Renewable and alternative fuels provider Trillium introduced a system for the trucking industry called PowerUp that combines power from the grid with on-site energy generation and storage to control fuel costs at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach this week.
“When it’s a commercial application and not your iPhone, fleet operators wonder, ‘How much will this electricity cost me, and how can I manage those costs for my operation?’ ” said William Zobel, general manager of business development and marketing for Trillium.
Already Trillium offers natural gas fueling and electric vehicle charging systems, as well as solar installations and on-site electricity generation. PowerUp combines them to reduce the uncertainty fleet operators may feel over fluctuating electricity rates charged by utilities.
Customers have the option of connecting to the utility grid for power, producing their own power with renewable natural gas or solar panels and storing that electricity with a battery system. And they can do so in any combination.
“If you put those four together, you find the right balance for your fleet to understand and control your costs,” said Zobel, adding that each system is customized to meet individual fleets’ needs. “You can say I want nothing from the utility. I’m going to produce it all myself. Or you can say I’m going to go 20 percent utility and 80 percent of our generation.”
Trilium has yet to install its first PowerUp system, designed for use at a truck operator’s depot.
“There’s still some uncertainty with heavy-duty electric trucks,” Zobel said. “They’re waiting for the trucks to prove themselves.”
Zobel said in the short term, California’s transit operators are the more likely customer. Not only did the state recently require them to transition to zero emissions within 10 years, but California also has some of the highest electricity rates in the country.