The first liquefied natural gas-powered truck hauling municipal waste from Lower Mainland to Cache Creek hits the road this week.
But travellers on the Trans-Canada highway may not hear it coming.
Janet Tecklenborg, general manager of Wastech Services Ltd., said Tuesday a truck operated by Vedder Transport Ltd. hauled municipal solid waste from the Coast to Cache Creek and brought back wood chips — just as trucks have been doing for decades.
But this truck is powered by a heavy-duty liquefied natural gas engine (LNG), high-technology developed by B.C.-based Westport Cummins.
Tecklenborg said drivers of the first truck — one of 15 to be converted — have remarked on how quiet is the engine. That’s forced drivers to use gauges more frequently.
But the biggest benefit is expected to be to the environment. The LNG trucks are expected to produce 25 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than comparable diesel trucks. All trucks hauling waste are expected to be converted by May.
The LNG trucks also have less impact on human health.
“With LNG, Vedder is one of the first to convert,” Tecklenborg said.
Wastech required Vedder to convert to the new technology and clean-burning fuel as part of its contract to haul through the Fraser Canyon and Fraser Valley.
Wastech operates Cache Creek Landfill. It is also the owner and developer of a new extension meant for solid waste from around B.C. That development comes despite the fact Metro Vancouver is moving away from landfilling toward waste-to-energy.
LNG trucks on highways are relatively rare because there are no filling stations. Pipeline gas is converted to liquefied form by Fortis utilities, based in Richmond.
Vedder’s trucks will make the round trip from the Coast on a single tank of fuel. The trucks run seven days a week, around the clock.
The company began testing a unit in December on a number of routes in southern B.C.
Tecklenborg said in addition to environmental benefits the company expects to see savings from converting to LNG.