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Technical Response Service: Question of the Month

Question of the Month:
What is the AFLEET Tool, how can I use it to make decisions about alternative fuels, and what are the recent improvements? 

Answer: Argonne National Laboratory’s Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environment and Economic Transportation (AFLEET) Tool allows you to examine both the environmental and economic costs and benefits of alternative fuel and advanced vehicles (https://greet.es.anl.gov/afleet). By entering data about your light- or heavy-duty vehicle(s), you can estimate petroleum use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, air pollutant emissions, and cost of ownership.

AFLEET uses data from Argonne’s Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) model (https://greet.es.anl.gov/index.php) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) model (https://www3.epa.gov/otaq/models/moves/) to estimate life cycle (well-to-wheel) GHG and tailpipe air pollutant emissions. Users can either use the model’s default values or get even more accurate results by customizing the tool with their real life vehicle or fleet data. By using AFLEET’s simple input mechanism, users can answer questions such as:

  • What are the emissions savings of replacing a conventionally fueled fleet with alternative fuel vehicles?
  • What is the incremental cost, and potential return on investment, of buying a flexible fuel vehicle?
  • How many passenger vehicles will be “taken off the road” by using natural gas refuse trucks?

 

Fleets and others that have been using AFLEET since its original release in 2013 will be pleased to hear that AFLEET has been updated to reflect more recent emissions data. In addition, Argonne added new features to help users formulate a more complete picture of the costs and benefits of alternative fuels.

Updates include: 

  • Fuel Prices: AFLEET uses public and private station pricing based on the 2015 average Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report data (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/prices.html). In addition, fuel pricing is now state-based rather than based on a national average. Users may also input a range of fuel prices to determine effects on simple payback models.
  • Infrastructure Costs: The updated version of AFLEET features data on fueling station and electric vehicle supply equipment infrastructure construction, operation, and maintenance costs. Users may also calculate other infrastructure-related costs, such as public station out-of-route mileage and fueling labor costs.
  • Latest Vehicle and Emission Data: AFLEET uses the latest GREET 2015 air pollutant emissions data, which includes updated heavy-duty fuel economy and emissions data, data for fuel cell electric vehicles, and updated life cycle data for renewable natural gas. AFLEET has also been updated to use the most recent version of EPA’s MOVES data, 2014a.
  • Externality Costs: AFLEET output data now includes externality costs of national petroleum use and GHG emissions. Externality costs are the indirect damages associated with fuels that are not explicitly captured by the marketplace (e.g., property damages from increased flood risk as a result of climate change).  Externality cost estimates will be useful in putting local vehicle and fleet decisions in a national perspective.

 

For information about and instructions for using AFLEET, refer to Argonne’s AFLEET User Guide (https://greet.es.anl.gov/files/afleet-manual).

In addition, check out the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s (AFDC) fuel-specific emissions pages for general information on the emissions impacts of the various alternative fuels: 

 

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

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DOE and the Department of Transportation Announce Collaboration to Support Smart Transportation Systems and Alternative Fuel Technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a collaboration to accelerate research, development, demonstration, and deployment of innovative smart transportation systems and alternative fuel technologies. The agencies formalized this collaborative relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)that was unveiled yesterday at a symposium called Achieving Zero-Emission Mobility: The Role of Innovative Electric Vehicle Companies, hosted by the University of California Center on Economic Competitiveness in Transportation in Berkeley, California.

The MOU will facilitate coordinated actions to leverage the two agencies' expertise in transportation energy technology and safety systems to accelerate analysis, tools, and applications of those technologies.

This joint initiative follows DOT Secretary Foxx's announcement of the Smart City Challenge, which aims to select one U.S. city to be awarded up to $40 million in Federal Highway Administration money and $10 million from the department's private sector partner, Vulcan Inc., for demonstrating and deploying vision-forward smart city and mobility solutions. This city will become the nation's first to integrate innovative technologies such as self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors into their transportation network. After receiving 78 applications, DOT has chosen seven Smart City Challenge finalists to receive a $100,000 grant to refine their full proposals.

DOE intends to provide in-kind support of DOT's Smart City Challenge in the form of expertise and resources including DOE's extensive experience in transportation electrification and alternative fuel vehicle fleet deployment through the DOE SMART Mobility consortium, EV Everywhere, and Clean Cities.

The Energy Department's support for Smart City-related activities aligns with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) strategic goal to accelerate the development and adoption of sustainable transportation technology. Learn more about EERE and its efforts to accelerate development and facilitate deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.

Read the full article here

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Louisiana, It’s Air Quality Awareness Month

LCF Observes Air Quality Awareness Month

The National Air Quality Awareness week runs from May 2 through May 6, however, Governor John Bel Edwards has proclaimed May as the Air Quality Awareness month for our state.  Whether it’s taking your bike to work or carpooling, you can do your part to help improve the local air quality and reduce your carbon footprint. 

Last week, LCF's Executive Director Ann Shaneyfelt appeared on WBRZ's morning show with Vannetta, Environmental Scientist with DEQ and talked to viewers about Air Quality Awareness Week and how individuals can participate. View the interview on the WBRZ website.

Why care about air quality?

The overall quality of the air, or ozone, can affect your health if exposed to high levels.  Ozone levels usually rise with warmer temperatures, and higher levels can contribute to breathing problems such as increased asthma attacks.   Understanding what ozone is, how it forms and how it can affect your health is vital in the hot summer months.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strengthened the air quality standard for our state from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb.  The updated standards will reduce exposure to ozone to improve the public’s overall health protection but particularly to at risk groups including children, older adults and people of all ages who have lung diseases. 

While this standard calls for cleaner air and increased public health, it could create a halt in Louisiana’s industry development, affecting our economy.  It’s important that industry as well as the public work together to meet the designated air quality standard to protect our health and our economy. 

How to get involved

You can sign up to receive daily ozone forecast emails through the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s (LDEQ) EnviroFlash program. Additionally, EnviroFlash will notify you when an Ozone Action Day is announced.

The public can also do their part by avoiding using lawnmowers or other lawn care equipment and fueling their car on ozone action days or waiting until late in the day to do so.  Avoid using VOC-based paint and using lighter fluid for barbequing on Ozone Action Days.  You can also minimize use of your vehicle by walking or biking, carpooling or by using public transit.

For more information on air quality, please visit LDEQ’s website.

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