MURRAY HILL and NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Linde, a gasses and engineering company in the liquefied natural gas fueling market, is deepening its commitment to the fuel with the purchase of 20 LNG-fueled trucks.

"Reducing emissions is a key factor for Linde, since we have a large truck fleet and we are committed to adopting solutions that support sustainability"

The trucks, expected to hit the road later this year, will account for 20 percent of Linde's 2012 tractor purchases and will be integrated into Linde's fleet of 700-plus trucks carrying cryogenic gases to customers throughout North America.

LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to liquid form to enable easier transportation and storage. For years, Linde has brought its cryogenic expertise to develop the merchant LNG market by building plants at various commercial scales to produce LNG from virtually any methane source.

"Linde is now becoming a bigger LNG customer ourselves. It's testament to our belief in the benefits of LNG and our commitment to be a leader in this industry," said Earl Lawson, vice president, energy solutions for Linde North America.

The purchase is an outgrowth of a pilot project in southern California, where Linde tested the effectiveness of three LNG trucks hauling liquid carbon dioxide to customers throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The success of the pilot project now allows Linde to move to commercial utilization of these trucks.

The project delivered several key benefits. Not only did the pilot project help Linde save money on fuel, but it reduced Linde's carbon footprint, since natural gas burns more cleanly than diesel, yielding between 20 and 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions. "Reducing emissions is a key factor for Linde, since we have a large truck fleet and we are committed to adopting solutions that support sustainability," Lawson said.

The company also was able to lessen its dependence on foreign oil. "One of LNG's main benefits is that the natural gas used in the U.S. is produced domestically, which also creates domestic jobs," Lawson said.

In addition, the LNG-fueled tractors are lighter in weight than the diesel-fueled trucks they are replacing, which allows Linde to increase payloads and therefore improve service to customers. Lastly, the LNG-fueled trucks are just more comfortable to drive. "The tractors run a lot more smoothly and quietly - that's a big benefit considering our drivers spend about 10 hours on the road each day," said Fred Kinkin, head of supply for Linde North America.