Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program – Our largest project is a DoE funded initiative to implement propane-powered vehicles and associated refueling infrastructure that will displace more than 15.7 million gallons of gasoline and prevent over 16,000 tons of airborne pollutants all while leveraging domestic fuel sources.
Natural Gas – Information about natural gas fuel and vehicles
Building a Hydrogen Economy in Virginia – Fuel cells and hydrogen-sourced energy are regarded as viable long-range technologies that one day could alleviate the United States’ dependence on foreign oil, reduce harmful emissions, and create thousands of new jobs.
Clean Cities 2013 Vehicle Buyer’s Guide – The expanding availability of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles makes it easier than ever to reduce petroleum use, cut emissions, and save on fuel costs. This guide features a comprehensive list of vehicles set to hit the market in model year 2013.
Biodiesel is a diesel fuel replacement produced from feedstock sources such as soybeans, cooking oil, and animal fats. Biodiesel can be used in its pure form (B100 or “neat”) or blended at any ratio with petroleum diesel to achieve cost efficiency and improve cold weather performance. It is commonly used as B20 – a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel.
Numerous fleets in Virginia have used biodiesel including: Williamsburg-James City County Schools, Virginia Beach Public Schools, Arlington County & Schools, U.S. Army, Gloucester County Schools, Woodfin Oil, Harrisonburg Schools and Transit, James Madison University, Staunton, Waynesboro, the University of Virginia, Chesterfield County, Westmoreland County, Northumberland County, Roanoke Municipal & Schools, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, and more.
Biodiesel can be used in any diesel vehicle without modification*. It is used throughout the world and in many applications including buses, delivery trucks, waste disposal and recycling trucks, construction and farm equipment, heavy-duty freight hauling, boats and passenger vehicles.
*Because biodiesel is a great solvent, older vehicles need rubber materials replaced.
How Does Biodiesel Perform?
Biodiesel performs similar to traditional diesel, though B100 may result in a minimal power loss and a slight reduction in fuel economy due to its lesser energy content than petroleum diesel. B20 is the most popular blend, and users report no or minimal difference in fuel economy from petroleum diesel. ASTM International has reviewed biodiesel performance and issued a final specification for what qualifies as quality biodiesel. (Users should be sure that any fuel they purchase meets ASTM D6751.) Because biodiesel acts as a lubricant, it reduces wear and tear on the engine, and can reduce maintenance costs and extend engine life. Biodiesel remains blended with petroleum diesel so it can be easily stored and dispensed in existing facilities. Biodiesel thickens more than diesel fuel in cold weather and special systems or minor modifications are required for use of B100. Vehicles produced prior to 1993 should have rubber seals in fuel pumps and fuel systems replaced with non-rubber (Viton) seals.
What Are the Benefits of Using Biodiesel?
The production of biodiesel has a 1 to 3.2 energy balance ratio. In other words, for every 1 unit of energy that goes into producing biodiesel, 3.2 units of energy are produced. Biodiesel also results in significantly lower emissions of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, toxic contaminants, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, visible smoke and noxious odors than petroleum diesel. Depending on the feed source, biodiesel can result in a 75% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions over the entire production process.
Biodiesel is non-toxic and biodegradable and therefore does not pose a threat to water and soil resources if B100 is spilled. Producing biodiesel from restaurant oil or animal processing wastes recycles potential waste material that may otherwise go to a landfill. Additionally, biodiesel is one of the safest fuels to use, handle, and store because it has a higher flash point (300º F) than petroleum diesel. Significant benefits of biodiesel include reducing dependence on foreign oil and providing alternative markets for farmers.
Virginia Clean Cities is working with the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission to explore ways in which use and possible production of biodiesel could help preserve the Dragon Run, a sensitive watershed and the farmland that surrounds it in a four-county region of Virginia. Visit the page to find out more about this unique project.
To ensure quality control and to anticipate and respond to fuel quality issues please review the linked poster.
Virginia Clean Cities hosted seminars that focused on achieving and maintaining acceptable biodiesel fuel quality. These seminars were created to respond to the growing number of biodiesel fleets in Virginia, of which many have needed to suspend use for various fuel quality issues including improper blending practices, cold weather handling, and insufficient preparation for a biodiesel transition. The target audiences for these workshops included petroleum marketers, fleet managers, fuel regulators, biodiesel producers, and state fleets. Visit the page to download all presentations and resources used during the seminar.
Because diesel engines can operate for 20 to 30 years, many older, dirtier diesel engines are still in use. There are many strategies and programs, especially from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to help make these engines cleaner. Through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Program, authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, EPA offers funding to assist eligible partners in building diesel emission reduction programs that improve air quality and public health. Virginia Clean Cities and our stakeholders have been successful in numerous programs and this page can be a resource for future programs.
These clean diesel options can include:
Using Cleaner fuels
Retrofitting engines with verified technologies
Maintaining equipment properly
Gaining Operational efficiencies and
Replacing Older equipment with certified cleaner models
Buses, medium- or heavy-duty trucks, marine engines, and locomotives qualify, as well as non-road and stationary engines and cargo handling equipment.
State Clean Diesel Grant Program – An allocation that makes funds directly available to states to establish programs – Contact VCC if you would like to partner on future grants.
Successful Clean Diesel Projects in Virginia and the Region:
(1) In April 2010, Virginia Clean Cities and partners were awarded funds for The Virginia Construction Diesel Emissions Reduction Initiative as a public-private partnership spearheaded by Virginia Clean Cities at James Madison University and Luck Stone Corporation. The Environmental Protection Agency’s National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program has provided funding to support the repower and replacement of 11 pieces of Luck Stone’s off-road equipment including non-highway trucks and rubber tire loaders operating in the City of Richmond, Charlottesville, Leesburg, and Burkeville. The project’s ultimate goal is to reduce the overall emissions footprint of the Luck Stone fleet. The partnership has chosen diesel engine repowers as the method of accomplishing this goal. Engine repowers will be beneficial for several reasons, including emissions impact, the quantifiable reliability of the method, and it’s overall cost effectiveness. For the project, older model machines with unregulated Tier 1 diesel engines were identified as prime candidates for upgrade.
This innovative, ambitious project is the first of its kind in Virginia and will contribute for many years to the reduction of criteria air pollutants and greenhouse gases, as well as contribute to the creation of approximately 20 jobs. The project was also be performed in several areas that are in the top 10% of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s diesel highway emissions rankings, which suggests that the work proposed will present significant public health benefits. Specifically, the project is expected to net reductions of 30.85 tons of NOx, 2.03 tons of PM, 2.74 tons of HC, and 11.93 tons of CO annually. Through the accomplishment of these goals, the Virginia Construction Diesel Emissions Reduction Initiative will help pave the way towards a cleaner, more efficient construction industry outlook for the Commonwealth.
(2) In June 2009, Virginia Clean Cities was awarded a grant through the Environmental Protection Agency of $1 million, through the Recovery Act, to reduce the amount of diesel burned in state government vehicles by either retrofitting or replacing interested parties’ refuse haulers, city buses, city school buses, and other government vehicles. VCC agreed to match in cost share the awarded grant total and make the project worth $2,048,043 and given a timeline of two years, would use the money to retrofit or replace 64 vehicles total running off of diesel.
After multiple case studies were conducted and RFP’s were submitted for the project, VCC was able to submit a successful grant working with Hampton Roads Transit to retrofit 35 city buses, the City of Richmond to replace one refuse hauler, Spotsylvania County to replace four city school buses, and the City of Chesapeake to replace 24 vehicles total (10 refuse haulers). The proposal required the vehicles to be no older than 15 years and they had to be on the road and in good operable condition. Retrofitted vehicles were installed with diesel particulate filters (DPF’s) and the replaced vehicles were scrapped and replaced with a new natural gas vehicle.
Over the two year completion of the project, VCC served as the project manager, coordinating amongst project partners and vendors, and handled reporting duties to ensure timely and successful completion of the project. VCC also worked with all fleet partners to ensure actions taken, maximize emissions reductions. The four government entities would directly purchase the new technologies, oversee the installation of the retrofits and the scrappage of the old trucks as necessary, and would report these to VCC to be reimbursed.
Ethanol is a colorless liquid that is distilled from agricultural crops — usually corn. Ethanol can be produced not only from corn, barley, and wheat, but also from cellulose feedstocks such as corn stalks, rice straw, sugar cane bagasse, pulpwood, switchgrass, and municipal solid waste. Most ethanol is produced in the grain-growing states of midwestern U.S. Virginia has an ethanol plant in Hopewell with a capacity of 65 million gallons of ethanol. This plant uses hull-less barley as a feedstock.
Ethanol: A Scapegoat? Read some fact sheets compiled by the USDA Trade and Biofuel Analysis Division to hear another side of the story the media often ignores.
What Vehicles Can Use Ethanol and How Does it Perform?
From a consumer perspective, there is no noticeable difference in vehicle performance when E10 is used. Because ethanol has lower energy content than gasoline, E85 use will reduce fuel economy. The magnitude of the reduction depends on the vehicle, driving habits and conditions, but 15% is an often-cited average.
All gasoline vehicles are capable of operating on gasoline/ethanol blends with up to 10% ethanol. In fact, some states require the seasonal or year-round use of up to 10% ethanol as an oxygenate additive to gasoline to mitigate ozone formation. These low percentage oxygenate blends are not classified as alternative fuels. We speak of ethanol vehicles as those specifically manufactured to be capable of running on up to 85% denatured ethanol, 15% gasoline (E85), or any mixture of the two up to the 85% ethanol limit. E85 may be seasonally adjusted in colder climates such that the real proportion of E85 is less than 85% ethanol. Vehicles manufactured for E85 use are commonly called flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs).
What are the Benefits of Using Ethanol?
Using E85 reduces petroleum consumption: use of E85 will reduce overall use of petroleum and replace it with renewable-based fuel produced in the U.S.
E85 is better for the environment: E85 offers environmental benefits such as reducing carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter emissions when compared to gas.
Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) are available and affordable: FFVs specifically designed to run on E85 are becoming more common each model year, and FFVs are typically available as standard equipment with little or no incremental cost.
FFVs have flexible fueling options: FFVs may operate on gasoline or E85, and a driver may simply fuel with either fuel as the situation dictates.
E85 is easy to use and handle: E85 fueling equipment is only slightly different and of similar cost, and is similar to petroleum fuel storage and dispensing.
A checklist for installing or converting equipment for E85.
How to convert a petroleum (gasoline or diesel) refueling system to E85.
E85 Fleet Toolkit has information and links to ensure a successful conversion to E85.
Past Clean Cities Ethanol Projects
VA-MD-DC E85 Infrastructure Project
Virginia Clean Cities and Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy are working with partners to increase public E85 infrastructure in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia through the Department of Energy’s award for alternative fuel infrastructure. Other partners include Maryland’s Energy Administration and the Virginia Regional Environmental Management System. Grants funds are still available for retail partners interested in making E85 publicly accessible.
According to the Gas Processors Association HD5 specification for LPG as a transportation fuel, LPG must consist of 90% propane, no more than 5% propylene, and 5% other which is primarily butane and butylene. It is produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. The components of LPG are gases at normal temperatures and pressures.
How is Propane Made?
Propane is a by-product from two sources: natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Most of the LPG used in the United States is produced domestically. When natural gas is produced, it contains methane and other light hydrocarbons that are separated in a gas processing plant. Because propane boils at -44°F and ethane boils at -127°F, it is separated from methane by combining increasing pressure and decreasing temperature.
The natural gas liquid components recovered during processing include ethane, propane, and butane, as well as heavier hydrocarbons.
Propane and butane, along with other gases, are also produced during crude refining as by-products of the processes that rearrange or break down molecular structure to obtain more desirable petroleum compounds.
What are the Benefits of Using Propane?
Propane vehicles can produce fewer ozone-forming emissions than vehicles powered by reformulated gasoline. In addition, tests on light-duty, bi-fuel vehicles have demonstrated a 98% reduction in the emissions of toxics, including benzene, 1,3 butadiene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde, when the vehicles were running on propane rather than gasoline.
The cost of a gasoline-gallon equivalent of propane is generally less than that of gasoline, so driving a propane vehicle can save money. In addition, propane is the most accessible of all alternative fuels. In the United States approximately 3,000 publicly accessible facilities offer propane.
Approximately 85% of all propane used in this country comes from domestic sources, so driving a propane vehicle can help reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and strengthen national energy security.
The information above was obtained from the Alternative Fuels Data Center, which is a great technical resource on all alternative fuels and vehicles. Source link: http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/natural_gas.html.
Current Virginia Clean Cities Propane Projects
Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program
The goal of SPADP is to implement 17 propane stations, convert over 1,100 vehicles to propane, conduct propane road shows in 9 southeastern states, deploy a national marketing and outreach campaign. Project will eliminate over 16,000 tons of pollutants (criteria and GHG) over the 4 years, displace 15,772,100 gallons of gasoline, and create/retain 600 jobs. More information about the program can be found here.
On October 26, 2009, Gloucester County Public Schools was presented a check from MARAMA and the keys to their 5 new propane school buses. Elected representatives spoke about the commitment by Gloucester County to environmental sustainability and energy security at Page Middle School.
Funding for the propane school bus pilot is being provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 via the EPA National Clean Diesel Program and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbons, primarily methane which is a relatively unreactive hydrocarbon. Natural gas delivered through the pipeline also contains ethane and propane (hydrocarbons) and other gases (i.e., nitrogen, helium, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and water vapor). Natural gas can be produced from gas wells or as a result of crude oil production. Because of the gaseous nature of natural gas, it must be stored onboard a vehicle in either a compressed gaseous state (CNG) or a in a liquefied state (LNG). End users for natural gas include all economic sectors: residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation.
How is Natural Gas Made?
Most natural gas used in the U.S. is domestically produced. Gas streams produced from reservoirs contain natural gas, liquids, and other materials. Processing is required to separate the gas from petroleum liquids and to remove contaminants. In addition, natural gas (methane) can also come from landfill gas and water/sewage treatment.
First, the gas is separated from free liquids such as crude oil, hydrocarbon condensate, water, and entrained solids. The separated gas is further processed to meet specified requirements. For example, natural gas for transmission companies must generally meet certain pipeline quality specifications with respect to water content, hydrocarbon dewpoint, heating value, and hydrogen-sulfide content.
A dehydration plant controls water content; a gas processing plant removes certain hydrocarbon components to hydrocarbon dewpoint specifications; and a gas sweetening plant removes hydrogen sulfide and other sulfur compounds (when present).
Natural Gas Fuel Market
Natural gas is distributed throughout the United States in extensive pipeline systems that extend from the wellhead to the end user. Every continental state has access to natural gas through pipelines. The pipeline system consists of long-distance transmission systems, followed by local distribution systems.
Natural gas vehicles can easily be fueled at public stations or on-site refueling can be built. Individual home compressors use a slow-fill system for overnight refueling. A small compressor would usually be located in a home’s garage area and would be connected directly to the natural gas supply in the house. In heavy-duty applications, the cost of a high capacity fast-fill private or public station could be anywhere from $200K to as much as $3 million.
The future holds great potential for natural gas because it can potentially be used in fuel cell vehicles to make hydrogen. Researchers found that fuel cell vehicles using hydrogen produced from natural gas could present an attractive solution for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
What are the Benefits of Natural Gas?
Natural gas is one of the cleanest burning alternative fuels available and offers a number of advantages over gasoline. In light-duty applications, air exhaust emissions from natural gas vehicles are much lower than those from gasoline-powered vehicles. In addition, smog-producing gases, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, are reduced by more than 90% and 60%, respectively and carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is reduced by 30%-40%.
For heavy-duty and medium-duty applications, natural gas engines have demonstrated more than 90% reduction of CO and particulate matter and more than 50% reduction of NOx relative to commercial diesel engines.
How Do I Convert My Car to Compressed Natural Gas – SAFELY?
As gasoline and diesel prices continue to rise, many people are considering converting their car or light truck to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). But conversion frmo gasoline to CNG should not be done by unqualified technicians, using unapproved conversion kits or unsafe high-pressure gas cylinders.
Please download the NGVAmerica and Clean Vehicle Education Foundation press release discussing safe conversion of vehicles to compressed natural gas.
Cliff Gladstein, Gladstein, Neandross, and Associates
Arlington County CNG
Virginia Clean Cities awarded Arlington County Public Schools with State Energy Program Special Projects funding to purchase OEM compressed natural gas school buses.
Charlottesville CNG School Bus Project
Funding for Charlottesville Public Schools to purchase 2 CNG school buses was provided by Virginia Clean Cities through a State Energy Program Special Projects award. Funding also allowed for the purchase of a time-fill CNG refueling system manufactured by Fuelmaker which has the capability of refueling four buses simultaneously.
National Airport CNG Transit Bus Project
Virginia Clean Cities provided Ronald Reagan National Airport funding to help defray the incremental cost of purchasing CNG transit buses and purchase the CNG station from Washington Gas on Clark Street in Northern Virginia.
Natural Gas Toolkit
Virginia Clean Cities worked with the East Tennessee Clean Cities Coalition to create the Natural Gas Toolkit http://www.ngtoolkit.net. This toolkit allows you to find and utilize two primary numbers, the fuel price difference and your vehicle cost difference, to calculate a simple payback period. Perhaps more importantly, it helps you get basic pieces of information in one place to prepare for potential funding opportunities in the future. What you need to know is that this is just a starting point for looking at natural gas for your fleet. Clean Cities coalitions, NGVAmerica, and other resources are out there to help you find the other numbers you need, so use the resources page to find those as you need them. Simply go to the “calculator” page and all you need is provided there. An overview of what you will do in the spreadsheet is there, as is a list of the outside information you will need to get payback numbers for your chosen vehicles.
Hydrogen fuel cells were invented in 1839 and have enjoyed a long life of powering scientific and government equipment over the past century. Hydrogen fuel cells powered the Gemini and Apollo space missions and provided power to the Space Shuttle and many smaller vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cell technology has been tested and numerous vehicle manufacturers are bringing commercial fuel cell electric vehicles to market in 2012. Laboratories throughout the country, including Virginia institutions, continue to work to perfect fuel cells for low cost commercial use through improvements in technology.
Like batteries, fuel cells convert chemical energy into electricity. The main difference between the two technologies is that fuel cells use external chemical fuel. For vehicles, hydrogen is commonly stored in tanks that are 20x stronger than regular gas tanks. The main type of fuel cell use catalysts to convert hydrogen to protons and electrons. The electrons travel through a circuit containing an electric load (like an electric motor) and power that circuit before catching up protons, which flow through a membrane in the fuel cell. When the protons and electrons recombine, the byproduct is water.
Hydrogen (H2) is the simplest and lightest fuel, and is in a gaseous state at atmospheric pressure and ambient temperature. Hydrogen may contain low levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, depending on the source. Hydrogen is being explored for use in combustion engines and fuel cell electric vehicles. On a volumetric basis, the energy density of hydrogen is very low under ambient conditions. This presents greater transportation and storage hurdles than for liquid fuels. Storage systems being developed include compressed hydrogen, liquid hydrogen, and physical or chemical bonding between hydrogen and a storage material (for example, metal hydrides).
The ability to create hydrogen from a variety of resources and its clean-burning properties make it a desirable alternative fuel. Although there is no significant transportation distribution system currently for hydrogen transportation use, we can transport and deliver hydrogen for early market penetration using the established hydrogen infrastructure; for significant market penetration, the infrastructure will need further development.
Hydrogen fuel cells can be built to practically any size, which means that they can power anything from a spacecraft to a truck to a cell phone.
How is Hydrogen for Transportation Fuel Made?
Hydrogen can be produced using diverse, domestic resources including fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal (with carbon sequestration); nuclear; and biomass and other renewable energy technologies, such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro-electric power. One common way to produce hydrogen is through electrolysis, which separates water into hydrogen and oxygen. Researchers are working to develop a wide range of technologies to produce hydrogen economically and in environmentally friendly ways.
What are the Benefits of Using Hydrogen as a Transportation Energy Source?
Expanded use of hydrogen as an energy source in this country could help address concerns about energy security, global climate change, and air quality. Fuel cells are an important enabling technology for the hydrogen future and have the potential to revolutionize the way we power our nation, offering cleaner, more efficient alternatives to the combustion of gasoline and other fossil fuels. Hydrogen’s main benefits are: stronger national security, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved air quality, and increased energy efficiency.
What is the Transportation Market for Hydrogen?
The hydrogen market has great potential for transportation applications. At the end of 2008, Hundreds of hydrogen-powered light duty vehicles were on U.S. roads and drove a total of 1,100,000 miles that year. At this time, government and industry are working together to overcome technical and cost barriers. Numerous vehicle manufacturers are advancing vehicles for commercial sale to the general public, including Daimler, Ford, GM/Opel, Honda, Hyundai/Kia, Renault, Nissan, and Toyota.
There are numerous hydrogen fueling stations, both for private and public use. To view all hydrogen stations across the country, go to the AFDC’s Alternative Fuels Station Locator. Virginia currently has one hydrogen refueling station at Fort Belvoir, and one station in planning phase south on 95.
Virginia Clean Cities sees compressed natural gas as a natural transition to hydrogen because infrastructure, refueling, storage, etc. are similar. This is one of the reasons Virginia Clean Cities promotes fleet adoption and use of CNG. Additionally, advances in electric drive systems benefit fuel cell, hybrid electric, and electric vehicles.
Where Can I Get More Information About Hydrogen?
Learn about hydrogen research and development by visiting the following sites:
Virginia Clean Cities is engaged in a project to increase understanding of hydrogen and fuel cells, including information about early market applications, and to provide specific examples of actions that can benefit the community. More information is available at our seminar page.
Virginia Hydrogen Economy Roundtable
Virginia Clean Cities coordinates the Virginia Hydrogen Economy Roundtable, representing participants from over thirty organizations, whose purpose is to determine the potential role for hydrogen systems in Virginia’s energy future. The Roundtable completed work on “Virginia’s Vision and Strategy for the Hydrogen Economy” and are now working on implementing the recommendations, such as hydrogen teacher training workshops. Download the strategy document here.
In an electric vehicle (EV), a battery or other energy storage device is used to store the electricity that powers the motor. EV batteries must be replenished by plugging in the vehicle to a power source. Some electric vehicles have onboard chargers; others plug into a charger located outside the vehicle. Both types, however, use electricity that comes from the power grid or through stationary renewable energy. Although electricity production may contribute to air pollution, EVs are considered zero-emission vehicles because their motors produce no exhaust or emissions.
There are a limited number of light-duty electric vehicles available from the major auto manufacturers, but production is increasing. New vehicles were be introduced in 2010 and 2011, such as the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. Neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) are being manufactured by a variety of companies. These small vehicles are commonly used for neighborhood commuting, light hauling, and delivery. Their use is limited to areas with 35 mph speed limits, for off-road service on college campuses, at airports, or in resort areas.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are available as neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) and as scooters and bicycles. Conversion kits are also available to transform a conventional light-duty vehicles into one that runs on electricity. While the Tesla Roadster and other electric vehicles from smaller manufactures have been available for a few years, full-size electric vehicles were initially be released to US markets in 2010 and 2011.
For more information on EV models, visit the AFDC page.
Idling vehicles can use up several billion gallons of fuel and emit large quantities of air pollution and greenhouse gases each year. The Transportation Research Board estimates that medium-duty trucks use about 2.5 billion gallons of fuel to idle each year, or 6.7% of the total fuel they consume. The TRB estimates that approximately 650,000 long-haul heavy-duty trucks idle overnight at some point for required rest stops, using more than 685 million gallons of fuel per year in the process. This costs fleets over $2 billion on fuel annually.
The term idle reduction can be used to describe the technologies and practices that reduce the amount of time vehicles idle their engines. Idle reduction technologies and practices are an important way to cut petroleum consumption and emissions. Reducing idle time saves fuel, reduces engine wear, and reduces emissions and noise. It also saves money that would normally be spent on fuel or maintenance work due to engine wear and tear.
A variety of technologies are employed to reduce fuel use. Onboard equipment such as automatic engine stop-start controls and auxiliary power units can be used wherever the vehicle might be. Truck stop electrification enables trucks to hook up to stations that provide power and other amenities. Additional strategies are available for light- and medium-duty vehicles and school buses. The presentations found below from Idle Reduction experts at Argonne National Lab and a representative of one of the leading idle reduction manufacturers can help provide basic information about idling and ways in which you can reduce it within your fleet operations.
The Middle Peninsula Clean School Bus Project has an idle reduction component. Virginia Clean Cities put forward $50,000 to fund an Idle Reduction pilot program in Virginia Beach and Gloucester County, VA school systems. The installation of 24 fuel operated heaters in 24 school buses to help eliminate idling at various schools in Virginia Beach and Gloucester took place by the Fall of 2010.
Fuel Operated Heaters replace the need to idle diesel engines by using 1/16th of the amount of fuel it takes to idle, by heating the engines coolant fluid, which then heat the engines and passenger compartments inside the bus. This project included an educational program on anti-idling lead by our Outreach Coordinator, Ryan Cornett. Project Associate Jamison Walker worked with Roger Kelly and Robert Clinebell, Gloucester County and Virginia Beach school systems’ transportation directors, respectively, on data acquisition and analysis of fuel and cost savings produced by the heaters. A power point detailing the results of the program can be found at the following link: VCC Anti-Idling. The report detailing the results of the program can be found at the following link: VCC Anti-Idling Report.
Data collection and analysis will continue on the project in order to provide a database for other school systems to utilize in making similar transitions in their own fleets.
Virginia Incentives and Laws for Idle Reduction
The list below contains summaries of all Virginia incentives and laws related to Idle Reduction.
State Incentives Idle Reduction Weight Exemption
Any motor vehicle equipped with an auxiliary power unit or other idle reduction technology may exceed the gross, single axle, tandem axle, or bridge formula weight limits by up to 400 pounds to compensate for the added weight of the idle reduction technology. (Reference Virginia Code 46.2-1129.1)
Laws and Regulations Idle Reduction Requirement
Motor vehicles licensed for commercial or public service may not idle for more than three minutes in commercial or residential urban areas, unless the engine is providing auxiliary power for purposes other than heating or air conditioning. Tour buses and diesel vehicles are not permitted to idle for more than 10 minutes. (Reference Virginia Administrative Code 9-5-40-5670(C))
Idle Reduction Resources
Below are presentations by our Idle Reduction experts at Argonne National Lab and a representative of one of the leading idle reduction manufacturers that supplied our program’s heaters:
Idle Reduction, Related Legislation, and Funding Opportunities at the National and State Level
Terry M. Levinson Argonne National Laboratory Presentation
Idling Reduction Overview
Terry M. Levinson Argonne National Laboratory Presentation
How Do Idling Reduction Technologies Compare?
Dr. Linda Gaines Argonne National Laboratory Presentation
Paul Baczewski Webasto Products North America, Inc. Presentation
The National Idling Reduction Network brings together trucking and transit companies, railroads, equipment manufacturers, local, state and federal government agencies (including regulators), and national research laboratories to identify consistent, workable solutions to heavy vehicle idling for the entire United States. Download past newsletters or email us if you would like to be added to their mailing list.