Success Stories

Clean Cities National Parks Initiative (Completed in 2015)

VCC is working with the Shenandoah National Park to deploy electric vehicles and propane mowers and to explain these technologies to park visitors. This partnership will help the National Park Service to accelerate the introduction and deployment of domestically produced alternative fuels and energy efficient vehicles. Over the course of the project, VCC will produce an educational video about the Park’s sustainable vehicle program, and lead a project kick-off event as an education and outreach tool for Park staff, visitors, and media outlets. VCC will also develop electric vehicle charger design protocols in the form of a case study, and provide other technical assistance as needed to the Park. The Shenandoah National Park will acquire a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, an all-electric vehicle, three 220V EV chargers, and 12 propane lawn mowers. VCC also supports the Blue Ridge Parkway’s efforts with propane service vehicles.

Advancing Alternative Fuel Markets Adoption and Growth (Completed in 2015)
Virginia Clean Cities was engaged in a two-year, Department of Energy funded grant program called Advancing Alternative Fuel Markets Adoption and Growth. This program aimed to address numerous shortfalls in the large-scale adoption of alternative fuels and deployment of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. The program was managed and performed by a partnership of several organizations throughout Virginia, Maryland, and DC. As part of this grant, these partners comprised the Clean Domestic Fuel Council. Virginia Clean Cities’ primary role was participating in this council and collaboratively planning seminars, webinars, trainings, and assisting with the creation and management of focus groups that addressed the projects goals of education and barrier reduction in regards to alternative fuels (with emphasis on CNG and Propane) in the DMV region. Virginia Clean Cities also assisted in policy education initiatives and disseminated existing materials that informed stakeholders about relevant regulations that impact the process of alternative fuel deployment.

Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program (SPADP) (Completed in 2014)

This project will convert over 1,200 vehicles across 36 fleets to propane, conduct propane road shows across 12 states, and deploy a national marketing and outreach campaign. The project is expected to eliminate over 4,000 tons of pollutants over the 4 years, displace 4 million gallons of gasoline, and create/retain many jobs. Propane is a cheaper cleaner burning transportation fuel that is a byproduct of oil a gas exploration and over 90% of it is produced domestically.

Alternative Fuel Implementation Team (Completed in 2014)
Virginia Clean Cities collaborated with the North Carolina Solar Center/NC State University (NCSC) in conducting a 24-month Alternative Fuel Implementation Team (AFIT) project with federal funding support from the U.S. Department of Energy. The main purpose of the project was to reduce barriers to alternative transportation fuel adoption and focused on the expansion of biodiesel, ethanol (E85), natural gas, propane and electricity in fueling transportation. The project culminated in the development of a Petroleum Displacement Toolkit and the Southeast Alternative Fuels Conference during the second year of the grant.

Clean Transportation Project (Completed in 2014)
The Clean Transportation Project sought to improve air quality in Virginia by advancing alternative and renewable fuel adoption through outreach and education in cities, towns, and counties in every corner of the Commonwealth. Virginia Clean Cities enabled this adoption through in person meetings to educate decision makers at the local government level. It is our hope that this outreach translated directly into alternative and renewable fuel adoption in Virginia.

Richmond Electric Vehicle Initiative (REVi) (Completed in 2013)
The main objective of the Richmond Electric Vehicle Initiative is to advance the Richmond Region as an attractive and sustainable market for electric vehicle technology. A Richmond Regional Strategic Plan has been developed to prepare the Commonwealth to develop electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure. This infrastructure will help prepare for the deployment of plug-in electric vehicles. Project modeling and planning activities will reflect local needs and challenges, and will include a comprehensive team of over fifty local and national experts to facilitate success.

National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (Completed in 2012)
VCC hosted two Odyssey Day events in 2012; one in Chesapeake, Virginia and one in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The day was dedicated to the promotion of Alternative Fuel Vehicles and raising awareness for energy security and cleaner air. Industry experts were on hand at Odyssey events to answer questions and educational seminars were featured to provide detailed information about viable alternative fuel options and how they apply to the audiences’ local communities.

United Soybean Board Biodiesel Education Program (Completed in 2012)
VCC partnered with the United Soybean Board to produce a series of webinars titled “Biodiesel and Our Changing Biofuels Landscape.” The soybean check off has been instrumental in developing the biodiesel industry and continuing research to prove the benefits of the domestically produced fuel. Through this project, VCC shared information about bioproducts, such as environmentally friendly industrial lubricants and cleaners. Based on U.S. Department of Energy figures, if every truck driver used a B2 blend of biodiesel, the U.S. trucking industry would consume over 796 million gallons of biodiesel, or the equivalent of over 530 million bushels of soybeans annually.

DMME Omnibus V (Completed in 2012)
This project was composed of three tasks: 1.) Virginia Agricultural Biofuels Initiative helped biofuels producers connect with markets, including ethanol and biodiesel; 2.) Creation of a gaseous fleet program to assist local governments and business fleets with transitioning to natural gas and propane autogas vehicles; and 3.) Stakeholder technical assistance funds were utilized for the many technical support items requested by the state and fleets within Virginia.

National Clean Diesel Campaign (Completed in 2012)
VCC managed a project that retrofitted 35 Hampton Roads Transit buses with emissions reduction equipment, replaced 10 Chesapeake refuse haulers ahead of schedule with natural gas models, replaced City of Richmond refuse haulers with a natural gas model, and replaced 4 Spotsylvania Public Schools buses ahead of schedule with propane models.

Green Operators (GO) Program (Completed in 2012)
The program was awarded funding to assist the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Quality Management Association (MARAMA) and the Virginia Port Authority with the implementation of a GO Program in cooperation with the Virginia Port Authority. The program was the first of its kind to assist drayage operators with voluntary retrofit or replace old drayage trucks serving the Port of Virginia, and reward shippers that want to green their supply chain. VCC provided technical assistance and helped with the refinement and administration of the program. GO partners included both carriers and shippers, each doing their part to clean up the air.

Luck Stone Construction Repower (Completed in 2012)
Funding from the EPA to VCC and James Madison University helped launch the first construction repowering project in Virginia to reduce harmful diesel pollution at the Luck Stone plants operating in Richmond, Charlottesville, Leesburg, and Burkeville.

“James Madison University was pleased to join this innovative public-private partnership pursuing solutions to improve air quality and produce jobs in the Commonwealth. This initiative provided a unique opportunity for the faculty, staff, and students of JMU to participate on a project with the potential to positively impact the lives of Virginians.”

    -Ken Newbold, Director of Research Development, James Madison University.

EPA’s $710,000 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant, combined with $1.1 million from Luck Stone, enabled the company to repower or replace 11 off-road construction vehicles with new, more efficient diesel engines and generators.  

Clean School Bus Program (Completed in 2011)
The objective of the Clean School Bus Program was to promote healthy air, especially for student riders, by reducing diesel exhaust emissions from school buses in Virginia through several methods, including installation of exhaust after-treatment devices, use of biodiesel blends and propane, and bus replacements. VCC was able to convene a diverse array of partners to initiate several exciting projects. Some highlights include:

Hydrogen Education for Decision Makers (Completed in 2011)
VCC received a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for a Virginia-Maryland-DC Hydrogen Education for Decision Makers Project. The goal of the three year project was to increase a targeted audience’s understanding of hydrogen and fuel cells, including early market applications, and to provide specific examples of actions that the targeted audience – state and local government leaders – can take to support the development and use of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. A dozen in-person workshops, video resources produced by and broadcast on the MotorWeek public television series, a website, podcasts, webcasts and “new media” all helped to carry the message.

VA-MD-DC E85 Infrastructure Project (Completed 2011)
VCC was awarded funds from the U.S. Department of Energy to advance E85 infrastructure development along the I-95, I-64 Crescent Corridor that traverses Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. in order to make the alternative fuel available to an estimated 15,000 public and private flex-fuel vehicles. To date, 6 stations have been opened in Virginia.

Virginia Get Ready Project (Completed in 2010)
VCC created and managed the Virginia Get Ready effort, which produced the Virginia Get Ready: Electric Vehicle Plan. The goal was to establish Virginia as a leader in the adoption of the electric vehicles in order to reduce vehicle emissions, increase energy independence, and generate positive economic development for the Commonwealth.

Biodiesel Workshops (Completed in 2009)
VCC won a competitive grant award from the National Biodiesel Foundation to host biodiesel fuel quality seminars to advance education on biodiesel quality issues. The target audience for these events included petroleum marketers, fleet managers, federal and state enforcement professionals and others.

Federal Fleet Retailer Workshop (Completed in 2009)
VCC hosted a follow-up workshop to the federal fleets workshop held to bring together mandated and voluntary fleets, as well as alternative fuel retailers. The workshop was structured as a working meeting to determine the best locations for alternative fuel stations.

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation CNG Success Story (Completed in 2008)
To restrict the use of private vehicles and reduce the amount of emissions within tourist area, Colonial Williamsburg converted to CNG buses in 1995 and has more than 20 CNG buses that operate daily.

Biodiesel in the Dragon Run – A Roadmap to Preservation (Completed in 2007)
Located in the Middle Peninsula of Virginia, the Dragon Run Watershed is one of the Chesapeake Bay’s most pristine waterways and encompasses parts of Essex, King and Queen, Middlesex, and Gloucester Counties. The Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC)’s Dragon Run Steering Committee, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC), and the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program co-sponsored the development of a Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) for the Dragon Run Watershed in order to support and promote community-based efforts to preserve the cultural, historic, and natural character of the Dragon Run, while preserving property rights and the traditional uses within its watershed.

As part of the Dragon SAMP, a study was conducted in October 2005 to identify and explore economic development activities and opportunities that sustain traditional land uses while enhancing the natural resource base or at least minimizing adverse impacts. Seven areas were selected for further exploration, including biodiesel utilization and production. The study found biodiesel utilization to be an example of an enterprise that fits within the overall goal of sustainable natural resource-based economic development for the watershed, whether carried out within the public or private sectors.

As a result, VCC was contracted by the MPPDC to continue further exploration of biodiesel market viability and its potential to fulfill the goal to provide sustainable natural resource-based economic benefit to the watershed community centered around the use and production of biodiesel as a cleaner, healthier, domestic alternative to fossil fuel.

VCC worked with stakeholders to develop a feasibility study to determine how best to develop the biodiesel market in the Dragon Run Watershed. The coalition worked with the school districts in and around the watershed, including Essex, Middlesex, Gloucester, King and Queen, and Mathews Counties to introduce resolutions and partnership agreements. Four out of the five watershed school districts signed the partnership agreements and passed resolutions encouraging increased use and production of biodiesel.

On March 1, 2008, VCC was awarded a Clean School Bus USA grant for its proposal on behalf of the Middle Peninsula school districts. In addition to the clean air and health benefits, the Clean School Bus award supported many components of the effort to preserve the sensitive Dragon Run watershed. School buses in five counties were retrofitted with diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) to reduce diesel exhaust emissions. Idle reduction practices were reviewed by experts from Argonne National Laboratory and equipment to reduce school bus idling was considered. School fleet administrators learned about the air quality advantages of a new propane-powered school bus. All of the school districts had the opportunity to use biodiesel blends to further reduce exhaust emissions and support preservation by using and promoting more widespread public acceptance of a clean, renewable fuel made from soybeans grown on local farmland that serves as a natural buffer, whose large land tracts to protect the Dragon Run Watershed from sprawling development.

Virginia Hydrogen Economy Roundtable (Completed in 2006)
VCC coordinated the Virginia Hydrogen Economy Roundtable, which represented participants from over 30 organizations, whose purpose was to determine the potential role for hydrogen systems in Virginia’s energy future. Completed work on the on “Virginia’s Vision and Strategy for the Hydrogen Economy” and are now working on implementing the recommendations.

Other successes and projects:

  • VCC was awarded DOE funding to help offset the incremental cost of 4 CNG school buses for Virginia Beach Public Schools, 3 CNG school buses and refueling infrastructure for Charlottesville Public Schools, 4 CNG school buses for Arlington County Public Schools, and 7 CNG transit buses and refueling infrastructure for National Airport.
  • A Southern States Energy Board award was used for 4 workshops to increase awareness of biodiesel and challenges small-scale producers face (safety, quality & permitting).
  • VCC secured funding for B20 pilot projects for Arlington, Northumberland & Westmoreland Counties, and Sysco.
  • A State Energy Division award helped deploy three parallel projects involving James Madison University, Virginia Tech and a farm in Caroline County to evaluate small-scale biodiesel production feasibility and safety.
  • VCC secured funds from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for Virginia schools diesel retrofit program (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Henrico and Gloucester).

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