Indiana dairy builds CNG fueling station with methane conversion

By Lisa Gibson | July 05, 2011

An Indiana dairy will launch a new fleet of compressed natural gas-fueled milk trucks, once it completes construction on its new fueling station.

Renewable Dairy Fuels, an affiliate of Indiana milk producer Fair Oaks Dairy, has contracted with Clean Energy Fuels Corp., a provider of natural gas for transportation, to build and operate the Fair Oaks Fueling Station. The station will be located near the dairy farm, adjacent to Interstate 65 in Fair Oaks, Ind., roughly 70 miles south of Chicago. Set to open in the fall of this year for the dairy’s 42 new CNG-fueled milk trucks, the station will also have public access for CNG vehicles operating in the area, according to Clean Energy Fuels. A second CNG station is planned for late 2011 in southern Indiana adjacent to the Kentucky border along Interstate 65.

Renewable Dairy Fuels also plans to produce methane from dairy cattle waste and pipe the biogas directly to the Fair Oaks Station for onsite conversion to CNG vehicle fuel. The conditioning facility for the biogas is under development and expected to be completed and operational within 12 to 18 months.

The dairy’s initial CNG truck fleet will transport 53 loads of milk per day, which equates to 7.5 million gallons a month or 90 million gallons per year. The milk will go to processing plants owned by Kroger Co. in Indianapolis, Ind.; Murphysboro, Tenn.; and Winchester, Ky. The trucks will replace diesel-powered models, and are projected to use more than 1.5 million diesel gallon equivalents of CNG per year, according to Clean Fuels.

“Fair Oaks Dairy is a leading proponent of sustainable farming practices and their use of natural gas and renewable biogas to power natural gas trucks is a model that can be replicated by dairy operations throughout America,” said James Harger, chief marketing officer of Clean Energy. “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with Fair Oaks as they move to control fuel costs in a volatile energy environment, reduce dependence on foreign oil and curb the global warming impact of their fleet operations.”