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City staff first began investigating a transition from oil-based fuels to CNG, a cleaner methane that can be used in place of gasoline or diesel, in 2013. In 2018, the City agreed to lease the land as part of a long-term partnership with private CNG-provider Trillium. In return, Trillium agreed to build the station and fund the $3 million construction costs with the help of a $300,000 Drive Clean Chicago grant secured by the City in 2016. In addition, the City's refuse and recycling contractor Groot Industries agreed to a long-term gas purchase agreement with Trillium, making the project more viable for all parties involved.
"A compressed natural gas station has been in the City's plans for several years," said City of Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico. "While much has changed in the world this year, Naperville's commitment to sustainable initiatives has not. Our City fleet and community as a whole will benefit from this station for years to come and I commend everyone for working together to bring this project to a successful completion."
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The station, which is unmanned and open on a 24-hour basis, features multiple CNG dispensers for light- and heavy-duty fueling. In addition to use by City vehicles, refuse trucks from Groot and other CNG fleets operating in and around Naperville, the station will also be available to the public. Naperville's vehicle fleet currently includes three vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, as well as five propane, 11 electric and 16 hybrid vehicles. Groot will transition 22 of its 75 contractor vehicles from diesel fuel to CNG over the next three years, with the goal of 30 percent of its fleet running on CNG by 2022.
Trillium is the leading provider of alternative fueling systems and renewable fuels and operates over 200 CNG stations across the country. "Trillium continues to grow its retail station network to meet the sustainability needs of innovative fleet customers like the City of Naperville and Groot," said JP Fjeld-Hansen, vice president of Trillium. "This project has been a long time in the making, and the fact that we completed it safely and effectively during a global pandemic speaks volumes about our team's dedication to service."
An official ribbon cutting ceremony with representatives from Groot, Chicago Area Clean Cities and Trillium is tentatively planned for spring of 2021 pending COVID-19 restrictions.
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