03/06/2013 11:15 EST | Updated 05/06/2013 05:12 EDT

City of Saskatoon looks at benefits of using natural gas garbage trucks

SASKATOON - It heats your home and may soon fuel the truck that picks up your garbage.

The City of Saskatoon is in the early stages of a pilot project looking at garbage trucks powered by natural gas.

"The intent would be to buy one or two waste trucks as compressed natural gas and a partnership with SaskEnergy (where) they would provide a temporary fuelling station," said Ian Loughran, energy and sustainability engineering manager with the City of Saskatoon.

Loughran said garbage trucks fuelled with natural gas are quieter, about 20 per cent cleaner and save about 30 per cent on fuel costs.

"This is one project that seems to make sense economically as well as the green aspect," he said.

Loughran said a natural gas garbage truck will cost approximately 10 per cent more than a diesel-powered one, which on average costs between $250,000 and $300,000.

The goal for the city is to have at least one natural gas garbage truck on the streets by June 2014.

Doug Kelln, president and CEO of SaskEnergy, said if more trucks in the province switch to natural gas, that creates another use for their pipelines, which means they could pass along savings to your heating bill.

"You're seeing more applications for natural gas and that will be good news for residential, commercial and industrial users," Kelln said.

Safety and training will also be top of mind for both the city and SaskEnergy. Loughran said they will examine building codes for storing the trucks and training for the people who will maintain the vehicles.

Kelln also pointed out safety will be a priority in the functioning of all trucks powered by natural gas.

"The regulations are there. There's standards that are there and the safety can be accommodated just like a gasoline or diesel fuel," Kelln said.