Monday, July 3, 2017

US Gas Vehicles Here's an opinion piece by US Gas Vehicles on the subject of the Paris Climate Agreement.
At this critical moment in US history, when our national leaders have abdicated from global climate responsibility, we must focus more than ever on implementing the solutions that can be put to work by cities, states and companies. Together we can fill the void in Washington to meet and exceed the goals of the Paris Agreement and reduce the planet-warming gases that risk the health and livability of this planet for our children and grandchildren.

Solar Installer Info

Here's a website that lists solar installers, including average cost per watt and customer reviews.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

From the Wall Street Journal:
European Cities Are Just Saying 'No' to Scandal-Tinged Diesel Vehicles

Mayors, pressed by courts and activists, are banning or curbing diesel use to combat health-threatening smog

By William Boston
william.boston@wsj.com

Updated June 27, 2017 12:35 p.m. ET

BERLIN—Large European cities from Munich to Madrid are banning or restricting diesel vehicles amid mounting alarm over toxic emissions, presenting a major challenge to European car makers who sell millions of them.

National governments have been slow to react to a string of scandals that have exposed diesel engines as far bigger polluters than advertised. But these cities, goaded by environmental groups, are emerging as the leaders of an antidiesel movement that is forcing Europe's car industry to rethink its future.

Among the cities considering or seeking a ban on diesel vehicles or an environmental tax are BMW AG's BMW 0.99% hometown Munich, and Stuttgart, which hosts Daimler AG DMLRY 0.08% and Porsche SE . POAHY 1.43% Their message to Europe's car makers: If you can't clean diesel, we will. "Cities are sending a signal to the public and manufacturers that there is a preference for clean vehicles," said Ray Minjares, a researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation. The group uncovered emissions cheating by German car maker Volkswagen AG that has drawn attention to the issue over the past two years.

The scandal, which has since spread to other auto makers, started in the U.S. But less than 5% of U.S. cars are diesels, compared with half of all new European cars sold—some 85 million on the road.

The European Union took center stage after it set aggressive targets to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions to fight climate change. European auto makers, especially the Germans, bet big on diesel as their main tool to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. Diesel burns more efficiently than gasoline, so it gets better mileage and emits less carbon dioxide. The industry pushed it and won support from European governments, which have subsidized diesel through lower taxes since the 1990s.

Climate change isn't the only issue. A study co-authored by Mr. Minjares concluded that just one pollutant from diesel engines caused 107,600 premature deaths world-wide in 2015. Around 80% of them were in Europe, China and India.

But car makers will be hard-pressed to shift from diesel and still meet European greenhouse-gas targets. Demand for electric cars is still less than 2% of global auto sales. All sales of new electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, accounted for just 1% of the 14.6 million new cars sold in the EU last year.

German car makers and unions are worried about the impact on their livelihoods. More than half the European sales of Germany's top brands, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche, sport diesel engines.

Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler, which owns Mercedes, said this week that "driving bans are a political response, but will not lead to real change because they can't really be implemented."

Germany's largest industrial union, IG Metall, also objects, in part because they say bans would disproportionately hurt poorer drivers. Car makers, it says, should make older engines cleaner while politicians should promote electric vehicles and invest in technology to improve traffic flows.

"Such a sweeping demand is nonsense," Roman Zitzelsberger, head of IG Metall's southwestern Germany chapter, said this week.

The German auto industry is offering a trade off: It has offered to update software on middle-age diesel vehicles on the road in Germany to bring them in line with modern emissions standards if bans are dropped. But nearly half of the 15 million diesel cars on the road in Germany are too old to fix.

The mayors driving the movement say they have little choice. As traffic hubs, they suffer some of the world's most toxic air. And since the Volkswagen scandal discredited "clean diesel," a barrage of court orders is forcing them to address the issue.

In car-crazy Germany, where Rudolf Diesel invented the eponymous engine, Stuttgart will begin next year to ban all but the most modern diesels, around 90% of them. Munich, which is considering a similar step, must present a plan by week's end to drastically cut the city's chronic pollution, in response to a court ruling.

Paris, which prohibits any diesel vehicle made before 1997 from driving in the city, will extend the ban in July to diesel vehicles made before 2001. That will affect nearly a fifth of the nation's heavy goods vehicles and a smaller percentage of passenger vehicles.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is creating an ultralow-emission zone with a system of prohibitive road tolls. "The air in London is lethal," Mr. Khan said in April as he unveiled plans to steeply raise the toll on the most polluting vehicles starting in 2019.

Oslo, the Norwegian capital, enacted a diesel ban in January as winter smog smothered the city, fining violators nearly $180. The ban, in effect from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., was lifted once winds picked up and the air cleared.

The strategy is gaining traction beyond Europe. Mexico City joined Paris, Athens, and Madrid at a mayors' conference in December in a pledge to ban all diesel vehicles from their cities by 2025. Seoul plans to ban diesel made before 2006 from driving in the city's central districts. "It is correct and important to discuss driving bans," Dieter Reiter, Lord Mayor of Munich, said this month.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What's new for Clean Cities mobile tools and resources?

Question of the Month: What's new for Clean Cities mobile tools and resources?

Answer:
Two new mobile tools have recently become available:

  • Station Locator app for Android: Android users can now access the Station Locator app through the Google Play store. As with the original iPhone app version, users can access the Station Locator from their mobile device and find the 20 closest stations within a 30-mile radius. Results display either on a map or in a list with station addresses, phone numbers, and hours of operation. Also available for iPhone from the iTunes store.
  • Trip Calculator mobile page: FuelEconomy.gov recently launched a mobile web page version of their popular Trip Calculator tool. This page allows users to easily calculate fuel economy for a trip while on the go.

Other Mobile Resources

  • AFDC Station Locator mobile page: If you’d rather not use an app, the Station Locator mobile page provides an easy way to view alternative fueling station information on your smartphone screen, regardless of the type of mobile device used. Users can access the Station Locator by navigating to this link in an internet browser.
  • Find-a-Car app (Android and iPhone): The Find-a-Car app allows users to view the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy ratings, fuel cost estimates, and safety ratings for new and used cars and trucks. The app also allows users to input driving habits to personalize results, and to scan QR codes on window stickers while car shopping to assist in comparing vehicles. The app is available to download on the Google Play store and download on the iTunes store.
  • Find and Compare Cars mobile page: The Find and Compare Cars mobile page allows users to search for vehicles by year, make, and model. Searches can also filter by vehicle class and combined miles per gallon (MPG).
  • EPA Fuel Economy Label mobile page: The EPA Fuel Economy Label mobile page explains what each piece of information detailed on fuel economy labels for gasoline, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric vehicles means.
  • Calculate My MPG mobile page: On this page, users receive assistance calculating and tracking fuel economy and comparing it with the EPA ratings. To get started, users must first create an account by accessing the tool online. Look for an update to the mobile page later this year.
  • Gas Mileage Tips mobile page: This page provides drivers with quick tips to obtaining better gas mileage and shows how much money per gallon they can save as a result.

You can rate and provide feedback on the Google Play and iTunes stores for the Station Locator and Find-a-Car apps. You may also contact the TRS at any time with feedback about these mobile resources, as well as suggestions for new tools.


Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icf.com
800-254-6735

Saturday, June 17, 2017

LA Metro wants to have 2,200 electric buses by 2030

From KPCC.
The nation's second largest public transit agency – the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority – is going electric. On Thursday, Metro announced it plans to begin phasing out its 2,200 natural gas buses and replace them with electric battery engines by 2030.

Metro is the largest public transit agency yet to signal it intends to ditch internal combustion engines. In Southern California, the Antelope Valley and San Gabriel Valley-based Foothill transit authorities have goals of running only buses with zero tailpipe emissions in the next 15 years. But these agencies combined have fewer than 450 buses – less than 20 percent of Metro's total bus fleet.

Currently, Metro does not have any electric buses in its fleet. The agency bought five electric buses from Lancaster-based bus manufacturer BYD a few years ago, but was so disappointed with the results that BYD bought them back.

Metro staff say they are aware that the agency is taking an unprecedented step.

"I worry all the time," said John Drayton, Metro's head of vehicle technology, laughing. "This is not a comfortable 'go and buy buses that have been driven for 12 years and are service proven.' We're going into new territory here."

The plan is to begin by electrifying the Orange Line, a bus line that runs from North Hollywood through the San Fernando Valley, and the Silver Line, which runs from downtown LA to San Pedro. Drayton said electric bus technology is available today that will work on these lines, which are flatter and less demanding on the bus than many of LA County's other bus routes. If that goes well, the Metro board will decide in 2019 whether to proceed with phase two: replacing the rest of the natural gas fleet.

Drayton said there's not currently an electric bus on the market that can meet Metro's needs for its rapid or local service, where buses run 250 miles a day. "We think those vehicles will become available around 2020 or 2022," he said.

If by that time the bus technology hasn't progressed as much as Metro thought, the agency will push back the 2030 timeline.

If Metro makes the switch, the agency could see significant air and climate benefits. Electric buses have 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and 20 percent fewer smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions than the cleanest natural gas bus, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. (The natural gas industry disputes this.) And as the California power grid becomes more reliant on renewable energy and less on fossil fuels, the climate benefits will increase.

For months, environmentalists and public health advocates had been pushing Metro to commit to zero tailpipe emissions technology. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti sent a letter to the agency in May urging the same.

Adrian Martinez, a clean air advocate and attorney with Earthjustice, called the announcement, "the start of something big. It's a big deal when one of the largest transit agencies in the country moves to a zero emission future."

Meanwhile the natural gas industry – which stands to lose a huge contract selling fuel to Metro's compressed natural gas buses – told the Metro board they could be making a huge mistake.

"The first five (electric) buses failed," said Todd Campbell, with the natural gas fuel supplier Clean Energy Fuels. He cautioned that the electric buses – which currently cost upwards of $200,000 more than a comparable natural gas bus – may not come down in price. He asked the board to consider where the money would come from to pay for the $3 billion needed to switch over Metro's entire fleet and build charging infrastructure.

"We have yet to see advanced clean tech for any platform go down in costs and there is a proven technology available to Metro right now that achieves deeper emissions reductions than electric at a fraction of the cost," Campbell said after the meeting, referring to "renewable natural gas," or using methane captured from dairies and landfills as fuel instead of fossil-based natural gas produced from wells.

Others told the Metro board members that in switching to electric buses, they were modeling clean technology for dirtier transportation sectors. Taken together, heavy-duty diesel trucks in Southern California emit six times as much smog-forming nitrogen oxide as transit buses, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

"You need to treat your role as a proving ground for durability, reliability, costs and other factors for the heavy-duty vehicle industry generally, not just for your fleet or for buses," said Denny Zane, the executive director of the public transit advocacy group MoveLA. "This is a much a bigger issue for you to ponder."

Historically, Metro has been a proving ground for earlier versions of clean tech: after testing out its natural gas engines in transit buses, manufacturer Cummins Westport put its engines into trucks working at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, where they were one of the technologies that helped bring down diesel emissions by 95 percent.

I guess the Staff hasn't considered where the electricity is coming from and the pollution created by the generation of the electricity. With the additional cost of the current electric buses and the cost added infrastructure - does it still pencil out for the taxpayer? Renewable CNG is extremely clean and LAMTA has CNG powered buses now.

Let's take a look at Redeem, Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

"Natural gas vehicles a practical solution"

An opinion piece by Harvey Lamm, co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Subaru of America. He also is the co-founder of VNG, a natural gas fueling services provider.
Senator Schumer is missing the point. Congress should be reopening the rules to create more effective regulations as opposed to forcing automakers to support vehicles to meet regulations but fall short of achieving the objectives of the Alternative Motor Fuels Act of 1988 ("Democrats urge EPA not to reopen vehicle fuel efficiency rules," autonews.com, March 7).

The EPA report card is mediocre. The nearly 20 million or so E85 vehicles on the road each use less than 20 gallons of E85 per year and mostly rely on gasoline. High cost and limited-utility electric vehicles cater to low-mileage drivers already driving fuel-efficient gasoline vehicles. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have an electric range that essentially saves a mere 1 gallon of gas per charge. Yet, all of these offer automakers regulatory credits and consumer tax credits. Developments in the fuel efficiency of gasoline vehicles have been a bright spot, but the low-hanging fruit has been picked.

Ignoring natural gas vehicles is a glaring regulatory omission. Proven with 22 million in use globally, NGVs use domestically abundant natural gas with inherent environmental benefits (even greater with biogas). Bi-fuel vehicles can overcome range anxiety while a compressed natural gas fueling infrastructure develops.

Most importantly, NGVs are the best application for pickups and other light-duty trucks. These are the most fuel-consuming and polluting of all light-duty vehicles, comprise three of every five vehicles sold and are the most profitable vehicles for automakers.

NGVs are a practical solution and with greater regulatory inclusion are a real opportunity to not only meet the regulations, but to maximize the objectives of clean air and energy independence.

Here you can read the letter signed by Senator Schumer and eleven other U.S. Senators.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Electric Vehicle Community Readiness Resources

EERE EV Community Readiness Resources

U.S. Department of Energy, EV Everywhere Electric Vehicles: Stakeholder Solution Center

States and Municipalities

States and municipalities are key players in increasing EV readiness.  The best way for states and municipalities to improve their EV readiness is to partner with their local Clean Cities coalition, which can connect them to specific regional resources and other relevant stakeholders.   

Employers

Providing charging at the workplace can encourage employees to purchase EVs, be an attractive employee benefit, and maximize all-electric miles driven by EV owners. The EV Everywhere Workplace Charging Challenge is a DOE program to have more than 500 employers provide workplace charging to their employees by 2018. 

Fleets

Like consumers, fleets can benefit from the low operating costs and other benefits associated with EVs.  Local Clean Cities coalitions can help fleets decide which technologies and models will be most appropriate to meet their needs.

  • Handbook for Fleet Managers: This handbook on the DOE’s Alternative Fuels Data Center provides fleet-specific information on the basics of EVs, including issues like maintenance and charging.

  • Plug-in Electric Light, Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Search: This tool on DOE’s Alternative Fuels Data Center provides information on EVs that can be filtered by class/type and manufacturer.

  • AFLEET Tool: Argonne National Laboratory’s Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation Tool allows fleet managers to calculate the cost of ownership, petroleum use, greenhouse gas emissions, and air pollutant emissions of alternative fuel vehicles.

Electrical Contractors and Inspectors

The installation of residential, workplace and public charging is essential to establishing an EV market. 

  • Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program: This program provides training and certification at community colleges and electrical training centers across the U.S. for people installing electric vehicle supply equipment for residential and commercial markets. 

  • EVSE Residential Charging Installation Video: A series of segments on the Clean Cities TV YouTube channel walk electricians through the basics of installing EVSE in homes, including an overview of the equipment, the relevant National Electrical Codes, inspection, and best practices.

Utilities

Through our partnership with the Edison Electric Institute, DOE is developing a suite of tools for utilities to support the use of EVs.

  • The Utility Guide to Plug-in Electric Vehicle Readiness: A guide from the Edison Electric Institute, this document covers structuring your company to support EVs, adding EVs to utility fleets, enhancing the customer experience, working with state and local governments, and managing the electrical grid with EVs. 

  • Utilities Power Change – This case study showcases how New Jersey's Public Service Electric and Gas Company, and Southern Company’s unit Georgia Power are launching workplace charging programs for their commercial customers.

Additional Resources

U.S. Department of Energy Workplace Charging Challenge Progress Update 2016: A New Sustainable Commute

At A Glance: Electric-Drive Vehicles

Charging Plug-In Electric Vehicles in Public

Charging Plug-In Electric Vehicles at Home

Resources for Electrical Contractors and Inspectors

Developing Infrastructure to Charge Plug-In Electric Vehicles

Plug-In Electric Vehicle Deployment Policy Tools: Zoning, Codes, and Parking Ordinances

Signage for Plug-In Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Plug-In Electric Vehicle Handbook for Consumers

Workplace Charging: Charging Up University Campuses

Electric Vehicle Charging for Multi-Unit Dwellings (Webpage with links to resources and case studies)

Massachusetts Plug-in Electric Vehicle and Charging Infrastructure Case Study

Rolling Down the Arizona EV Highway (Case study)

San Diego Prepares for Electric Vehicles in Multi-Unit Dwelling Communities (Text version and video)

Houston Energizes Deployment of Plug-In Electric Vehicles (Case study)

Seattle Rideshare Fleet Adds EVs, Enjoys Success (Case study)

Alternative Fuels Data Center Publications (Search by keyword for additional resources)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Toyota Experimenting With Natural Gas Fuel Cells

Toyota is experimenting with using natural gas rather than hydrogen in a fuel cell vehicle.
The prototype hybrid system actually uses both fuel cells and a micro gas turbine to generate power. The turbine provides oxygen to the fuel cell in the form of compressed air. The oxygen reacts with the hydrogen and carbon monoxide to create electricity. Waste heat from the system is used to create additional power, and Toyota says the turbine is powered by leftovers from the process that splits natural gas into hydrogen and carbon monoxide.

Toyota claims the system is capable of generating 250 kilowatts of power, with 53 percent efficiency using only the fuel cell. Factoring in the use of waste heat to create power increases the system's overall efficiency to 65 percent, Toyota says, making it more efficient than a regular fuel cell. The fuel cell features a novel solid-oxide design that doesn't require a platinum catalyst, according to Toyota, and it operates at lower temperatures than conventional fuel cells.

How to compare the energy content of alternative fuels and gasoline or diesel

Question of the Month: How can I compare the energy content of alternative fuels and gasoline or diesel? What implications does this have for overall fuel and vehicle comparisons?

Answer:
Alternative fuels have varying energy densities and are measured using a number of different units, which can make comparing them tricky. The gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) unit allows drivers to make apples-to-apples comparisons of a given quantity of energy from alternative fuels and assess which fuel best suits their needs. Understanding the energy content of fuels can help inform comparisons of fuel prices and vehicle driving range.

What is a GGE? How about a DGE?
A GGE is a standardized unit used to compare the energy content of all fuels. This unit quantifies the amount of alternative fuel that has the equivalent energy content of one gallon of conventional gasoline. For medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel applications, diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) is often used.

How are GGE and DGE values determined?
Energy content is measured in British thermal units (Btus) per gallon of fuel, and is often referred to as the lower heating value of the fuel. To calculate GGE and DGE, the energy content of one gallon of gasoline or diesel is divided by the energy content of the comparison fuel. For example, conventional gasoline has an energy content of 116,090 Btus per gallon, while propane has an energy content of 84,250 Btus per gallon. As such, 1.38 gallons of propane has the same amount of energy as one gallon of conventional gasoline.

The table below displays the energy content, GGE, and DGE values of conventional and alternative fuels.

Fuel
Energy Content*Quantity of Fuel in 1 GGEQuantity of Fuel in 1 DGE
Gasoline 116,090 Btu/gallon 1.00 gallon 1.11 gallon
Low Sulfur Diesel 128,488 Btu/gallon 0.90 gallon 1.00 gallon
Biodiesel (B20) 126,700 Btu/gallon 0.92 gallon 1.01 gallon
Biodiesel (B100) 119,550 Btu/gallon 0.97 gallon 1.07 gallon
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) 923 Btu/cubic foot (ft3)
or
20,160 Btu/lb
125.77 ft3
or
5.76 lb
139.21 ft3
or
6.37 lb
Liquefied Natural Gas 21,240 Btu/lb 5.47 lb 6.05 lb
Ethanol (E100) 76,330 Btu/gallon 1.52 gallon 1.68 gallon
Ethanol (E85)** 88,258 Btu/gallon 1.32 gallon 1.46 gallon
Electricity*** 3,414 Btu/kilowatt hour (kWh) 34.00 kWh 37.64 kWh
Propane 84,250 Btu/gallon 1.38 gallon 1.53 gallon
Hydrogen 288.88 Btu/ft3
or
51,585 Btu/lb
401.86 ft3
or
2.25 lb
444.78 ft3
or
2.49 lb
*Lower heating value. Source for CNG and hydrogen (Btu/ft3): Transportation Energy Data Book, Edition 35. Source for remaining values: Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Fuel Properties.
** E85 that is sold in the United States today actually contains, on average, approximately 70% ethanol. Therefore, E85 energy content calculated as [(.70) x (E100 energy content)] + [(.30) x (gasoline energy content)]
*** Electric vehicles are more efficient (on a Btu basis) than combustion engines, which should be taken into account when calculating and comparing miles per GGE (see below).


The values in the table above can help standardize fuel amounts for comparisons. For example, if you have 10,000 ft3 of CNG, you can determine the equivalent number of GGEs by dividing by 125.77 ft3 to get 79.5 GGE. Similarly, to determine the number of DGEs, you would divide by 139.21 ft3 to get 71.83 DGE.

How are GGE and DGE used to compare fuel prices?
Fuel prices can be represented in dollars per GGE or DGE for consistency in pricing between fuels. For that reason, the Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report shows prices on an energy-equivalent basis (Table 3 in recent reports). If values for price per GGE or DGE are not available, you can do the calculation on your own. For instance, if one gallon of E85 is $2.04, you would multiply by 1.32 (see table above) to find that this price equates to $2.69 per GGE after adjusting for energy content.

What are the factors that impact how far I can drive between fill ups?
The energy content of fuels is one factor that affects driving range. Filling up with a less energy-dense fuel often means that you will not be able to drive as far. However, tank size and vehicle efficiency also play a significant role.

Some alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) have similar tank sizes to conventional vehicles, while others have larger fuel tanks to compensate for the difference in energy content. For example, vehicles that run on propane and biodiesel typically have similarly sized fuel tanks as their conventional fuel counterparts. As you can see in the table above, both of these fuels have lower energy densities than their conventional fuel counterparts, which subsequently can result in lower fuel economy and shorter range per tank. In the case of propane, bi-fuel vehicles are available that can operate on both conventional fuel and propane for extended driving range. In addition, propane and biodiesel offer many other benefits that can offset this difference.

CNG and hydrogen vehicles, on the other hand, often have larger tanks to offset the lower energy densities associated with these fuels. Fleets and drivers purchasing a CNG vehicle may have the option to install an additional CNG storage tank onboard the vehicle. Alternatively, bi-fuel CNG vehicles are also available to extend the range. As for hydrogen, these vehicles tend to have larger fuel tanks overall.

Tank size is not the only other factor that affects range; vehicle efficiency also plays a role. For instance, all-electric vehicles (EVs) are significantly more efficient than conventional gasoline vehicles. According to FuelEconomy.gov, EVs use anywhere from 59% to 62% of the electricity from the grid to power the vehicle, while conventional gasoline vehicles can only convert 17% to 21% of the energy from gasoline to power the vehicle. This is one reason why EVs have such significant fuel economy advantages over conventional vehicles, even when you are comparing the fuels on an energy-equivalent basis.


Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icfi.com
800-254-6735

Thursday, April 27, 2017

California needs to develop renewable natural gas supplies

George Minter, vice president of external affairs and environmental strategy for SoCalGas wrote an op-ed piece for the Sacramento Bee about natural gas supplies in California.

"It’s wrong to say that we need to stop building gas infrastructure to focus on renewable energy. We need to invest more into developing the renewable gas supply and infrastructure to deliver this renewable energy to customers."
natural gas has helped the state drive down GHG emissions – not just by displacing dirtier fuels, but by filling in the gaps when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

Integrating renewable electricity sources onto our grid relies on gas plants. Imagine if those plants were powered by renewable gas – we’d be getting twice the emissions reductions.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Porsche 910 Converted to Electric

A Porsche 910 from the 1971 film Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen, has been converted to electric by a partnership between EVEX Fahrzeugbau and Kreisel.



It has double the power of the original Porsche 910, but is street legal (which the original one was not). More of these 910s will be converted, but Porsche manufactured only 35 of them, so the supply will be very limited.

The 1971 movie is available on DVD from Netflix or streaming from Amazon.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Los Angeles County MTA To Replace 1000 Diesel Buses

In May, the board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will vote on a decision to replace 1,000 aging diesel buses with a combination of new compressed-natural gas models fueled by renewable natural gas and electric buses. 800 new buses will be fueled by renewable natural gas. The other 200 will be electric as a test program for future electrification.
The fact is, a predominant percentage of the geologic natural gas fueling transportation fleets in California has been replaced by renewable natural gas — produced from the decomposition of organic materials that is captured (avoiding greenhouse gas emissions and short-lived climate pollution) and conditioned to meet transportation fuel specifications.

Unlike geologic natural gas, renewable natural gas is not produced from hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Renewable natural gas is produced entirely from the methane emitted as organic materials decompose in renewable waste streams. It can then be injected into the existing common carrier pipelines and deployed through natural gas fueling stations, displacing CNG or LNG in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles like Metro's buses.

Monday, April 3, 2017

"How Volkswagen Is Shaping America's Energy Future"

T. Boone Pickens' suggestion for how to invest the fines paid by Volkswagen.
Volkswagen, the storied German automaker, pleaded guilty last week to three felony counts as part of a $4.3 billion settlement reached with the Justice Department in January over the automaker’s massive diesel emissions scandal.

There’s a great deal of irony in this, and a great opportunity for America’s energy security. Here’s why.

Back when President Obama rolled into the White House for the first time, I was in the midst of an aggressive campaign to address the stranglehold placed on our national security and our economy by addiction to OPEC oil.

The crux of that plan was to expand renewables (wind and solar) in power generation, and replace dirtier-burning and more expensive OPEC oil with our abundant supplies of cleaner-burning domestic natural gas in the transportation sector. The overarching goal was to break the stranglehold OPEC had on our economic and national security.

Washington lawmakers refused to foot the bill for America to go down that path. Now, in an ironic twist of fate, with the VW transgression, we have the Germans poised to finance it for us. And we’re fools if we don’t take advantage of this opportunity.
In 2015, the German automaker, Volkswagen, was found to have installed software on its diesel-powered vehicles that provided false emissions data — data that understated the emissions their vehicles were actually producing.

I’ve always been skeptical that diesel can ever burn as clean as alternatives such as electric cars or heavy-duty trucks fueled by natural gas. The lifecycle costs to produce diesel — from production to refining and out of the tailpipe — are just too great. Going to such lengths to falsify emission data just reinforces my skepticism, and my anger.

Since getting caught, the company has agreed to pay fines of $16 billion to settle claims for cheating. These fines will be paid to the U.S. government and shared among the states. In addition, owners of VW vehicles and the dealers who sold them will share in the proceeds.

We’re not talking chump change here. Texas alone, where I live, is set to get $191 million.

This flap once again underscores the need to get diesel vehicles off the road when and where we can, both for air quality purposes and to reduce our dependence on OPEC oil. One of the most toxic emissions produced by diesel engines is Nitrogen Oxide (NOx). It is generated by all internal combustion engines, but a new natural gas engine developed by Cummins-Westport produced 90 percent less NOx emissions than new diesel-powered trucks. That engine is available today.

State regulators ultimately tasked with spending the VW settlement should have some guidance from those with history, experience and knowledge — including industry, independent experts and environmental authorities.

First, a majority of the funds should be used for vehicles which already perform below current federal NOx limits, such as the Cummins Wesport engine mentioned above.

Second, all vehicles performing below federal NOx limits should be treated equally. States should look to decrease the number of diesel-powered vehicles on the road — especially heavy-duty trucks — and replace them with trucks powered by natural gas.

Why not go right to batteries? Because batteries will not move an 18-wheeler, and they cost at least five times more than comparable diesel-powered trucks. So, while electric cars are all the rage, batteries are not a substitute fuel source for over-the-road trucks.

Finally, while there will be justifiable efforts to use these funds on state fleets, it is even more important to find ways to allow private-sector fleets access to these funds. In fact, that’s where the bulk of the money should go.

Keeping in mind this settlement money is coming from a corporation and not the taxpayers, there will be no shortage of ideas from state regulators on how to spend these funds. States should show leadership by not using it solely to upgrade state fleet vehicles.

The reason is simple. If states use this money to replace aging fleets, this will be a “one-and-done” deal. On the other hand, if the money is used to provide incentives for the public and private sectors to purchase new, natural gas-powered vehicles, the positive effects on reducing NOx emissions will be magnified many times over the years.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Question of the Month: What factors do employers need to consider when establishing a workplace charging program?

Answer:
While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for workplace charging, there are a number of resources available to help employers design, implement, and manage the right program for their organization.

Assess Demand
Employers considering whether workplace charging is right for their organization will want to start by assessing employee demand with an employee survey. Once this assessment is complete, employers may set goals for meeting workplace charging demand, either by planning to meet the entire need (i.e., all drivers that have expressed or will express interest in PEV charging) or by dedicating a percentage of parking spaces to PEV charging. For example, Google has a goal to dedicate 5% of all parking spaces to workplace charging.

Procure and Install
Employers should determine what types of charging stations to purchase. There are a few decisions to make, including the following:

  • Charging Level: There are benefits and drawbacks to both Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations in the workplace. Employers must evaluate which option is best for their facilities. For more information about the differences between charging levels and their merits for workplace charging, see the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Workplace Charging Station Basics page.
  • Networking: Charging station networks provide maintenance, customer service, and energy monitoring capabilities, and collect payment on behalf of the station owner. However, networks require a fee, and employers will need to consider whether the convenience of charging networks outweighs the financial cost. For more information, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Level 2 page.

Employers should also be sure to get quotes from a number of charging station providers. For more guidance, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Sample Request for Proposal document. Employers will work with their electrical contractor to determine charging station placement; station installation can be an expensive process, but employers can minimize costs by siting stations in locations that require minimal trenching, boring, and electrical panel upgrades. For more information about siting and installation, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Equipment and Installation Costs page.

Manage
A well-managed, well-planned workplace charging program can ensure station access to all employees, promote strong communication between employers and station users, and encourage responsible station use.
  • Registration and Liability: Many employers require employees to register their PEV, which allows the employer to identify the number of vehicles using their charging stations. For example, employers can give registered vehicles a mirror hangtag or window sticker that identifies the vehicle as having permission to use the charging stations. A registration form may also include language that requires vehicle owners to agree not to hold the employer responsible for any damage to the vehicle that occurs while it is parked at the charging station. For more information, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Registration and Liability page.
  • Station Sharing: It is important to emphasize that workplace charging is a privilege, not a right. Employees may be obligated to share stations with their colleagues and comply with established charging time limits. While an employer can set up systems for sharing stations, such as reserving the station (similar to how an employee would reserve a conference room) or establishing a set schedule for use, most employers allow users to resolve station-sharing conflicts themselves. However, it is important to establish consequences for violating station policies, such as using a station for less than four hours. By framing workplace charging as a privilege, an employer reserves the right to restrict access for employees that routinely violate company policy. For more information about how to establish workplace charging policies and encourage station sharing, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Station Sharing page.
  • Pricing: While most employers offer workplace charging for free, charging for station use can be a good way to manage demand. Employers may charge for electricity (e.g., per kilowatt hour) or for time (e.g., per hour), depending on preference and applicable regulations. Employers can motivate employees to move their vehicles and share the stations by charging a nominal fee (or no fee) for the first set number of hours (e.g., four hours) and then raise the fee for subsequent time that the vehicle is parked in the space. For more information, see the DOE's Workplace Charging Pricing page.

For more resources about workplace charging, see the DOE's Workplace Charging website, explore the Clean Cities' Workplace Charging Toolkit, or contact the TRS at technicalresponse@icf.com.


Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icf.com
800-254-6735

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What are state and local governments doing to incentivize alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles?

Question of the Month: What are state and local governments doing to incentivize alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)?

Answer:
There are many notable incentive activities at the state and local levels. Many states offer incentives for alternative fuels that advance specific environmental and energy security goals, while cities provide even more localized support.

States are targeting vehicles, infrastructure, and other means to encourage AFV adoption. Below are various types of incentives, as well as hyperlinked examples of each:
  • AFV Purchase Incentives: States offer grants, rebates, and tax credits for the purchase of AFVs. While some states may focus vehicle incentives on a particular fuel type, such as electric vehicles, others are more general in their support. States provide AFV purchase incentives to consumers, commercial fleets, and public fleets, such as schools and government agencies. Different incentive mechanisms tend to be more appropriate for different categories of vehicle purchasers; for example, grants are often limited to certain types of entities. Public fleets may not be liable for taxes, so they usually benefit more from grants than from tax credits. Private fleets can benefit from grants, rebates, and tax credits.
  • Fueling Infrastructure Purchase and Installation Incentives: Similar to AFV incentives, states provide grants, rebates, and tax credits for alternative fueling infrastructure. States usually create incentives for the physical fueling infrastructure, but many programs also support installation costs. Some states also offer a tax credit or tax reduction for the production or purchase of alternative fuel itself. Fueling infrastructure incentives may stipulate that the fueling or charging station must be available to the public, which helps to increase the availability of alternative fuels to a broader range of entities.
  • Other Incentives: In addition to financial support for the purchase of AFVs, states may give special benefits to AFV drivers. For example, some states allow high-occupancy vehicle lane access to AFVs, while others provide reduced registration fees, weight restriction exemptions, and emissions inspections exemptions.

Municipalities are also playing a role in supporting AFV deployment. Cities and counties incentivize AFVs in a number of ways, including by offering free or discounted parking, expediting permitting processes, and providing vehicle and infrastructure grants. For example, New Haven, CT, provides free parking on city streets for AFVs, while Los Angeles, CA, offers instant, online residential electric vehicle supply equipment permitting approval. The Alternative Fuels Data Center's (AFDC) Local Laws and Incentives page provides more information on these and a greater array of other local options; while the page regarding local laws and incentives is not meant to be comprehensive, it provides users an idea of the different municipal programs and policies that exist. If you are aware of an innovative way that municipalities are supporting alternative fuels and vehicle acquisition, please contact the Clean Cities Technical Response Service at technicalresponse@icf.com to share the details.

For more information about state and local alternative fuel incentives, see the AFDC Laws and Incentives page.

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icf.com
800-254-6735

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ultra-Low Nox Natural Gas Vehicle Evaluation by UC Riverside

A report released by the University of California Riverside’s College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), found that new ultra-low NOx natural gas heavy-duty vehicles met and were cleaner than their
certification standards during a full range of duty cycles. This finding is in stark contrast to previously released CE-CERT data of
heavy-duty diesel trucks that emitted higher levels of NOx than their certification standards in the same duty cycles. With the
near-zero emission factors demonstrated for natural gas vehicles, it is expected that these vehicles could play an important
role in providing much needed emissions reductions required for the South Coast Air Basin and California to reach federal
air quality attainment standards.

Here is the report itself.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Pickens' Advice For President Trump

There are two parts to his advice: 1. Don't screw up what we have going for us; and 2. Don't settle for what we've done so far.

He expands on "Don't Screw Up" with four points:
  1. Clarity in who makes energy decisions.
  2. Promote hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
  3. Work with industry, not against it.
  4. Meet our own energy needs before worrying about other countries.

And five points for "Don't Settle."
  1. Work with our allies Mexico and Canada to establish a North American Energy Alliance.
  2. Modernize government fleets.
  3. Build the electrical grid of the future.
  4. Continue to research and develop new sources of energy.
  5. Remember: Energy is not a free market.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017

How is the propane industry improving the customer fueling experience through new technology?

Question of the Month: How is the propane industry improving the customer fueling experience through new technology?

Answer:
As propane vehicle technology becomes more advanced, propane dispensing infrastructure has evolved along with it. In particular, the propane industry is focusing much of its attention on enhancing the customer fueling experience by installing propane dispensers that are dedicated for vehicle fueling, and by upgrading the propane nozzle technology. The increasingly popular European-style, quick-connect nozzle simplifies the customer fueling experience by connecting to the fuel tank through a snap or quick-connect attachment, rather than a conventional threaded connection. Only after the nozzle is safely connected to the fuel tank will it begin to dispense fuel. This attachment eliminates the threading connection necessary with the conventional Acme nozzle, making propane fueling as easy as conventional gasoline fueling.

With the new nozzle, fueling can be completed using only one hand and without wearing protective goggles and gloves. The quick-connect attachment also results in lower emissions, as it more effectively prevents the release of fuel vapor and fumes. Additionally, the nozzle's design minimizes the amount of fuel that escapes when the vehicle is done fueling and the connector is detached from the vehicle.

There are many affordable quick-connect nozzle options available on the United States market that meet UL 125 certification requirements. Manufacturers of these UL-certified nozzles include Stäubli and ELAFLEX. These European-style connectors are priced around $1,200, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The cost of the connection adapters, or fill valves, required for current fueling infrastructure to be compatible with the European-style nozzle, ranges from $50 to $60. Note that the installation of a new fueling nozzle should always be performed by a qualified technician in order to ensure that it is completed properly.

Many propane retailers are optimistic about the European-style, quick-connect nozzle. In fact, the Propane Education Research Council (PERC) highlights its benefits and encourages the use of this connector through its Quick-Connect Nozzle Incentive Program. Moving forward, the quick-connect nozzle is a significant step towards streamlining and improving the propane fueling experience.

For more information about propane and related fueling infrastructure, see the following resources:


Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
technicalresponse@icf.com
800-254-6735

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Understanding NGV methane emissions

From US Gas Vehicles:

A newly published scientific study, led by researchers with West Virginia University at the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions, measured methane emissions from heavy-duty natural gas-powered vehicles and refueling stations, and is greatly expanding what we know about emissions from natural gas-fueled vehicles. The study is the first project in Environmental Defense Fund’s coordinated methane research series to analyze where and by how much methane emissions occur during natural gas end uses.

The WVU study found that emissions from the vehicle tailpipe and engine crankcase were the highest methane sources, representing roughly 30 and 39% (respectively) of total pump to wheels (PTW) emissions. Fortunately, engines with closed crankcases have recently been certified by EPA, avoiding the single largest source of methane emissions from these vehicles.

Fueling station methane emissions were reported to be relatively low, representing about 12% of total PTW emissions. WVU researchers based the fueling station emission estimates on the assumption that liquefied natural gas (LNG) stations have sufficient sales volume to effectively manage boil off gases, or the fuel lost as vapors when the LNG heats above its boiling point. Without alternative methods to manage boil off gas, low sales volume risks large methane releases.

Eleven industry groups participated in the WVU study – The American Gas Association, Chart, Clean Energy, Cummins, Cummins Westport, International Council on Clean Transportation, PepsiCo, Shell, Volvo Group, Waste Management, and Westport Innovations – and provided researchers with important insights. Their active involvement and determination to go where the science led them in reducing truck methane emissions greatly strengthened the study.

Measurements from the WVU study are helping to further our understanding of the climate impact of natural gas vehicles. This paper, along with other analyses, provides both industry and policymakers new insights to target technology improvements, and identify best practices for minimizing emissions. But pairing vehicle data with lifecycle emissions of methane across the entire supply chain remains essential to fully assess how natural gas trucks perform, from a climate perspective, relative to diesel trucks.

While only about 3 percent of heavy duty trucks run on natural gas today, some analysts suggest their market share could reach as high as 50 percent over the next two decades if high oil and diesel prices return. Meanwhile, investments in natural gas-powered utility vehicles and transit buses are growing, with 11 percent of such vehicles already running on natural gas.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ideas Are Scary

From Greg Roche, Vice President at Clean Energy Fuels:
GE runs a great commercial about how ideas are scary; frightening because they threaten what is known; and are the natural born enemy of the way things are. You can watch the commercial here (with thanks to GE). What does this have to do with renewable natural gas trucks? Everything. Imagine switching all 12,000 to 16,000 trucks that operate in the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach from diesel to renewable natural gas (RNG). Would that be scary to some? Sure. Would that threaten what is known? Yes. Would that replace the way things are? Absolutely. But the upside is what makes this idea beautiful: achieving cost-effective and immediate health and sustainability benefits. In fact, natural gas trucks with Near Zero emissions technology and powered by renewable natural gas reduce harmful air pollutants by over 90% and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 70% compared to diesel, making renewable natural gas trucks as clean as a battery electric truck on a complete well-to-wheels comparison. Ideas may be scary, but scary shouldn't be allowed to stop the idea.