Sunday, February 28, 2016

"New U.S. Company Offers Dedicated CNG Range"

Green Bridge Technologies, LLC (GBT), the new NGV division of alternative fuels systems manufacturer ICOM North America, launched their brand in conjunction with Transportation Energy Partners' Energy Independence Summit (EIS) in Washington, DC earlier this month. GBT showcased several vehicles at the event, including a CNG Chevy Trax®, one of GBT's dedicated CNG vehicle line-up which also includes the Buick Encore®, Chevy Cruze® and Chevy Sonic®, all featuring Crazy Diamond Performance™ ECODrive™ technology.

Recognizing the growing interest in natural gas vehicles, spurred in large part by abundant American natural gas resources, ICOM North America with 25 years in the LPG automotive field partnered with Crazy Diamond Performance (CDP), a gaseous fuels industry company with natural gas engine calibration expertise, to bring to market innovative advanced NGVs through the GBT brand.
GBT is the exclusive sales, systems packager and distributor for CDP CNG vehicles.

The summit was the first stop on a 30-day road tour that is travelling up the Mid-Atlantic coast before heading west through upstate New York and down through Pittsburgh then on to Ohio, Indiana and Illinois and back to the company's base in New Hudson, Michigan.

"This tour is the first in a series we're coordinating across the country to introduce our brand and vehicle line-up to our Clean Cities Coalition and natural gas company allies," says GBT CEO Albert Venezio. "It also provides prospective fleet customers the chance to get behind the wheel," he adds. "Our sub-compact and compact sedans and SUVs fit a niche that no other NGV supplier currently fills," adds Venezio, noting that interest among government, gas company and taxi fleet operators is already strong. "GBT is proud to offer CNG vehicles that are among the cleanest combustion vehicles in the world," says GBT Chairman Ralph Perpetuini. GBT's initial line-up of vehicles are EPA-certified to Tier 2 Bin 3 emissions levels.

The Trax® is a compact SUV with the fuel economy of a car and the versatility of a full size SUV. Its highly efficient and super clean 1.4L turbo-charged engine delivers 130Hp/150ft-lb torque and, with 35/25mpg (highway/city) fuel economy, its 8.5GGE fuel capacity easily translates into a range of 250+ miles.

The Buick Encore® is powered by a turbo-charged 1.4L engine, and the Chevy Cruze® and Sonic® platforms are offered with either 1.4L turbo or 1.8L naturally aspirated natural gas engine. Additional GM platforms are in development and certification testing with CDP.

More road tours are slated for the West Coast and the Southeast later this Spring.

Green Bridge Technologies website.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"Here’s a how-to guide to help states cut their emissions with energy efficiency"

By Mary Shoemaker, Research Assistant, Environmental and State Policy with The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
As inhabitants of the Information Age, we have the power to do whatever we put our minds to. Want to learn to tie a tie? There are tutorials on YouTube. Thinking of baking macaroons? Look it up on Pinterest. Want to learn a new language? There's an app for that. No matter what task you are tackling, there is likely an online guide to help you "do it yourself." While we might not be able to help you assemble IKEA furniture or truss a chicken, ACEEE can help you develop a strategy for complying with the Clean Power Plan while avoiding energy waste.

ACEEE's new white paper series is our "how-to" guide for states as they embark upon the path to meeting their Clean Power Plan emission reduction targets. Even with the recent Supreme Court stay, we think there are plenty of reasons to continue to plan for the future.

Energy efficiency has long been recognized as a tool for creating jobs and keeping electricity affordable, and it is increasingly being seen as a strategy for reducing pollution. Through the Clean Power Plan, EPA requires states to reduce their carbon pollution and encourages them to use energy efficiency to do so.

In the first paper of the series, we highlight the steps states can take to use energy efficiency as a key compliance pathway. We describe the WHO (important stakeholder groups), the WHAT (factors to consider in evaluating EE options), and the WHY (critical decisions and their implications for EE). The good news is that states need not start from scratch and can build on existing energy efficiency programs as part of their compliance plans. We explain how to gather all the right tools needed to develop a lowest-cost compliance plan.

In the subsequent papers in this series we describe the ingredients needed to whip up particular plan components starting with "Lead By Example" (LBE) initiatives. When it comes to saving energy and reducing emissions, state and local governments can do it themselves through energy savings targets for public buildings or energy savings performance contracts. This guide highlights tried-and-true best practices in designing, implementing, and expanding LBE programs—with specific examples sprinkled throughout.

While the steps for saving energy and reducing pollution are different from culinary "how-to's," our twenty-first century do-it-yourself attitude is transferable. Use energy efficiency in any Clean Power Plan compliance scenario? You can do that. Reliably track energy savings from energy efficiency programs? You already do that. In forthcoming best practice pieces, ACEEE will explore other energy efficiency opportunities, including those in low-income communities.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Important Alternative Fuels Acronyms

Question of the Month: Clean Cities uses a lot of acronyms. What are the most important ones to understand?

Answer: Have you ever been on the DOE's AFDC to learn about EVSE for EVs or PHEVs to meet EPAct requirements? Let's take a step back. Perhaps you feel like you need a translator just to understand the basics of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles. If this sounds familiar, get in the know with our list of the top Clean Cities acronyms, broken down into 10 categories:

  1. Federal Agencies and National Laboratories
    1. DOE: U.S. Department of Energy: The federal agency with the mission to ensure America's security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions. Clean Cities is part of that overall mission. DOE includes:
      1. EIA: Energy Information Administration: Collects, analyzes, and disseminates impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy.
      2. DOE National Laboratories: Organizations affiliated with DOE, focused on delivering solutions to energy challenges and transforming the way our nation uses energy. There are more than a dozen DOE national laboratories. The labs that contribute to the work of Clean Cities include:
        1. ANL: Argonne National Laboratory
        2. INL: Idaho National Laboratory
        3. NREL: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
        4. ORNL: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
        5. PNNL: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
        6. DOT: U.S. Department of Transportation: A federal agency with the mission to ensure a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets our national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is part of DOT.
        7. EPA: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: A federal agency with the mission to protect human health and the environment.
  2. AFDC: Alternative Fuels Data Center: A web-based resource that provides information, data, and tools to help fleets and other transportation decision makers find ways to reduce petroleum consumption through the use of alternative and renewable fuels, advanced vehicles, and other fuel-saving measures.
  3. Vehicle Characteristics
    1. GVWR: Gross vehicle weight rating: A metric that includes total vehicle weight plus fluids, passengers, and cargo. GVWR is used to define vehicle classes.
    2. VMT: Vehicle miles traveled: VMT is the number of miles traveled by a vehicle or set of vehicles over a certain time period.
  4. Fuel Economy
    1. MPG: Miles per gallon: The standard for tracking a vehicle's fuel economy.
    2. MPGe: Miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent: For vehicles that do not use liquid fuels, a measure of fuel economy that allows for a reasonable comparison between vehicles using different fuels. MPGe represents the number of miles the vehicle can go using a quantity of fuel with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline.
    3. GGE: Gasoline gallon equivalent: The amount of fuel it takes to equal the energy content of one liquid gallon of gasoline.
    4. DGE: Diesel gallon equivalent: The amount of fuel it takes to equal the energy content of one liquid gallon of diesel.
  5. Vehicle Classes: Various agencies and organizations classify vehicles differently. Below are FHWA classifications:
    1. LDV: Light-duty vehicle: A vehicle under 10,000 pounds (lbs.; Class 1-2).
    2. MDV: Medium-duty vehicle: A vehicle between 10,000 and 26,000 lbs. (Class 3-6).
    3. HDV: Heavy-duty vehicle: A vehicle over 26,000 lbs. (Class 7-8).
  6. Vehicle Emissions and Pollutants
    1. GHG: Greenhouse gas: A global pollutant, meaning it has climate and other impacts globally, no matter where it is emitted. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is by far the most abundant GHG produced by the transportation sector.
    2. Air pollutants:
      1. CO: Carbon monoxide: A colorless, odorless gas emitted from combustion processes. In the United States, 56% of CO (up to 95% in cities) is emitted by on-road vehicles.
      2. NOx: Oxides of nitrogen: A group of highly reactive gasses emitted from combustion processes that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone. Approximately 55% of man-made NOx emissions come from motor vehicles.
      3. SOx: Oxides of sulfur: A group of highly reactive gasses emitted from combustion processes. SOx is a concern for life cycle analysis of electric vehicle emissions, but not for conventional or other alternative fuel vehicles, because electricity generation is the largest source of SOx.
      4. PM: Particulate matter: A complex mixture of acids, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles, emitted directly from vehicles (especially diesel) and formed through the atmospheric reactions of NOx and SOx.
      5. VOC: Volatile organic compound: Organic compounds that become a gas at room temperature. VOCs are the leading cause of ground-level ozone, also known as smog.
  7. Alternative Fuels and Alternative Fuel Vehicles
    1. AFV: Alternative fuel vehicle: Any dedicated, flexible fuel, bi-fuel, or dual-fuel vehicle designed to operate on at least one alternative fuel.
    2. Biodiesel
      1. B5: 5% biodiesel, 95% petroleum diesel: Considered diesel fuel and approved for safe operation in any compression-ignition engine designed to operate on petroleum diesel.
      2. B20: 20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel: The most common biodiesel blend in the United States.
      3. B100: 100% biodiesel: Also referred to as pure biodiesel.
    3. Electricity
      1. HEV: Hybrid electric vehicle: Powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery. The battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the ICE.
      2. PEV: Plug-in electric vehicle: Derives all or part of their power from electricity supplied by the electric grid. PEVs include:
        1. PHEV: Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle: An HEV that can be plugged into an electric power source to charge the battery.
        2. EV: All-electric vehicle: Uses a battery to store the electric energy that powers the motor. Batteries are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source.
        3. EVSE: Electric vehicle supply equipment: Deliver electrical energy from an electricity source to charge a PEV's batteries.
      3. Ethanol
        1. E85: A high-level ethanol-gasoline blend containing 51%-83% ethanol, depending on geography and season.
        2. FFV: Flexible fuel vehicle: A vehicle with an ICE capable of operating on gasoline, E85, or a mixture of the two.
      4. Hydrogen
        1. FCEV: Fuel cell electric vehicle: A vehicle that uses electricity to power a motor, but produces its primary electricity using a fuel cell powered by hydrogen.
      5. Natural Gas
        1. CNG: Compressed natural gas
        2. LNG: Liquefied natural gas
        3. RNG: Renewable natural gas: Also known as biomethane, a fuel produced from organic materials (e.g., waste from landfills, livestock). It can be compressed or liquefied, and is pipeline-quality gas that is compatible with conventional natural gas in vehicles.
        4. NGV: Natural gas vehicle: A dedicated, bi-fuel, or dual-fuel vehicle capable of running on CNG or LNG.
      6. Propane
        1. LPG: Liquefied petroleum gas: A term used interchangeably with propane.
  8. Clean Cities Tools and Resources
    1. GREET: Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation: An ANL model that evaluates the energy and emission impacts of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles, the fuel cycle from wells-to-wheels, and the vehicle cycle through material recovery and vehicle disposal.
    2. AFLEET: Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation: An ANL spreadsheet tool that estimates petroleum use, GHG and air pollutant emissions, and cost of ownership of AFVs and conventional vehicles, using simple spreadsheet inputs.
    3. PREP: Petroleum Reduction Planning: An online tool that helps fleets create a comprehensive plan to reduce petroleum consumption and GHG emissions.
    4. VICE: Vehicle and Infrastructure Cash-Flow Evaluation: An NREL spreadsheet model for fleet managers to assess the financial soundness of converting their fleets to run on CNG.
  9. Federal Programs
    1. CAFE: Corporate Average Fuel Economy: DOT standards to improve the fuel efficiency and emissions of new on-road motor vehicles.
    2. CMAQ: Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement: A DOT program that provides funding for projects and programs to reduce transportation-related emissions.
    3. RFS: Renewable Fuel Standard: An EPA program that requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels to reduce GHG emissions.
      1. RINs: Renewable Identification Numbers: Credits used for compliance with the RFS.
  10. Key Federal Legislation
    1. CAA: Clean Air Act of 1970: Defines EPA's responsibilities for protecting and improving air quality. CAA authorizes the development of comprehensive federal and state regulations to limit both stationary and mobile emissions sources.
    2. EPAct: Energy Policy Act: EPAct 1992 encourages the use of alternative fuels through both regulatory and voluntary activities that DOE carries out. It was amended several times, including via EPAct 2005.
    3. EISA: Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007: Aims to improve vehicle fuel economy and reduce United States dependence on petroleum. EISA includes provisions for the RFS and CAFE standards.
    4. ARRA: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) of 2009: Appropriates investments in energy independence and renewable energy technologies, including Clean Cities and other grant programs.
Bonus TRS: Technical Response Service: Sometimes you even need an acronym to figure out an acronym! That's where the TRS comes in. For assistance with technical questions about alternative fuels and advanced vehicles, email the TRS at or call 800-254-6735.

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Electric Vehicles In Government Fleets

Sonoma County, California, and the City of Seattle, Washington, have real fleet experience with EVs. Some EVs do not deliver the promised range, but in Seattle only "about 2-3% of total motor pool trips taken" result in being towed back in. Actual mileage may vary greatly according to how a vehicle is driven. But the lifetime cost of fuel alone for a gasoline-powered vehicle may be as much as four times as much as the purchase price of an EV.

Both agencies plan to add more EVs to their fleets in the future.

Gas vs. Diesel

A guide to analyzing the difference in costs and benefits of gasoline or diesel engines, specifically for government fleets. Diesel's mileage advantage is only 2 MPG among light or medium trucks. Government fleets usually do not take advantage of the greater longevity of a diesel engine. The acquisition cost for a diesel truck may be $8,000 more than the cost of gasoline-powered truck.
It’s up to the fleet manager, in conjunction with peer discussions and reasoned consideration, to be the voice of reason in the sometimes highly charged specification process. As the subject matter expert, the fleet manager has a responsibility to ensure the best, most capable and cost-effective vehicles are selected, in spite of the wishes and pressure from outside. The fleet manager is the last line of defense in ensuring taxpayers’ vehicle investments are reasonable and represent the best value and return.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Clean Cities Funding Cut For 2017

The DOE has reduced the funding requested for Clean Cities by 32% for fiscal year 2017. The 10-page budget request is available here.

Clean Energy Doubles and Expands Renewable Natural Gas Sales

Sales of renewable natural gas (RNG), branded Redeem™ in 2015 compared to 2014, rose from 20 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) to 50 million GGEs.

"UPS, already the largest user of Redeem™, currently fuels close to 400 vehicles in California, and will now take delivery for portions of its delivery vehicle fleet in Texas, continuing their commitment to driving one billion miles using its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet by the end of 2017."

Clean Energy believes that Redeem™ is the cleanest transportation fuel commercially available in the US today. Redeem™ is a renewable natural gas vehicle fuel, often referred to as biomethane. It is derived from biogenic methane or biogas, which is methane that is naturally generated by the decomposition of organic waste. The methane gas is processed, purified and sent into the interstate natural gas pipeline and made available exclusively to Clean Energy customers. Redeem™ biomethane vehicle fuel is procured from biomethane production facilities, including two owned and operated by Clean Energy.

"Zero Emission Generators Make a Touchdown in San Francisco's Super Bowl City"

Sustainability and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions were a fundamental goal of the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee in San Francisco.

That's why the host committee, in partnership with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, deployed Luxfer-GTM zero-emission portable generators powered by hydrogen fuel cells throughout San Francisco's Super Bowl City.

Delisa Leighton of Luxfer-GTM, Ken Fischang of Sonoma County Tourism and Andrea Laughlin of Altergy with one of the ZeroSet zero emission generators deployed at Super Bowl City.Luxfer-GTM ZeroSet, built around ultra-reliable fuel cell and composite cylinder technology, are whisper-quiet and have a run time of five and a half days when used in constant operation. The units provide clean energy at both 110V AC and 48V DC power settings, have no moving parts, and require no maintenance. These portable zero emission power generators can either be fueled at one of the many stations being built around the country or fueled onsite by delivery truck.

"We are very proud to be part of this groundbreaking sustainability initiative at Super Bowl City," said DeLisa Leighton, senior director of strategic accounts for Luxfer-GTM Technologies. "We wanted to do our part to increase awareness of zero emissions power generation technology and the developing hydrogen infrastructure network in California and the United States."

During the eight-day event leading up to the Super Bowl, the ZeroSets were used to support the Sonoma County Wine Lounge and Market Street Bistro Area, along with being wheelchair battery charging stations. They were also used for the load out process after the event because they provided a quiet, environmentally-friendly power source.

To learn more about the ZeroSet Portable Generators, visit

Sustainable Energy’s 2016 Factbook

By Dave McCurdy:
I am proud to once again participate in the launch of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy's 2016 Factbook. This year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has put together a detailed report on our nation's energy outlook, highlighting the simultaneous growth in natural gas, investments in renewables and the US economy.

The 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook proves that natural gas is seeing remarkable growth. In particular, there is a movement happening at the state level to McCurdy Photoupgrade our natural gas infrastructure and extend natural gas service to more consumers. In 2014, natural gas utilities invested $9.7 billion in our nation's distribution infrastructure, a 94 percent increase compared to the previous decade. This is part of the $22 billion natural gas utilities spend annually to help enhance the safety of natural gas distribution and transmission systems. As a result, there has been an increased prevalence of natural gas replacement and expansion programs across the U.S.

This national trend is due to the record year natural gas had in 2015. More homes and businesses use natural gas today than ever before and the numbers continue to increase because it is comfortable, efficient and affordable. For example, households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying spend an average of $840 less per year than homes using electricity for those appliances.

The more than 100-year supply of natural gas in the United States forms the foundation for this clean energy source to heat our homes, run our vehicles, generate power, and support other forms of renewable energy for decades to come. Thank you to the Business Council for Sustainable Energy for leading this dialogue once again, about how our nation's robust energy supply is helping to meet our daily needs safely and reliably while growing our economy.