While some terminal operators have opted for California’s emissions credit scheme to meet new restrictions, California Cartage has made a voluntary commitment to LNG, with 50% of its LNG tractor fleet supported by State of California funding.
The latest deliveries represent the first terminal tractors to feature the new L-Series engine from Cummins, specifically designed to meet new 2010 CARB standards on Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions.
With no performance loss when compared to conventional diesel-powered tractors, the PM emissions from LNG engines are 0.009 parts per million compared to 0.01ppm, and 0.1 ppm of NOx against 0.13ppm from standard off-road diesel units.
Although the LNG unit requires a larger 8.9 litre engine than the 6.7 litre unit used in conventional diesel models, it effectively uses 90% of the fuel for traction, compared to 60-70%.
“It is only a matter of time before terminal operators elsewhere are obliged to follow California’s lead on cleaner container handling equipment. The additional cost of purchase and operation of diesel engines currently being built is making alternate fuels look more attractive,” explained Casey Tubbert, Cargotec’s US regional manager, for terminal tractors.
“The initial investment of LNG machines as well as their fuelling station is significant, but the absence of diesel emission fluids and exhaust regeneration make day-to-day operations more attractive. Once the infrastructure is in place for these vehicles, we will see more companies looking into this technology,” he said.