Natural gas continues to be a focus of truck operators as more than 200 Wisconsin Kenworth customers recently gathered to learn more about new available equipment and the future of natural gas in the industry.
The Wisconsin Kenworth NatGas Summit, held recently at the Glacier Canyon Conference Center, featured four sessions that covered topics such as the state and federally-funded Clean Cities programs to help fleets adopt new technology using alternative and renewable fuels. The sessions covered compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine technology and fueling infrastructure. The sessions also gave customers opportunities to inspect two CNG-powered Kenworth T440s.
“I found the Kenworth summit to be very informative, providing a lot of good, quality information that will help us in our decision how and when to adopt natural gas-powered trucks into our fleet,” said Jeff Villers, a fleet maintenance manager with CTS Inc.
“The summit was a response to our customers’ requests to learn more about natural gas, the natural-gas powered trucks Kenworth offers and about the experiences of customers who have already started using the trucks,” said Jim Moeller, president of CSM Companies, parent company of Wisconsin Kenworth. CSM Companies operates five Wisconsin Kenworth dealership locations in Green Bay, Menomonie, Milwaukee, Mosinee, and Windsor, and Michigan Kenworth locations in Gaylord and Grand Rapids.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear to us and to our customers that the key to the future of our country’s energy independence will rely on more domestically produced natural gas well into the first half of the 21st Century,” Moeller said. “It’s exciting that Kenworth is leading the industry in providing operators a variety of medium duty to heavy duty trucks to meet a wide range of hauling and vocational needs, including ones that we had on display at the summit.”
Andy Douglas, Kenworth national sales manager for specialty markets, led the summit with a keynote address on the different considerations and spec’ing choices fleets and truck operators must make before adopting natural gas as an alternative fuel. Douglas also provided information about the growth of natural gas fueling stations along well-traveled transportation routes in the United States and Canada.
Another key speaker was Bill Boyce, east regional manager for Cummins. Boyce provided details on Cummins Westport and its ISL G natural gas-powered engine, including gearing guidelines, warranty and extended coverage. Kelly Mills, western territory sales manager for Westport Fuel Systems Inc., talked about the Westport HD 15-liter engine, including safety and warranty information, and the value proposition for LNG-powered trucks.
During the breakout sessions, truck operators learned more about an alternative fuel program adopted by La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip from Chad Hollett, Kwik Trip’s director of transportation and distribution, and Ruanna Hayes, director of alternative fuels for the convenience store operator. Bryan Nudelbacher, business analyst with Appleton, Wis.-based U.S. Oil, provided information about CNG programs within the wholesale fuel distributor’s operation and the future of CNG infrastructure. Lorrie Lisek, executive director of Wisconsin Clean Cities – Southeast Area, gave a presentation on various programs and projects that the Wisconsin Clean Cities coalition is funding throughout Wisconsin. She also explained how to use a fuel station locator tool available from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center.
LNG World News Staff, January 4, 2012