In our latest episode of NothingWasted!, you will enjoy a dynamic session from WasteExpo: Fueling Your Fleet Now and Into the Future. The discussion focused on driving refuse-collection fleets forward, whether through diesel, CNG/RNG, or battery-electric vehicles.
You will hear learn from: Marc de Smidt, Vice President, ACX Refuse Engineering; Michael Fernandez, Director, Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management; George Fotopoulos, VP, E-Mobility Business, Mack Trucks; Scott Lucero, VP, Sales, Hexagon Agility; Michael Patterson, CEO, Battle Motors; and Scott Scholz, General Manager, GreenWaste of Palo Alto. It was moderated by Don Ross, VP, Sales and Marketing, McLaughlin Family Companies and New Way Trucks.
Here is a sneak peek:
Ross started the discussion by asking Patterson why his customers are buying EVs, whether it’s about helping the environment, mandates, or something else. “It’s the mandates, and there are great vouchers available,” Patterson observed. “Unless you’re a utility company, which are buying them because it makes sense for their business model.”
Ross then asked Fotopoulos about the key drivers in eventually getting away from diesel; he replied that, “Some key drivers are the technology; it is ready to be used in heavy-duty transportation operations.” Also, “policy and regulations. Zero-emission vehicles are the way it’s going, for sure.” And, “customers want their waste picked up with clean transport solutions.”
Lucero then weighed in on his company’s use of alternative fuels by saying, “Why not now?” He noted that Palo Alto has a zero-waste plan by 2030, and “we are going to make that happen; we’re partnering with them.” But, “there are a lot of challenges,” including infrastructure.
Fernandez spoke about Miami-Dade County’s “fully integrated system” and “the luxury of having a waste-to-energy facility.” He noted the synergy of the system and how well it works towards meeting the County’s goals. He we on to say that, “I think electric is the future. We all have to do better for the planet”—but also noted that diesel is “probably the cleanest it’s been” and acknowledged the financial component in making the transition away from such.
Scholz spoke about what is and is not realistic over the next decade: “By ten years, absolutely, I would see no reason we would need diesel trucks on the road.” The technologies are improving “monthly, annually; you don’t need to set 2040-2045 timelines. I understand the reasons why those are set, but I think those can be brought in as cities move in that direction.” He acknowledged that “a lot of education” still needs to happen in the public sector, to help them understand and partner up with the private sector. A joint effort will be necessary.
Fotopoulos noted that, at Mack Trucks, we spend “annually, $2 billion in R&D. Ten years ago, [we spent] that money within regulations, like clean-diesel technologies. Now, battery-electric technologies is a big slice of that R&D pie, as well as fuel-cell EVs.” There’s also ongoing investment with the internal combustion engine, “when it comes to using hydrogen, utilizing biofuels, and utilizing natural gas.”
The conversation then turned to challenges with renewable fuels that are unique to the waste industry. De Smidt talked about “start-stops” and how you have to have “a really efficient power train to regenerate that energy because you’re not doing high-speed stops. On these start-stop routes, with slow speeds, you’ve got to regenerate that energy.”
Listen to the full episode to hear more about grant assistance, overcoming industry hesitancy with alternative fuels, current and future models of resilience, the benefits of utilizing a mix of technologies, and more.