DES MOINES, Iowa — Ruan Transportation Management Systems, one of the largest privately held trucking companies in the U.S., is partnering with Fair Oaks Farms to manage its compressed natural gas (CNG) fleet in Fair Oaks, Indiana.
The fleet, operated by Ruan, includes 42 milk hauling trucks powered by renewable CNG, a clean, sustainable fuel produced from dairy cattle waste. While CNG and liquid natural gas (LNG) have been used to fuel large fleets of smaller vehicles such as buses or waste collection trucks, no other project has demonstrated the use of renewable CNG for a fleet with an 80,000 pound hauling capacity and a range of almost 650 miles.
In a process called anaerobic digestion, microorganisms feed on cow manure and excrete methane, which Fair Oaks Farms traps and processes. The gas will be piped directly to a fueling station in Fair Oaks, Indiana, for compression and distribution. The Ruan fleet will fuel in this location and in another CNG station being constructed in Southern Indiana. Both fueling stations will be supplemented with natural gas from a utility provider as the renewable natural gas production comes online.
"Ruan is one of the most respected transportation firms in the U.S. and is an industry leader in developing sustainability initiatives, so they were a natural fit to help us launch and manage the CNG fleet," said Dr. Mike McCloskey, owner and president of Fair Oaks Farms.
Ruan will transport more than 300,000 gallons of milk each day to plants in the Midwest and travel more than 11 million miles annually. The new trucks will replace diesel-powered models and, by displacing more than one and a half million gallons of diesel per year, significantly reduce both direct emissions and the traditional carbon footprint of energy production.
"We are proud to partner with Dr. McCloskey to manage this large-scale CNG transportation solution," said Ben McLean, senior vice president and CIO for Ruan. "The CNG fleet is a demonstration of Ruan's commitment to collaborating with our clients to create an increasingly sustainable supply chain. We are very optimistic that our country can produce more of our energy needs domestically, and we will continue to develop CNG transportation solutions across the nation."
Ruan team members will manage the transportation network from on-site locations at Fair Oaks Farms, providing 24/7 service. Ruan will create 115 jobs in Indiana, including professional drivers and management positions. The anticipated start-up date for the project is early-August 2011.