Clean Energy opened its first public access compressed natural gas fueling station in Pennsylvania at Patch Management's headquarters in Fairless Hills, Bucks County.
The new public access station will serve the greater Philadelphia region.
Patch Management (PMI) uses "Pothole Killer" trucks uses recycles asphalt and tires to do road patches. The installation of the CNG station on PMI's property will allow PMI to begin converting some of the company's trucks to operate on CNG instead of diesel.
Bill Rickett, executive director of the Bucks County Transportation Management Association, said he and PMI CEO Lew Tarlini knew CNG was the future several years ago when they began talking about this project.
"This was before Marcellus Shale and before we knew anything about natural gas in Pennsylvania," Rickett said.
Tarlini, who also serves on the board of Bucks County Transit, had been advocating for converting as many public transit vehicles as possible to CNG to create a situation more attractive to Clean Energy. Offering the PMI site to locate the station was Tarlini's way of ensuring that the deal would be completed.
"Not only does this station help our immediate area, but it helps us as a company," said PMI President Craig Baclit. "It's our desire to add this equipment into our fleet because we want to support independence from foreign fuel and we want to support a greener environment. That's what we're all about. Our main motto is 'We lean towards green.'"
Baclit noted that that PMI is working with manufacturers to get their equipment to be compatible with PMI's capacity.
"We have unique features that we need in order to perform our services, so it's not as easy to retrofit our vehicles as it is for some of the other industries that have converted," Baclit said.
Peter Grace, senior VP for Sales at Clean Energy, said Clean Energy plans to have about 150 CNG stations along all major interstates in the U.S. by the end of 2013, including two in Pennsylvania. He said that smaller stations like the one at PMI are also needed for fleets that are more localized with buses, smaller trucks and even cars.
Talks with Clean Energy on locating a station in Bucks County began almost five years ago. Natural gas will be piped in through PECO lines direct from Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region.