Tanker set to carry natural gas under review

FAIRBANKS — A new trailer specially designed to haul natural gas across Alaska will be under review to determine whether it sees widespread adoption.

The 53-foot liquefied natural gas trailer will hit the roads for the first time this weekend as part of a months-long trial with the Fairbanks Natural Gas utility’s fleet of trucks, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

The 13,000-gallon capacity trailer combines a large cryogenic storage container made by South Africa-based GasCon with a five-axle trailer made by Heil Trailer International, a company from Tennessee. The unique creation between the two companies was coordinated by Western Cascade Trucking Equipment.

“It’s a proven platform,” said Nathan Langford, a Heil engineer who worked on the trailer. “The axle layout and everything is proven. The new technology here is tailoring it just for the Alaskan market.”

The trailer’s higher capacity will drive down the overall cost to deliver gas to Fairbanks, Langford said.

“It has a direct impact on that operating cost,” he said. “You’re trying to supply energy to the Interior of Alaska, but you’re having to use energy just to transport it. By hauling more per load, hopefully you can eliminate a couple different hauls. And that has even a slight positive impact on air quality because you’re not putting as much emissions into the air.”

Pat Malara, president of Western Cascade Trucking Equipment, said a long-term goal for the trailer is to add a smaller tow-behind trailer to carry an additional 5,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas.

The trailer will spend the next few months on the road under the oversight of Faribanks Natural Gas, which trucks up gas from Point Mackenzie to the Interior.

Dan Britton, the president and CEO of Fairbanks Natural Gas, said the trailer will be tried out to test how it runs on Alaska roads and to determine whether it will be a good fit for the utility’s fleet.

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