In a weekly address airing November 16, President Obama cited the country’s gains toward energy independence, through increased oil and natural gas production, plus solar and wind power ramp up, concluding: “More good jobs. Cheaper and cleaner sources of energy. A secure energy future. Thanks to the grit and resilience of American businesses and the American people, that’s where we’re heading.”
Titled “Taking Control of America’s Energy Future,” the address was perfectly timed with an event four days earlier in Gary, Ind., where Ozinga Energy, LLC dedicated its third compressed natural gas fueling station for fleets and retail customers—and the 20 front discharge mixers based at Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete’s main Indiana plant.
Addressing about 40 area contractors, fleet operators and local officials gathered in a spacious maintenance shop, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN-1st) tied the dedication to Congress’ commitment of a small portion of the federal budget to energy and called the station an investment that helps solve the country’s energy crisis. Rep. Visclosky’s district encompasses six of 11 Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete plants in Indiana.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson noted how her city stands with businesses like Ozinga Energy, thanking management for showing how “you can be environmentally sound and protect the bottom line.” A partial conversion of the Gary municipal fleet from diesel to CNG power is in the works, she added.
Ozinga Energy was established in 2012 to build fueling infrastructure for conversion of a 500-plus mixer and support vehicle fleet from diesel to CNG power, phased through decade’s end. The business launched commercially in September of that year at the Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete downtown Chicago plant, whose natural gas compressor and fueling infrastructure serve a 30 CNG-mixer fleet, plus a station for business and retail customers. A second CNG fueling station opened in summer 2013 at the producer’s flagship plant in Mokena, Ill., located near an Interstate 80 interchange, key traffic arteries, and the Ozinga Brothers Inc., headquarters.
Ozinga Energy crews then shifted to the Gary plant, timing compressor and fueling infrastructure installation with the August-September delivery of 20 front discharge mixers Oshkosh Truck converted to CNG power—replacing Cummins ISM diesel with Cummins Westport ISL G engines. A fourth compressor and fueling station are set at the producer’s Des Plaines, Ill., plant near O’Hare International Airport, with anticipated service in early 2014. Beyond internal fleet service and business-to-business or retail supply, Ozinga Energy offers expertise in natural gas fueling solutions, and designs, constructs and services CNG fueling stations.
Taking stock of the economy of CNG fleet power, and the country’s abundance of proven, shale-embedded natural gas reserves that can now be tapped thanks to hydraulic fracturing methods, Ozinga Bros. President Marty Ozinga IV told the Gary station gathering, “We are on the front lines of an opportunity to use clean, domestically sourced energy. The conversion to CNG power, and construction of fueling infrastructure to support our fleet and outside customers, makes business sense and benefits local communities. The move to CNG was an easy decision.”