Exporter Reduces Fuel Emissions

May 28, 2009
Lower emissions and lower cost drove California hay exporter Border Valley Trading to switch its truck fleet to liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Brawley, CA-based alfalfa, sudan and klein grass hay producer and exporter Border Valley Trading replaced its fleet of trucks with 15 liquefied natural gas-powered Kenworth T800s to lower emissions and fuel costs. In turn, it saw other benefits as well.

The company says it plans to add five more LNG-powered T800s later this year once its proposed fueling station in the Coachella Valley (about 140 miles east of Los Angeles) receives approval by the local planning commission.

“The economics of operating new LNG-powered trucks versus our late-model diesel-powered units favored the LNG trucks,” said Greg Braun, Border Valley Trading president. “We save money because the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach waive their $70 clean truck fee for our LNG trucks, and we also save 15% to 20% on the price of LNG fuel over diesel on any given day.” Converting the company’s fleet to clean-burning LNG also fulfills the company’s commitment to the environment through its green initiatives, added Braun.

The 15 Kenworth T800s are equipped with the Westport Innovations LNG fuel system and Westport GX engine, which is based on the Cummins ISX 15-liter engine. The Kenworth trucks use 5% diesel and 95% liquefied natural gas to power the drivetrain. A typical Class 8 truck using the cleaner burning LNG fuel may reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and greenhouse gas emissions by up to an estimated 33% and 20%, respectively, compared to a diesel-fueled truck.

Border Valley Trading acquired the new technology with help from a grant through the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee, which paid about 20% of the cost of the trucks. The committee funds projects that reduce air pollution from motor vehicles within Southern California’s South Coast Air District, which includes Orange County and portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

“These trucks were right at the top of our list after converting our diesel-powered compress machines to electric power, incorporating more environmentally friendly packing materials and routing our hay products through a new logistics hub in Coachella Valley for more efficient storage and distribution,” Braun said.

Border Valley Trading is one of California’s largest exporters of compressed hay. The company grows, harvests and exports between 150,000 to 200,000 metric tons of compressed high-quality alfalfa, sudan and klein grass hay raised in the San Joaquin Valley and Imperial Valley. According to the company, its location near Brawley, which began as a 10-acre forage compressing facility, is now one of the world’s largest export facilities, providing 80,000 metric tons of hay storage encompassing 105 acres. The compressed hay is loaded onto containers in Brawley and Turlock. Border Valley’s LNG-equipped trucks transport the containers to the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland for shipment to Japan, Korea, China and markets in the Middle East.

“Having one of the few LNG truck fleets in Southern California that operates outside of the ports creates opportunities for adding potential in-bound container hauling business,” Braun said. “It also provides us the opportunity for associations with companies that want to do business with environmentally conscious transportation providers.

Kenworth was the first truck manufacturer to offer an LNG fuel system as a Class 8 factory-installed option, according to the company. The T800 LNG truck, which offers an operating range of at least 300 to 500 miles, has a large dash-mounted display to monitor the LNG fuel level. The vehicle is available with a day cab, Kenworth Extended Day Cab or 38-inch Kenworth AeroCab sleeper. Kenworth T800 LNG trucks also may qualify for up to $28,800 in IRS tax credits, and for other federally sponsored programs, such as the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and Clean Cities.


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