Highway Contractor: It's Snow Time!
by Tina Grady Barbaccia
as the Driven
Alternative fuels can power your
winter operations fleet
an you ﬁght the white with
As the push to make ﬂeets
greener continues to build up steam, alternative fuel power options are coming
under increased scrutiny.
Questions are being asked about efﬁciency, power, sustainability and even operator
friendliness. But the questions are coming
at a time when alternative fuels vehicles
may be on the verge of a breakthrough.
At one of the best attended educational
sessions at the at the recent 2012 American
Public Works Association (APWA) Snow
Conference, host city Milwaukee outlined
its progress to a winter weather ﬂeet that
will increasingly rely on natural gas, as will
other vehicles of the city’s barns.
When Milwaukee ﬁrst attempted an alternative fuel initiative in 1980, the initiative to use compressed natural gas (CNG)
for its ﬂeets didn’t unfold as seamlessly as
had been anticipated. The engines in two
8 June 2012 Better Roads
Dodge pickup trucks were modiﬁed, and
CNG tanks took up valuable space in the
pickup box. The pickups broke down often,
harnessed very low power and could only
travel within a 30-mile range.
The city tabled the idea for a while, but
then in 1992-1994, Milwaukee moved forward with its second initiative. This time,
seven units were converted to CNG, including a pickup, cars, a police cruiser, a small
dump truck and a medium-duty truck. This
time, the CNG conversion used up about
half of the space in the car trunk or pickup
body with a system pressure of 3,000 psi.
However, the city made a dual-fuel conversion so that if a truck or other equipment
couldn’t get enough CNG, a switch would
allow it to be run on gasoline. “We were
afraid operators would forget about CNG
[and just use the gasoline capabilities]
so we installed hour meters,” says Jeffrey
Tews, ﬂeet operations manager for the City