelerated implementation of clean alternative fuel vehicles, green jobs and the reduction of petroleum demand from the U.S. transportation sector.
This project will result in the deployment of 202 heavy-duty natural gas trucks to support the following goals:
- Increase the use of alternative fueled vehicles and advanced technology vehicles as a means to reduce U.S. dependence on imported petroleum, increase the use of domestic alternative low carbon fuels, increase fuel economy and improve emissions;
- Demonstrate how alternative fuel transportation technologies can achieve significant petroleum and emissions reductions in fuel intensive commercial freight handling applications including regional distribution and intermodal rail yard operations;
- Support and bolster the regional refueling infrastructure strategy being developed in Southern California through the use of existing publicly-available fueling stations and the development of two new publicly-available stations as part of this project;
- Provide low-carbon supply chain transportation services to the Ryder customers; and,
- Serve as a model for other commercial heavy-duty trucking companies on how to successfully implement advanced technology alternative fuel programs in large commercial truck operations.
A number of important steps are required to ensure the natural gas facility will meet stringent industry and government safety standards for natural gas vehicle maintenance. These include upgrades of shop electrical and lighting systems, as well as the installation of enhanced air handling and ventilation systems. In addition, the facility will be equipped with methane detection and alarm systems, integrated with fire suppression and liquid/compresses natural gas storage and dispensing systems. Ryder’s professional maintenance technicians are also receiving extensive, specialized training on the maintenance and repair of heavy-duty natural gas vehicles.