Return-It adds hybrid-electric compaction truck

Della Bond (FortisBC), Minister Ralston and Allen Langdon (Return-It) operating CNG Truck.

Burnaby, B.C. – Return-It has introduced the first-of-its-kind compressed natural gas (CNG) hybrid-electric compaction truck in Canada.

In a pilot project launching this month, Return-It is beginning the decarbonization of its transportation fleet, which could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from beverage container recycling by up to 25 percent and reduce the number of transport vehicles on the road.

Supplied by Hyliion, which provides electrified powertrain solutions for Class 8 commercial vehicles, the new CNG hybrid-electric drivetrain will not only release fewer emissions than existing diesel trucks, but combined with compaction technology it will help reduce the number of vehicle trips required to take beverage containers from recycling depots to processing facilities.

The truck is the first of its kind to incorporate an electric axle that optimizes the vehicle’s power and efficiency. The compaction trailer unit is manufactured by a Canadian equipment solutions and services company, NexGen Municipal, who has pioneered compaction technology.

“We are pleased to provide our Auger Compaction Trailer technology to the Return-It team, to significantly improve logistical and operational efficiencies, while dramatically reducing GHG generation,” said Doug Vanderlinden, president of NexGen Municipal.

The new truck will service 16 recycling depots throughout the Lower Mainland in the pilot phase, allowing Return-It to evaluate the technology and capture data to inform the next steps in its transition. Return-It will also use the pilot phase to work with FortisBC to identify opportunities to expand access to CNG throughout the province, such as the availability of CNG filling stations to supply Return-It’s fleet in the future.

One CNG hybrid-electric collection compaction truck will increase the amount of beverage containers transported in one trip by six times – from 150,000 containers to 900,000 containers per trip; reduce emissions by 69 metric tonnes of CO2 compared to a diesel truck; and reduce Return-It’s emissions within the Lower Mainland by five percent, and province-wide by two percent.

Operating on a parallel hybrid, the new CNG hybrid truck doesn’t switch between electric and primary fuel but acts as an assist when accelerating or driving up hills.

“As the province’s leading product stewardship organization, we recognize we can do more to decarbonize our transportation network in order to make an even bigger impact on greenhouse gas emissions,” said Allen Langdon, President & CEO of Return-It. “As part of Return-It’s modernization program launched earlier this year, we are piloting this new technology as a first step towards transitioning our entire fleet.”

“Heavy duty diesel trucks are responsible for nearly a quarter of all transportation emissions in B.C.,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “Organizations like Return-It who are embracing new technologies in CNG hybrid-electric vehicles for their return-to-base fleets are helping the transition to lower and zero-emissions trucking, and helping us meet our CleanBC goals.”

Return-It is an industry owned, not-for-profit, product stewardship agency responsible for the collection and recycling of beverage containers across British Columbia.