Innovative Cities Funding New Clean Fuel Stations 

November 22, 2021

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In partnership with: Trillium

Cities across the nation are looking for new and innovative approaches to reduce emissions from their transportation systems. Adopting an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy allows cities to utilize multiple clean fuel solutions so municipal fleets can choose the fuel that works best for their unique operations. In Illinois, city fleets are looking at varied solutions to enhance their sustainability initiatives while maintaining an efficient delivery of city services and mobility.

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) in Illinois, recently unveiled two hydrogen fuel cell buses and fueling stations. The City of Naperville, Illinois, looked to near-zero emission natural gas vehicles and added a compressed natural gas station to refuel their transit buses. Both looked to Trillium, a leading provider of renewable fuels and alternative fueling solutions, for fuel supply, design, installation, and operation of these innovative energy solutions for their fleets.

“We are excited to support these forward-thinking cities in their transition toward a more sustainable public transportation network,” said Ryan Erickson, vice president of Trillium. “These stations will continue to be a benchmark for other transit agencies as they develop their clean energy plans.”

Champaign-Urbana Buses are ‘Riding on Sunshine’

MTD is the first transit agency in the nation with a hydrogen fleet fueled entirely from a 100% renewable source. By harnessing the power of the sun to produce their hydrogen fuel, they don’t need to rely on grid electricity that could be made from burning fossil fuels. MTD partnered with Trillium to design, build, operate and maintain the innovate new hydrogen fueling station which utilizes renewable hydrogen that is produced onsite using electrolysis via technology that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen using solar power from 5,500 solar panels. Any leftover energy created by the solar array will be sold back to the grid as clean energy for the neighboring community to use.

Hydrogen is increasingly playing a crucial role in providing clean, efficient, and resilient energy across the country.

The clean hydrogen produced is able to power MTD’s two new zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses and has the capacity to fuel a fleet of over 20, 60-foot hydrogen fuel cell buses that serve the cities of Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Hydrogen is increasingly playing a crucial role in providing clean, efficient, and resilient energy across the country. Hydrogen fueling takes no more time than conventional diesel fueling, which enables flexible route and service designs. Fleets, especially transit fleets, are turning to hydrogen as it offers longer range and a similar fueling experience to diesel and gasoline. The buses can drive up to 300 miles on a single refueling and can refuel in under 10 minutes.

Naperville’s Commitment to Sustainable Initiatives 

The City of Naperville and its fleet partner Groot Industries celebrated the opening of a new public compressed natural gas fueling station earlier this year. The station was built by Trillium with help from a $300,000 Drive Clean Chicago grant secured by the city in 2016. The station is open to the public 24/7 and features multiple CNG dispensers for light- and heavy-duty fueling. It serves the City of Naperville vehicles, refuse trucks from Groot and other CNG fleets operating in and around Naperville. Natural gas for their fleet is part of a diverse portfolio of alternative fuel solutions to meet the City’s sustainability goals. This station is proof of their commitment and will allow more NGVs to be added to the fleet and save the city money while also reducing environmental impacts.

Investment in NZE NGVs is even more effective as fleets utilize renewable natural gas (RNG).

Low carbon natural gas is a clean-burning alternative fuel, producing up to 27% fewer carbon emissions than diesel, while providing safe and reliable technology that can perform on par with diesel technology. Investment in NZE NGVs is even more effective as fleets utilize renewable natural gas (RNG). Trillium provides fleet operators from coast to coast with RNG — a cost effective, pipeline quality, ultra-low carbon fuel for all medium- and heavy-duty applications including goods movement, transit and refuse.

“The City of Naperville is strongly committed to sustainable transportation and this natural gas infrastructure is in place and delivering immediate emission reductions for our city fleets, helping to move toward cleaner air for all,” said Dick Dublinski, director of Public Works for the City of Naperville.

For more than 20 years, Trillium, a member of the Love’s Family of Companies has exceeded customer expectations by delivering superior quality, reliability, and dependability at more than 200 alternative fueling stations nationwide. Trillium specializes in designing, building, and operating these facilities and provides 24/7 maintenance services for various types of professional fleets. Combined, Love’s Travel Stops and Trillium own nearly 70 public-access CNG facilities. To learn more, visit