The Ridgeland-based Ready Mix Concrete and construction materials provider announced last week the successful conversion of a dozen mixer trucks at its 220 Plant location in Jackson to burn natural gas.
“The primary reason we decided to convert the trucks to natural gas was environmental,” said Stanley Mangum, MMC Central Region vice president. “But, we also saw a chance to save on fuel costs, and are expecting to see a financial return on our investment. We knew we could use CNG that’s made right here at home, and given the price difference between natural gas and diesel, it adds up quick.”
Approximately a year-and-a-half ago, the concept of converting mixers to run on natural gas as opposed to diesel was introduced by David Bosarge, MMC safety and environmental officer. With that, the company started researching, sending personnel to Florida to see an operation running natural gas-fueled garbage trucks. They also visited a Ready Mix Concrete provider in Chicago that had converted to CNG.
Liking what they found, the project got underway, the company partnering with Fontana, Calif.-based TruStar Energy to implement a portable fueling station (PFS).
MMC’s Kenworth fleet at the 220 Plant is now powered by the new Cummins-Westport ISX 12-liter CNG engine. To get power comparable to that of a diesel-powered truck, MMC also installed new six-speed automatic transmissions.
Mangum said the company has been more than pleased with the conversion.
In addition to lower emissions, the reduced exhaust and noise of the CNG-burning engine compared to diesel, coupled with the new automatic transmission, has been welcomed by drivers, providing a cleaner, safer “workplace.”
And, the reduced fuel costs are expected to offset the cost of the project in approximately five years. With the operational life of a truck at seven to nine years, Mangum said the model is attractive financially.
With nearly two-dozen operations/affiliates and 320 mixer trucks scattered across Mississippi and into Louisiana and Tennessee, MMC has already started looking at converting trucks at other locations, boosted by the flexibility of the portable fuel system.
“We designed and built the PFS for exactly these types of fleets,” said TruStar Energy vice president Scott Edelbach in a statement. “We knew that some fleet owners needed a portable fueling solution that offered compressor redundancy for reliability, but also a system that was appropriately sized for smaller operations.”
Mangum said the project could lead to an entirely new business for MMC.
“We are discussing the possibility of opening up the fueling station to the public,” Mangum said. “A Ready Mix operation in Chicago is already doing that.”
Founded back in 1927 with a single plant in Jackson, today MMC serves the commercial, industrial, residential and highway markets.
For more on MMC Materials, visit www.mmcmaterials.com.