EPA Plans to Issue Higher-Ethanol Gasoline Proposal by February

The Environmental Protection Agency aims to release its draft rule allowing year-round sales of higher ethanol gasoline blends by February, and end deliberations on the proposal by May, according to a filing with the Office of Management and Budget.

President Donald Trump last week announced his intention to lift the summertime ban on sales of so-called E15 gasoline, which was imposed by the EPA to reduce smog. The announcement marked a win for farmers eager to expand the market for corn-based ethanol, and was seen as a political victory for Trump ahead of congressional elections in November.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said last week he was confident the rule would be ready for the driving season next year, although industry experts said such a timeline was too ambitious.

Trump’s announcement capped a months-long effort by the White House to thread the needle between rival corn and oil industry interests, both of which are unhappy with the administration’s handling of the nation’s biofuels policy.

DERA Funding Announced

The Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely today announced the 2018 Kentucky Clean Diesel Grant Program, which will provide $275,689 for projects to reduce diesel emissions from aging school buses in the Commonwealth.

Funding is being made available through the federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This competitive program is open to all public school districts and private schools located in Kentucky.

“This program will help schools protect the health of our children by reducing diesel emissions and improving air quality,” Sec. Snavely said. “I encourage all of our school districts to apply for this funding.”

Kentucky public school districts and private schools that own and operate school buses are eligible to apply for funding through this grant program, which will reimburse up to 25 percent of the cost to replace a school bus. Grant recipients are responsible for the remaining 75 percent.

Kentucky school buses travel about 100 million miles each year, providing transportation for more than 350,000 children. Diesel exhaust can negatively affect children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed.

New buses emit up to 60 times fewer pollutants than those built before 1995, but budget restrictions often push bus replacement to the back burner.
“This program will provide additional resources that make it easier for school districts to replace older, more polluting buses with newer, cleaner ones,” said Department for Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Sean Alteri.

Proposals that achieve the most cost-effective emission reductions, and those that demonstrate the greatest emission reductions will be given priority in grant awards, as will applicants located in current or former non-attainment areas for ozone or particulate matter.

The purchase of new vehicles to expand the fleet is not covered by this program. Vehicles being replaced must be scrapped and rendered inoperable. Evidence of appropriate disposal, such as a photograph of the scrapped vehicle including serial number and VIN, will be required in order to receive grant funds.

The deadline to apply for funds is November 8, 2018. To apply, visit the Division for Air Quality’s web-site at http://air.ky.gov/Pages/CleanDiesel.aspx.

Alternative Fuel Corridors 2018 Nomination Request Released

The Federal Highway Administration has released the 2018 call for nominations for the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act Designation of Alternative Fuel Corridors.

Current corridor designations and information about the program can be found on our cornerstone project page with the link below.

Information for the call for nominations can be found on the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration website.

Virgin Atlantic Celebrates Milestone Flight With Sustainable Fuel

Virgin Atlantic is celebrating the completion of a milestone Florida-London flight that used LanzaTech’s carbon-recycling technology.

EPIC Fuels provided expertise in fuel blending, as well as technical and logistical support, to Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech to enable the first-ever commercial flight using a blend of petroleum-based jet fuel and alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) fuel produced from waste gases, says EPIC.

LanzaTech’s technology captures carbon-rich industrial waste gases, such as those from steel mills, and recycles them into ethanol. The ethanol, in turn, can be used for a variety of low-carbon products, including being upgraded to ATJ-SPK, which can be blended into jet fuel, explains EPIC.

After blending traditional jet fuel with LanzaTech ATJ-SPK, the fuel mix was rigorously tested at a commercial jet fuel-testing laboratory. EPIC also worked with Menzies Aviation at Orlando International Airport (MCO) to ensure all requirements were met for both ASTM testing and airport operations for this fuel.

The results met the required specifications for ASTM 1655 jet fuel and were cleared for use on the historic flight onboard one of Virgin’s Boeing 747 aircraft. The first flight using this fuel was VA flight 16 from MCO to London Gatwick (LGW) on Oct. 2.

Oct 11 Webinar: Delivering on the Promise for Zero-Emission Goods Movement

Fuel cell electric vehicles continue to see increased attention year over year as a promising solution to replace internal combustion engines in goods movement and other energy intensive applications. Hydrogen station development, new vehicle launches, and fleet deployments continue to increase at a steady pace, with significant growth expected in the near term as policymakers around the world continue to announce their intent to introduce mandates for zero-tailpipe emissions.

Plug Power is sponsoring a free webinar on Thursday, October 11 at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET to:

  • Learn how fuel cell technologies can enable commercial fleets to meet sustainability and regulatory compliance objectives
  • Understand how fuel cell engines work, including the impact on vehicle and operator performance (fuel economy, range, emissions, up time, driver experience)
  • Gain insight from a global delivery fleet that has been successfully testing fuel cell-powered electric delivery vans
  • Learn why October 8 is “National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day”

Webinar presenters include:

Larry Pitts - Plug Power
Larry Pitts
Director of Mechanical Design
Plug Power
Phillip Galbach - FedEx
Phillip Galbach
Project Engineering Specialist, Global Vehicles

Blue Bird Delivers its First Electric School Buses

Blue Bird’s first electric-powered school buses are on their way to customers in Ontario and California.

All of the customers who obtained the buses were able to do so through the help of financial grants, which helped pay for all or part of the cost of the buses, as well as some infrastructure costs.

Jack Matrosov of Wheelchair Accessible Transit, based in Toronto, was able to add one Micro Bird G5 electric school bus to his fleet through the use of the Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program (EHVIP), offered by Ontario’s government.

Blue Bird is also delivering seven Type D All American rear-engine electric school buses in California. The larger, 72-passenger buses have a similar design to that of many Blue Bird Type D compressed natural gas (CNG) buses that districts operate in the state today.

National Corvette Museum installing electric vehicle charger

Volkswagen earned a dirty reputation several years ago when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the company’s cars sold in America were designed with the capability to cheat emissions tests – a scandal referred to as “Dieselgate.”

In penance, the German automaker agreed to spend $2 billion in the U.S. promoting electric vehicles through its new venture, Electrify America.

Electrify America plans to install 2,000 EV chargers across the nation – and the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green is on the list.

Volvo to Launch All-Electric Class 8 Trucks in North America

As part of a partnership between the Volvo Group, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and other industry stakeholders in transportation and electrical charging infrastructure, Volvo Trucks will introduce all-electric truck demonstrators in California next year and commercialize them in North America in 2020.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has preliminarily awarded $44.8 million to SCAQMD for the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project, involving 16 partners. Volvo LIGHTS is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts cap-and-trade dollars to work in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The demonstration units will be based on the technology currently being used in the Volvo FE Electric, which Volvo Trucks presented in May and will begin selling in Europe in 2019.

“This is an excellent opportunity to show the end-to-end potential of electrification,” states Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “From solar energy harvesting at our customer locations, to electric vehicle uptime services, to potential second uses for batteries, this project will provide invaluable experience and data for the whole value chain.”

Hydrogenics Inks Fuel Cell Trucking Deal in SoCal

Mississauga, Ontario-based Hydrogenics Corp., a developer and manufacturer of hydrogen generation and hydrogen fuel cell power systems, will supply six heavy-duty fuel cell power modules to GTI and TransPower for a set of Class 8 Navistar drayage trucks scheduled to be deployed in Southern California early next year.

The trucks are part of the California Air Resources Board’s California Climate Investments program, meant to enable the acceleration of low-carbon technology in commercial trucking applications. For this project, GTI is the program manager, TransPower is the vehicle integrator, Navistar is the chassis provider and Total Transportation Services Inc. is the operator. Hydrogenics’ fuel cells are expected to be shipped in the fourth quarter of 2018; additional terms were not disclosed.

“GTI is excited to be a part of this consortium, including Hydrogenics, that brings leadership and experience in their respective fields to propel the transition to a post-petroleum, heavy-duty trucking economy,” states Ted Barnes, research and development director at GTI. “In California, we are starting to see numerous examples of heavy-duty vehicle platforms moving successfully to zero-emission by adopting fuel cell technology.”

Plug-in Hybrid ‘Enhydra’ Ferry Arrives on San Francisco Bay

The Red and White Fleet, a San Francisco ferry business operating on the San Francisco Bay for over 126 years, has added a plug-in hybrid vessel to its fleet.

The Enhydra, a tribute to the California sea otter, will be the first aluminum-hulled, lithium-ion, battery plug-in hybrid vessel built in the U.S., the company claims.

Red and White partnered with BAE Systems, which is supplying its HybriGen propulsion system, including lithium-ion battery packs (160 kWh total), generators, the control system and AC electric traction motors. The system will be supplemented by a Cummins Tier 3 diesel engine running on 100% biofuel, further reducing emissions with a 30%-80% lower carbon intensity than fossil fuels, says Red and White.