Baking & Snack - August 2018 - 129
Natural gas and propane engines strengthen their foothold while electric vehicles look to increase their stake.
by Nico Roesler
If any speculation about the validity of alternative fuels
existed in the 1990s or 2000s, that doubt has diminished.
For years, much of the advances in fuels other than gasoline and diesel were limited to consumer vehicles or government-related projects.
Early on, the goals were to find cleaner alternatives to
fossil fuels that were less dependent on foreign sources
- especially as those sources became more expensive.
"The motivation to find alternatives to diesel and gas
was simple. The price of fuel had hit $2 a gallon, and a
number of environmental initiatives were taking root,"
said Robert McGuire, vice-president, director of logistics, Alpha Baking Co., Chicago.
The days of $2 per gallon of gas are now long gone.
Alpha Baking has been a leader in the baking industry
pursuing alternative fuels, experimenting with new options since the early 2000s. "We made some mistakes, we
garnered some valuable learnings, but, most importantly, we compiled an extensive list of considerations for
potential alternative energy applications," Mr. McGuire
recalled. "This became extremely valuable as the alternative energy industry developed."
In 2013, Alpha Baking invested in 22 propane gas
trucks for its delivery fleet. In 2016, the company added
five electric trucks for its Chicago area delivery routes.
Today, Alpha Baking has matched its operational needs
with specific alternative fuel solutions, and other bakers
are more easily able to do the same.
Although not expected
to take over the market,
electric vehicles will soon
be represented in many
Weighing the options
Three alternative fuels dominate the market today: liquid propane gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG)
and electric. All three can be used for class 3, 4, 5 and
6 vehicles, and CNG is available for class 7 and 8 vehicles. These alternatives have stood the test of time and
proven, for now, that they are sustainable. However, just
because these options are more available, doesn't mean
they are right for all bakeries.
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