Hickory, N.C., sweeps streets with CNG power
A compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered street sweeper recently started making the rounds in Hickory, N.C., collecting debris from roads in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the assistance of a grant from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the city purchased the Elgin Crosswind from Monroe, N.C.-based Public Works Equipment & Supply Inc., to replace an older diesel-powered sweeper. It fuels up at the city’s CNG fueling station, which was built with a grant in 2001 at its public works garage. The city also operates eight CNG-powered pickup trucks for small jobs. According to Steven Miller, Hickory’s street manager, the city’s street department purchased the CNG sweeper because it produced 90 percent cleaner fuel emissions than diesel fuel. The sweeper operates about 35 hours each week, cleaning more than 600 lane miles of streets in Hickory. In the winter, it cleans sand and salt residue left on streets following snow removal operations.