New LHU trolley runs on natural gas

LOCK HAVEN – Lock Haven University has become the first Pennsylvania institution of higher learning to adopt economical, environmentally-friendly natural gas as a fuel for its student transportation.

A third student commuter trolley was added for this semester, and the new vehicle is powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). It is fueled every weekday at the brand-new station at the Wayne Township Landfill, about four miles from campus.

This trolley has a front engine, reported Rich Getgen, university Assistant Director of Operations.

“It looks a little different, a little shorter, but it has the same seating capacity,” he said.

The university started converting to natural gas in 1998 through UGI Utilities Inc., he said.

The days of the old physical plant that provided steam to every building are long gone. As the pipes aged, more and more steam was lost underground, making that system inefficient. Every building has its own boiler now, Getgen said, and those boilers have been converted so they can use different fuels, including natural gas. The campus has its own infrastructure, owned by the university, for delivering the gas, Getgen said.

CNG-fueled vehicles seems like a natural next step.

“The Wayne Township station kind of sealed the deal for us. They have been very, very good to us there,” he said. “We’ve even looked into having our own slow-fill station here, but the cost vs. benefit ratio has not panned out yet.”

See the weekend print edition of The Express for the full story.