Fair Oaks Farms and Paccar Leasing Co. announced that they have entered into a full-service lease agreement for 42 new Kenworth T440 tractors powered by the Cummins Westport ISL-G compressed natural gas engines.
The trucks, equipped with 6-speed Allison automatic transmissions and extra NG fuel tanks, will haul raw milk from the Fair Oaks Farms dairy facilities in Fair Oaks, Ind., to processing centers in three Midwestern states. The first trucks are expected to be in service in August, with the remaining units going into service in the following weeks.
Fair Oaks Farms is leasing the 42 CNG-powered Kenworth T440s under a full-service lease contract with Palmer PacLease. Palmer, the local PacLease franchise, will handle all of the maintenance on the trucks at an onsite maintenance facility. Ruan Transportation Management Systems, a dedicated contract carrier, will provide logistics expertise and drivers for the 42 milk-hauling trucks.
“PacLease has played a critical role in helping this project get off the ground,” says Mark Stoermann, project manager for Fair Oaks Farms. “By having PacLease handle the maintenance, we can concentrate on delivering 300,000 gallons of milk each day to processing facilities in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. And we don’t have to commit our capital resources to purchase the trucks.”
Stoermann estimates the 42-unit CNG-powered truck fleet will reduce Fair Oaks Farms’ carbon footprint by displacing more than 1½ million gallons of diesel fuel. The Cummins-Westport CNG-powered engine uses cooled exhaust recirculation with a maintenance-free device that reduces emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. The combination offers increased power density and thermal efficiency for good throttle response.
Fair Oaks Farms manages and operates a biogas production facility that produces biogas using trapped methane from processed cow manure and excrete in a process called anaerobic digestion. The biogas already provides fuel to electric generators that produce power for the farm. Fair Oaks Farms is using a federally-guaranteed business and industry loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade one of the facility’s anaerobic digesters so it can produce CNG that can be used in the new CNG-powered trucks.
Fair Oaks Farms also has contracted with Clean Energy to build and operate a fueling station near the dairy cooperative’s facilities in Fair Oaks, as well as one 220 miles away in Sellersburg, Ind., near the Hoosier state’s southeast border with Kentucky. Any CNG that’s not used in the dairy cooperative’s delivery trucks will be sold to local government agencies and other businesses, including other local dairies.
Once the 42 trucks are in full operation, Fair Oaks Farms will have one of the largest long-haul fleets powered by renewable energy in the country. Depending on the success of the first 42 units that the cooperative will put into service, Fair Oaks Farms could lease more CNG-powered trucks, replacing even more diesel-powered units and reducing its carbon footprint even further.
“We’re pleased to be an instrumental part of this project,” says Olen Hunter, director of sales for PacLease. “By providing Fair Oaks Farms our expertise in the specing, financing and maintaining of these CNG trucks, Fair Oaks can concentrate on making this pilot project a real success.”
“If Fair Oaks Farms can demonstrate to other dairies that it’s possible to produce and distribute milk in a much more environmentally sustainable way, this manure-to-methane project could have broad implications, not only for the dairy industry but also for other operations that produce biological waste,” says Ron Festervan, national account sales executive.