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Cyclum Renewables reimagines the truck stop ahead of electric semi truck surge

Somewhere in a Venn diagram that includes Turkish bath houses, refugee camps, and outdoor music festivals exists the American truck stop. In concept and execution, it’s a business model that has endured for decades – but the coming wave of electric semi trucks will present different challenges than a gas pump and shower, and challenge presents opportunity.

Cyclum Renewables plans to construct a nationwide network of “renewable fuel truck stops” to cater to the growing number of Freightliner, Kenworth, Volvo, and (one assumes, eventually) Nikola and Tesla semi trucks that will soon hit US highways. And the company plans to “top up” those new-era ZEV trucks with energy generated by “renewable natural gas.”

The company says its “renewable natural gas” (RNG) is sourced from dairy and swine waste, food processing byproducts, and agricultural crops. Its partners process these materials to what it claims is “carbon negative” natural gas, which can be used directly as fuel in CNG applications, or easily converted into electricity or hydrogen by powering gas generators.

Beyond fueling, Cyclum promises to enhance the traditional diner/convenience store vibe of a Love’s or Flying J with new features that speak to the added dwell time that’s expected to follow electric truck adoption. “Cyclum knows that some renewable fueling choices will lead to additional time spent at the station,” reads the company website. “We aim to provide our clients with a state-of-the-art facility, allowing for rest and relaxation. Enjoy a meal in the Cyclum Lounge, or practice your putting on our green!”

I’ll have to ask the Old school trucking guys if any of them carry a set of golf clubs in their sleeper cabs. Maybe they’ll start!

Yes, that’s a Peterbilt golf cart; courtesy Classy Carts, LLC.

The “green truck stop” startup is currently locating sites for its first phase of green trucking stations, specifically targeting the I-5 corridor spanning from San Diego, CA, to Vancouver, BC. Special attention will be paid to major ports along this interstate, including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver. In its home state of North Carolina, Cyclum will focus on major trucking thoroughfares surrounding the Charlotte metro area, including I-85, I-77, and I-95.

Electrek’s Take

The Cyclum Renewables people seem like they genuinely believe their version of natural gas is more ecologically sound than the conventional fracking type, and that may very well be true – but it’s a minor point either way, because what they’ve touched on is the fact that America’s truckers will need truck stops that can charge or fuel up their trucks if they’re going to make a switch to battery-electric semi or hydrogen trucks anytime soon. And, frankly, they’ll need to trust that highly a visible infrastructure to support them is in place before they make the switch from diesel.

Projects like these Cyclum stations would go a long way towards removing those refueling concerns and could help to accelerate zero-emission truck purchases among the owner/operators out there.

Source | Images: Cyclum Renewables.

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