Fair Oaks Farms’ new fleet will be nation’s largest long-haul operation using renewable energy.
Indiana’s Fair Oaks Farms, one of the nation’s largest dairy operations, will launch a biogas-powered fleet of milk delivery trucks later this year.
The project will involve 42 new trucks -- powered by the dairy’s manure-generated methane -- to deliver milk to processing plants in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.
The renewable energy fleet will reduce the operation’s diesel fuel use by more than 1.5 million gallons per year by using compressed natural gas (CNG) produced from the methane of six anaerobic digesters at Fair Oaks Farms.
Officials say it will be the largest long-haul fleet powered by renewable energy in the country.
Fair Oaks Farms is a marketing cooperative of 10 dairies housing about 35,000 cows. Its digesters already produce gas to run generators that provide electricity to members’ farms.
The fleet is expected to transport 53 loads of milk per day, or more 318,000 gln. That’s 7.5 million gallons a month, and cumulatively, 90 million gallons of milk a year.
Mike McCloskey of Fair Oaks Farms called the project “a major undertaking.”
“We are excited to be part of providing a model of innovation that can be reproduced in other parts the country in the future,” he added.
The CNG truck fleet, operated by Ruan Transportation Management Systems, will replace the dairies’ diesel-powered models. By displacing more than 1.5 million gallons of diesel per year, the new trucks “will significantly reduce both direct emissions and the traditional carbon footprint of energy production,” Fair Oaks Farms officials said.
The biofuel will move from the dairy’s digesters to two new fueling stations that will compress the natural gas and distribute it to the milk-hauling trucks. One CNG fueling station will be located near the dairy farms in northwest Indiana adjacent to Interstate 65. The second will be located in southern Indiana, close to the Kentucky border and also on Interstate 65.
The project is supported by grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, administered through the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program and Clean Cities Program, and the Indiana Office of Energy Development. The Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition also provided cooperation and support.