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    Energy Department Request for Information in Support of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Truck Research and Development

    Originally posted by the US Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is announcing a request for information (RFI) from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on issues related to medium- and heavy-duty freight trucking. Affordable freight movement is essential for the nation’s economy. Trucks carry over 70% of the nation’s freight on a tonnage basis and 73% of freight on a value basis.[1] There are new opportunities in all commercial vehicle classes to increase efficiency and to introduce alternative fuel sources such as electricity, natural gas, biofuels, and hydrogen.

    The RFI is being issued by EERE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), and Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO). Through this RFI, DOE is soliciting input in five categories:  

    1. Freight Operational Efficiency and Systems
    2. Internal Combustion Engine, Powertrain, Fuels and Emssions Control
    3. Batteries, Electrification, and Charging of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks
    4. Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Trucks
    5. Other Important Considerations

    DOE is planning a public workshop in the December 2020 timeframe to share the key findings of the request for information with outside stakeholders. The request for information and workshop discussions will help identify gaps and barriers to commercializing new technologies, and help inform DOE’s R&D and competitive funding strategy into the next ten years.

    This is solely a request for information and not a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). EERE is not accepting applications. Responses to this RFI must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. (EDT) on November 9, 2020. Learn more about RFI response guidelines.

    [1]U.S. Department of Transportation, 2015. 2012 Commodity Flow Survey, table 1b, https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/econ/ec12tcf-us.pdf.


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    Masks On, EVs Out: Louisiana Clean Fuels Hosts Safe and Fun Celebration for National Drive Electric Week 2020!

    COVID-19 couldn’t put a damper on our EV enthusiasm! Despite continued pandemic concerns, this year’s National Drive Electric Week event on October 3rd at Tanger Outlet Mall in Gonzales had an excellent turn-out with masks, social distancing, and a noticeable lack of vehicle emissions. It was our first in-person event since the Clean Fuels Golf Classic in March -- which took place just as pandemic closures hit Louisiana -- and the Louisiana Clean Fuels staff stepped up to the plate with enthusiasm. With beautiful weather and lots of friendly (masked) faces, the event was a great success. 

    There were over a dozen vehicles lined up in an EV Alley in front of Tanger, including all four Tesla models, both the Chevy Bolt and Volt, a Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, and a Jaguar IPACE, and the owners of these vehicles reported over 326,000 collective electric miles driven. We were happy to see our friends from the Tesla Louisiana Owners and Dreamers Facebook Group turn out in droves once again to support our EV outreach efforts for NDEW! These fabulous Tesla owners love driving electric and are always happy to show off their EVs and discuss all the fun benefits of owning a Tesla.

    One of the highlights of the event was seeing several Tesla Model Ys - Tesla’s newest EV - on display, including one set up in camping mode; attendees were able to see the Model Y with the tent hitched up to the back of the vehicle, showing off the shady sitting area for any enthusiastic campers or tailgaters. After seeing the display, Tyler, LCF’s Co-Coordinator whose love for Tesla is well-known, said wistfully, “Okay, now I definitely want a Model Y.” There was also a splendid Jaguar IPACE on display courtesy of the Paretti Family of Dealerships, a big supporter of LCF and our EV outreach efforts. A big thanks to all of the EV owners who brought out their vehicles and their enthusiasm for conversation!

    We had a great time speaking with attendees about electric vehicles, with many attendees asking questions about NDEW, the benefits of EVs, and Louisiana Clean Fuels. Many expressed appreciation for the vehicles on display and spent time mingling with the volunteer EV owners. One attendee approached LCF staff to compliment a talkative EV owner, saying, “He knows everything about all the Tesla models! He had a ton of great information for us!”

    Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s NDEW event was packed full of EV newbies and enthusiasts alike. After a mostly event-less, quarantined summer down here in Louisiana and across the world, it almost seemed as if everyone was particularly happy to get out and participate in a safe social event to celebrate sustainability and cleaner driving.

    We at LCF had a fantastic time spreading the word about electric vehicles during #NDEW2020, and we can’t wait to make next year’s National Drive Electric Week even better! Thanks so much to everyone who helped to put on the event or who came out to show their support!

    Check out our photo gallery to see some pictures from our 2020 NDEW event:

    NDEW 2020 PHOTO Gallery


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    Assistant Secretary Simmons to Host Facebook Live Broadcast on National Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Day

    Originally posted by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy | October 5, 2020

    On October 8, 2020, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE's) Assistant Secretary, Daniel R Simmons, will host a Facebook Live broadcast at 2 p.m. ET. October 8, chosen to represent the atomic weight of hydrogen (1.008), is National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, an opportunity to celebrate all the progress that has been made in the field. As part of that celebration, Assistant Secretary Simmons' broadcast will discuss contributions by EERE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office and the [email protected] initiative, and will include a special announcement. Be sure to tune in via EERE's Facebook page.


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    2020 DERA School Bus Rebates Program Applications Being Accepted

    Deadline to Apply - October 30, 2020 (4 p.m. ET)

    The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2010 (PDF) allows EPA to offer rebates in addition to grants to reduce harmful emissions from older, dirtier diesel vehicles. The rebate program has funded vehicle replacements or retrofits for over 2,000 vehicles. Typically, the rebate application period opens in the fall and projects are completed in less than one year.

    EPA is excited to announce a funding opportunity for school bus fleets that serve public schools. EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality is accepting applications nationwide for rebates to assist in replacing older, dirtier diesel school buses with new school buses certified to EPA's cleanest emission standards. EPA anticipates awarding over $10 million in this funding opportunity. Selected applicants that scrap and replace their old diesel buses will receive a rebate of $20,000-$65,000 per bus depending on the fuel type of the replacement bus.

    Eligible Entities

    • Regional, state, or tribal agency that has jurisdiction over transportation and air quality, including school districts and municipalities
    • Private entities that operate school buses under a contract with an entity listed above
    • Fleets with up to 100 school buses may submit one application listing up to 10 buses for scrappage and replacement
    • Fleets with more than 100 school buses may submit up to two rebate applications, each listing up to 10 different buses for scrappage and replacement

    Selection Process

    Applicants will be selected in a lottery, with at least one selectee from each state/territory represented in the applicant pool.

    Important Dates

    Activity Date
    2020 DERA School Bus Rebates program opens. EPA begins accepting applications with scans of titles and registrations submitted to [email protected] Thursday, October 1, 2020
    Webinar for applicants:
    Click here to join webinar
    Call-in Number: 1-202-991-0477
    Access Code: 562 579 487#
    Wednesday, October 7, 2020
    3 p.m. ET
    Deadline for emailing applications with scans of bus titles and registrations to [email protected]
    Friday, October 30, 2020
    4 p.m. ET
    Official selection letters emailed to selectees and list of applicants that were not selected posted online January - February 2021 (Estimated)
    Deadline for submitting copies of purchase orders for replacement buses April 2021 (Estimated)
    Deadline for submitting documentation of delivery of replacement buses and scrappage of old buses. EPA will send rebate payment within one month of receipt of complete materials.  September 2021 (Estimated)


    Rebate Application Form and Supporting Documents

    The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document will be updated weekly during the application period. Questions submitted to [email protected] through October 22, including those from the webinar, will be added to this document.

    Eligible Old School Buses to be Replaced

    • Used to transport 10+ pre-primary, primary, or secondary school students to or from schools
    • Driven 10,000 or more miles over either the last 12 months or calendar year in 2019, or have been in use 3+ days/week between 9/1/2019 and 2/29/2020
    • Owned by applicant without any active liens
    • Class 3-8 diesel-powered buses [greater than 10,000 lb Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)]
    • Buses must be powered by 2006 or older model year engines
    • Engine and chassis must be scrapped before receiving rebate payment

    Eligible Replacement Buses

    • May not be ordered prior to receiving signed EPA selection letter
    • Powered by a 2017 or newer model year engine.
    • Operate in a similar manner and over similar routes as the bus being replaced
    • Be purchased, not leased or leased-to-own
    • Rebate reimbursement is based on the fuel type of the replacement bus:
      • $20,000 for diesel and gasoline
      • $25,000 for propane
      • $30,000 for CNG/LNG
      • $65,000 for battery or hydrogen electric
      • Maximum rebate funding amount per application is $300,000

    If you have questions, please contact [email protected].

    VISIT THE SCHOOL BUS REBATES: DIESEL EMISSIONS REDUCTION ACT (DERA) WEB PAGE


    Webinar

    2020 School Bus Rebates Program

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET

    Go to the following link a few minutes before the webinar starts: 2020 School Bus Rebates Webinar.

    Call-in Number: 1-202-991-0477
    Access Code: 562 579 487#

    Webinar Highlights:

    • Program Overview
    • Eligibility (applicants & vehicles)
    • Process and Timeline
    • Additional Tips
    • Question & Answer Period

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    LCF Publishes 2019 Annual Report Data Showing Hopeful Future for Louisiana’s Air Quality

    Historically, a number of parishes in Louisiana have struggled to remain in compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) set by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act. When parishes are out of compliance, referred to as being in non-attainment status, their ozone levels may threaten the health of those in the area, particularly children, the elderly, or those with respiratory conditions. Ozone, a respiratory irritant, is created through reactions between nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are primarily produced by road transportation. Since 2000, Louisiana Clean Fuels has worked to transition Louisiana’s transportation sector to cleaner, alternative fuel technologies that produce less NOx and lower transportation emissions that threaten the health of Louisianians and keep the state in non-attainment status. The report below details the progress of this transition to alternative fuel technologies.

    The data we collect is used as a benchmark to gain an accurate picture of alternative fuel and vehicle usage in Louisiana, which will help both LCF and the Department of Energy understand the alternative fuels market and the progress we are making towards our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. This Annual Report allows us to track the growth of the different alternative fuel market sectors and identify which projects are most effective at reducing emissions. We also use the data we collect for the Annual Report in the consideration of recipients for the 2020 Annual Clean Fuel Leader Awards.

    After months of collecting and analyzing the data, the Annual Report is complete, and our findings are ready to be shared.

    In 2019, LCF stakeholders reduced usage of a total of 9,422,169 gallons of gasoline-equivalent (GGEs). Primarily, this was achieved through the usage of alternative fuel vehicles (66%) rather than vehicles that run on gasoline or diesel. Other methods of reduction worth mentioning are fuel economy improvements (16%) in vehicles and idle reduction measures (14%), both of which focus on decreasing fuel consumption in vehicles. Not only do our stakeholders use vehicle improvements to reduce fossil fuel consumption, but a large number of them are also diversifying their fuel options and switching to other fuels besides gasoline and diesel to power their fleets.

    • Members of LCF’s Green Fleets Certification Program used over three million gallons of alternative fuel, accounting for 34% of our stakeholders’ GGE Reductions. 
    • From 2017 to 2019, East Baton Rouge School district increased their number of propane-fueled buses from 10 to 60 with a corresponding propane fuel use increase of over 1400%. Lafourche school district also increased its usage of propane-fueled school buses, using 25% more propane in 2019 than in 2017.
    • Despite only comprising 2% of our alternative fuel usage, electric vehicles accounted for 6% of our Greenhouse Gas reductions. The majority of this usage is from SporTran’s and CATS’ electric transit buses, but we’re seeing increasing benefits from the growing number of individually owned electric vehicles on the road with public charger usage increasing by 73% in our region.



    In addition to reducing petroleum usage, LCF stakeholders also reduced 45,673 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019. Idle reduction (37%) and improvements in fuel economy (42%) were responsible for the majority of the reduction of GHG emissions. As these measures reduce overall fuel consumption for any vehicle, AFV or not, these kinds of measures have the largest impact on keeping emissions down during the transition to cleaner alternative fuels that reduce emissions even further. As investment in alternative fuel fleets continues to rise, replacing older diesel and gasoline vehicles, GHG emissions reduced by AFVs will increasingly account for a larger share of emissions reductions in Louisiana.

    This third chart shows a breakdown in the GGEs reduced and the GHG emissions reduced by fuel type. In 2019, LCF stakeholders reduced 6,413,389 GGE and 8,374 tons of GHG emissions specifically through alternative fuel usage. Louisiana is known for having a very strong natural gas industry, and this data illustrates that compressed natural gas (CNG) is indeed an incredibly popular alternative fuel for our stakeholders. CNG accounts for 70% of the GGEs reduced but only 47% of the GHG emissions reduced in 2019. Also of note in GGE reduction is propane, which accounted for 19% of the 6.4 million total for 2019. Biodiesel (25%) and renewable natural gas (RNG) (12%) played a notable role in our stakeholders’ reduction of GHG emissions in 2019, despite accounting for only 1.6% and 3.7% respectively of the petroleum reductions by our stakeholders, showing the dramatic effectiveness of biodiesel and RNG at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    Compared to 2018, total levels of GHG and GGE reduced remain relatively the same. The amount of CNG reported used by stakeholders in 2019 dropped by 15% from the previous year, which accounts for a drop in GHG and GGE reduced. In addition to a nearly twenty-fold increase in biodiesel usage from 2018, GGE reduced from Propane and RNG usage increased by 50% and 30%, respectively, offsetting most of the drop in GGE reduced from CNG. While decreases in CNG usage are noteworthy, the respective increases in Propane and RNG, in particular, are representative of an increasingly diverse alternative fuel usage among LCF stakeholders.


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    FOTW #1151: Lithium-Ion Battery Capacity for New All-Electric Vehicles Sold in the United States Reached a Record High in 2019

    Originally posted by the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy | Original Article

    With a 1% increase in sales and increasing battery pack size, all-electric vehicles (EVs) captured a record amount of total plug-in vehicle battery capacity sold in 2019, 17.4 gigawatt-hours. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) accounted for a smaller portion of total plug-in vehicle battery capacity due to their lower sales volumes and because they require smaller battery packs than EVs, since they have gasoline-powered engines to extend total vehicle range. PHEV sales decreased 32% from 2018 to 2019, about the same as the decrease in PHEV battery capacity. Calendar year 2018 was the first full year of Tesla Model 3 sales, which accounted for the large increase in total battery capacity between 2017 and 2018.

    Source: Argonne National Laboratory, Assessment of Light-Duty Plug-In Electric Vehicles in the United States, 2010 – 2019, June 2020.

    Fact #1151 Dataset

    Read the original article


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    Webinar Wednesday Series: EV Work Trucks & Fleet Electrification Basics


    Our next Wednesday Webinar Series is a 2-part series that focuses on Electric Work Trucks and helping fleets start to plan for adding these low maintenance & quiet vehicles to their fleets. On September 30th we will host "EV Market Watch - Work Trucks", then on October 7th, we will host "First Steps for Fleets Interested in EVs". Registration is free for both webinars.

    Part 1: EV Market Watch - Work Trucks

    Wednesday, September 30th | 2 PM CDT

    Join us for Part 1 in the series: "EV Market Watch - Work Trucks!" Discover all of the options available on the market today and what vehicles are coming soon. The webinar will feature Michael Coates, the editor of the Clean Fleets Report who will facilitate a moderated discussion with Keith Brandis with the Volvo Lights project and Alexander Voets with Daimler Trucks North America to discuss existing news about their EV vehicle line ups and pilot programs.


    PART 2: First Steps for Fleets Interested in EVs

    Wednesday, October 7th | 2 PM CDT

    Register to learn about the differences between EVs and gaseous fueled vehicles, benefits of EVs, and total cost of ownership. This webinar will cover things to consider when making the decision to try EVs, fleet analysis and EV Suitability of your fleet, utilizing data and telematics to inform your EV procurement decisions, along with understanding the new networks and types of partnerships you will need.

    Audience: Companies/fleets that are taking the first step to look at if EVs are right for them

    Covering:

    • Understanding differences between EVs and gaseous fueled vehicles, benefits of EVs; total cost of ownership. 
    • Things to consider when making the decision to try EVs - duty cycle, routes, engaging your utility. 
    • Fleet Analysis and EV Suitability of your fleet / utilizing data and telematics to inform your EV procurement decisions. 
    • Understanding the new networks and types of partnerships you will need 




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    Progress in electric vehicle range and emissions

    Originally posted to Fuels Fix | Original Article

    Demystifying emissions comparisons and the viability of electric vehicles for Louisiana residents and businesses with new data and research.

    Just 10 years ago, the electric vehicle industry began expanding and limited research was available about the vehicle benefits, capabilities, or impacts. Over the last few years, EV production has been a rapidly changing industry as car manufacturers address climate concerns and customer needs. With new technology and years of progress, our knowledge on EVs has developed, and new research can provide us with the answers to our previous concerns or misconceptions. 

    EV Well-to-Wheel Emissions Misconceptions

    Vehicle emissions can be broken into two categories: air pollutants and greenhouse gases. When comparing these emissions, there are two forms of analysis: direct and well-to-wheels. Direct emissions are those coming from the use of the vehicle and are also known as tailpipe emissions. The operation of electric vehicles (EVs) produces no tailpipe emissions, but there are still emissions associated with these vehicles. Well-to-wheel emissions include all emissions related to fuel production, processing, distribution, and use. For gasoline vehicles, well-to-wheel emissions come from the extraction, refining, and distribution of petroleum, while electric vehicle emissions are produced by the electric power plants and the extraction and processing of the primary energy sources used for electricity production. The actual amount of emissions associated with EVs is dependent on the makeup of the electricity grid where the vehicle is charged. 

    One misconception when discussing well-to-wheel emissions from electric vehicles is that electric grids with primary sources of electricity coming from fossil fuels will result in higher emissions for EVs than the average gasoline vehicle. While the exact emissions data does depend on the electricity sources, well-to-wheel emissions of electric vehicles are generally still significantly cleaner than gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles. This is largely due to their fuel economies: EVs convert over 77% of the electrical energy from the grid to power while conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 12-30% of the energy from gasoline to power. According to Argonne National Lab’s Assessment of Light-Duty Plug-In Electric Vehicles in the United States, this efficiency resulted in energy savings from light-duty plug-in electric vehicles of 44.8 trillion Btu, or 470 million gallons of gasoline in 2019 alone. 

    In Louisiana, our reliance on fossil fuels for energy can result in slightly higher electricity emissions than other renewable-based states. Based on the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s analysis on the electricity generation in Louisiana, approximately 72% of our state’s energy comes from natural gas. While the emissions levels for natural gas are much greater than what is possible with renewable energy sources, it still has much lower greenhouse gas emissions than coal or oil. This results in significantly lower emissions for electric vehicles in Louisiana than gasoline vehicles, and this trend will continue as our energy generation becomes cleaner.


    Image: Per vehicle emissions based on Louisiana’s power mix (Source: https://afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/electric_emissions.html)

    For further analysis on EV emissions in Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Energy has created a ‘Beyond Tailpipe Emissions Calculator’ which allows users to choose an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, input their location by zip code, and compare total well-to-wheels emissions of their car to the average new gasoline vehicle. Using this for a 2020 Chevy Bolt in Baton Rouge, the electric vehicle’s emissions are estimated to be 120 grams of CO2 per mile (gCO2/mi) while the average new gasoline vehicle emissions are estimated as 410 gCO2/mi. 

    EV Battery Emissions and Progress 

    Another topic that is recently evolving in relation to electric vehicle emissions is the impacts of battery production. Different studies, summarized by the International Council on Clean Transportation in 2018, have shown different emissions impacts, ranging from 56 to 494 kg CO2e/kWh with an average estimation at 150 kg CO2e/kWh. This translates to about 56 gCO2/mi. Based on the reports mentioned previously, gasoline vehicles are responsible for about 100-290 gCO2/mi more than EVs. 

    The International Energy Agency conducted its own study on a ten-year comparative life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions analysis based on 2018 data in their recently released Global EV Outlook 2020. Their comparison shows that batteries represent about a third of electric vehicles’ lifetime emissions; however, the total CO2 emissions of the ten-year life-cycle for a battery electric vehicle (BEV) with an 80kWh capacity (or about 370 mi. range) is currently approximately 20% less than the emissions of a comparable internal combustion vehicle life-cycle. Thus, while EV batteries are still associated with substantial emissions, it does not outweigh the benefits of reduced emissions associated with the use of EVs. As battery technology and recycling improve and EV designs become more efficient and cost-effective, the life-cycle emissions of an EV are expected to continue to decrease, while increasing costs of achieving better fuel efficiency in combustion vehicles will limit reductions to GHG emissions in the future.

    (Comparative life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions over ten year lifetime of an average mid-size car by powertrain, 2018, IEA, Paris, International Energy Agency Global EV Outlook 2020)

    However, there are still negatives associated with the production of EV batteries. As of now, most batteries for EVs (along with other electronic devices like your cell phone), are made from lithium, a naturally-occurring mineral found within the earth. To extract lithium, a lot of water is needed and unfortunately, the most lithium-rich spot in the world, South America’s Lithium Triangle also happens to be one of the driest. In parts of Chile, 65% of all of the region’s water is going to mining activities, and this has a harsh impact on local farmers. Locals are also often underrepresented in the mining process, as large companies come in and extract resources from their land with little or no pay. It is no doubt that these lithium batteries are essential in the electrification of vehicles, and thus the fight against global warming and pollution, but lithium cannot be considered a just solution if the industry continues to contribute to water depletion and global extractivism.

    EV Range Anxiety 

    Range anxiety, or the fear that your EV will run out of power because it has a shorter range on a full charge than a conventional vehicle on a full tank of gas, is one of the most common concerns for interested EV buyers. While it is true that EVs have a shorter range than conventional vehicles, there are a few things to note that can help mitigate consumer range anxiety. 

    The average American driver drives about 37 miles per day. Most EV drivers begin their daily commute with a full charge after charging overnight. With the shortest range on a full charge at about 57 miles for older EV vehicles and a modern range at about 200 miles, it is unlikely that an EV driver would be stranded without a charge on an average day. 
    Even in the last two model years, ranges of electric sedans, wagons, and SUVs have increased by an average of 5-10% over the previous year, based on data of 74 commercially-available all-electric vehicles from AFDC’s alternative fuel vehicle search. The chart below shows that the average range of an EV sedan or SUV is now above 240 miles with many sedans approaching 400 miles.

    Further, while EV infrastructure scarcity is a legitimate issue, EV charging stations are on the rise in many regions, in part thanks to increased incentives and funding sources like the VW Mitigation Trust. In the last few years, Louisiana has installed enough EV charging stations along I-10 to complete a short FHWA Alternative Fuel Corridor and designate the rest of I-10 and I-12 as pending corridors. However, many owners of newer EVs with ranges of 300+ miles find that they rarely need to charge in public. By adding EV charging stations at places of work, the charging needs of people with older EVs with shorter ranges would be satisfied. 

    Ultimately, most EV owners charge at home with Level 2 chargers. These chargers can cost as little as $1,000, and state tax credits and utility incentives can lower that cost. But if needed, tools like the Alternative Fuels Data Center Fueling Station Locator can also assist in finding EV charging stations in the United States and Canada.

    Louisiana Clean Fuels and Electric Vehicles

    As a Clean Cities coalition, Louisiana Clean Fuels (LCF) works with businesses, municipalities, and individuals looking to make the transition to alternative fuels vehicles, including electric vehicles. We provide technical assistance on matters including which vehicles to purchase, feasibility analysis, charging infrastructure placement and installation, and available funding. Our history of successful partnerships in Louisiana includes support for public and private fleets as well as serving as subject matter experts (SME) for our stakeholders, state legislators and policymakers. 

    In summary, electric vehicles are a viable cleaner option that is not only gaining in popularity but is constantly improving. States, local municipalities, businesses, and utilities who educate themselves and actively prepare for this near seismic shift in our transportation systems will be better positioned to capitalize on the benefits of electric vehicles while avoiding the pitfalls that result from lack of preparation. 

    How to Learn More About Electric Vehicles and Infrastructure Needs

    This fall, LCF is hosting several webinars designed to inform elected officials, utilities, regulators and fleets – large and small – on the various EV related topics from “EV Market Watch” where we delve into market trends and show the variety of currently available EV work trucks, to advanced topics like our webinar on Multi-port, 1+MW Charging System for Medium- and Heavy-Duty EVs. Visit our website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay informed about alternative fuels projects and programs as well as ways to reduce your emissions through technology and proven fleet management practices.

    Resources:

    Emissions from Hybrid and Plug-In Electric Vehicles

    Emissions Associated with Electric Vehicle Charging: Impact of Electricity Generation Mix, Charging Infrastructure Availability, and Vehicle Type

    Louisiana State Profile and Energy Estimates

    EV Sales Trends: COVID-19 Implications

    Read the original article on Fuels Fix


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    NGVi Natural Gas Training Moves Online Due to COVID-19 Concerns

    Discount codes available for Louisiana Fleets

    The continued support of our Louisiana natural gas fleets is important to us at Louisiana Clean Fuels. As such, LCF is working with NGVi to offer Natural Gas Vehicle training within Louisiana to our stakeholder natural gas fleets. We value the safety and health of our stakeholders, so we have made the difficult decision to move our in-person training courses to online and virtual formats.

    Please note that the previously in-person courses offered on August 4-7 and September 29-30 are CANCELLED and will only be available in the online or virtual formats.

    These classes offer advanced training for skilled workers to help them qualify for high-paying jobs that are in high demand by dealers, OEMs and national fleets. Louisiana Clean Fuels and Cummins Westport understand how important these training classes are and are sponsoring the Level 2 and Level 3 classes respectively. These sponsorships are allowing us to provide a $100 discount to the first five individuals from Louisiana fleets to register for each of these virtual classes.

    These essential courses cover three levels of natural gas vehicle training: NGV Essentials and Safety Practices (Level 1), CNG Fuel System Inspector Training (Level 2), and Heavy-Duty NGV Maintenance and Diagnostics Training (Level 3), in addition to CNG Fuel System Inspector Certification.

    Discounts for Louisiana natural gas fleets are available! See SESSION COSTS below for details.

    Level One: NGV Essentials and Safety Practices

    Self-Paced Pre-Requisite Course

    This is a one-day training course that offers a clear understanding of natural gas, its properties and characteristics, the differences between that and diesel/gasoline, fuel system components, the safety considerations in the facility, etc. This course is offered as a prerequisite to the higher-level training courses, or as a stand-alone course through the e-learning program. Students will receive a login and password and will have 30 days to access and complete the training.

    WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

    • Technicians who will perform basic preventive maintenance on natural gas vehicles (oil changes, tire rotations, etc.)
    • Technicians who will perform mandated CNG fuel system inspections
    • Technicians who will perform NGV diagnostics and repair procedures
    • All employees involved in NGV fleet operations
    • Fleet or dealer service managers and supervisors
    • Corporate/agency safety managers
    • Risk management staff


    REGISTER FOR LEVEL 1 TRAINING

    Level Two: CNG Fuel System Inspector Training

    Date Options: Sep 16 - Sep 17 | Oct 7 - Oct 8 | Nov 18 - Nov 19

    This is a two-day training course that prepares technicians to adequately and safely conduct the fuel system inspections that are required every 3 years, 36,000 miles, at the time of any onboard fire or accident over 5mph. This course also helps prepare the technicians to sit for the certification exam to become certified fuel system inspectors.

    PREREQUISITES

    Level 1: NGV Essentials and Safety Practices

    WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO ATTEND?

    Experienced vehicle technicians employed by fleets or dealerships who are:

    • Responsible for performing CNG fuel system inspections; or
    • Preparing to take the CNG Fuel System Inspector Certification exam; or
    • Planning to renew their CNG Fuel System Inspector Certification; or
    • Seeking to refresh knowledge on CNG fuel system inspections.
    • Fleet managers and supervisors, safety managers and risk management staff are welcome to contact us to discuss available training options.


    LOUISIANA FLEET DISCOUNT

    LCF is sponsoring the Level 2 training classes for our stakeholder fleets! The first 5 Louisiana fleets to register for the Level 2 course qualify for an additional $100 discount, courtesy of LCF’s sponsorship. Please call LCF (225-342-7972) or email [email protected] for the limited discount code - please put "NGVi Training Discount" in the subject line of your email. All stakeholders may receive a 10% discount when using the discount code CC2020 to register. Multiple discount codes may be stacked.

    REGISTER FOR LEVEL 2 TRAINING

    CNG Fuel System Inspector Certification

    NGVi’s certification exam can be taken in conjunction with any CNG Fuel System Inspector training course. Each student will have up to 3 hours to complete the exam and will receive their results within two weeks via email. If the student successfully passed the exam, their certification packet will be mailed out right away.

    REGISTER FOR CERTIFICATION EXAM

    Level Three: Heavy-Duty NGV Maintenance and Diagnostics Training

    Oct 20 - Oct 21

    The number one challenge facing heavy-duty NGV technicians is how to distinguish between a fuel quality problem, a fuel system problem or an engine problem. This course is the only training available that treats these three elements as a system and helps technicians understand how they are interrelated. Emphasis is placed on the safety knowledge and repair practices that are unique for Cummins heavy-duty natural gas engines.

    The course covers the components of all CNG fuel systems (regardless of manufacturer), as well as all Cummins 6.7 Liter, 9 Liter and 12 Liter natural gas engines.

    The course includes operational theory with more than a dozen hands-on exercises. It is a perfect prerequisite to fuel system or engine manufacturer training. This course also helps prepare technicians for the ASE H1 exam.

    Prerequisites

    Level 1: NGV Essentials and Safety Practices

    Who Should Attend?

    • Technicians with at least basic skills in heavy-duty vehicle repair, who will be maintaining, diagnosing and repairing NGVs.
      Technicians familiar with the basic operation of vehicle diagnostic equipment.

    Louisiana Fleet Discount

    Cummins is sponsoring the Level 3 training classes for our stakeholder fleets! The first 5 Louisiana fleets to register for the Level 3 course with discount code CUMMINS100 qualify for an additional $100 discount, courtesy of Cummins’ sponsorship. All stakeholders may receive a 10% discount when using the discount code CC2020 to register. Multiple discount codes may be stacked.

    REGISTER FOR LEVEL 3 TRAINING

    Session Costs*

    • Level 1: NGV Essentials & Safety Practices: $495
    • Level 2: CNG Fuel System Inspector Training: $895
      • The first 5 Louisiana fleets to register for the Level 2 course qualify for an additional $100 discount, courtesy of LCF’s sponsorship. Please call LCF (225-342-7972) or email Victoria Herrmann at [email protected] for the limited discount code - please put "NGVi Training Discount" in the subject line.
    • Exam: CNG Fuel System Inspector Certification: $295
    • Level 3: Heavy-Duty NGV Maintenance and Diagnostics Training: $1,695
      • The first 5 Louisiana fleets to register for the Level 3 course with discount code CUMMINS100 qualify for an additional $100 discount, courtesy of Cummins Westport’s sponsorship.

    *All stakeholders may receive a 10% discount when using the discount code CC2020 to register. Multiple discount codes may be stacked.

    How to Register



    Virtual vs. E-Learning

    What is Virtual Training?

    Virtual training is instructor-led training in a virtual classroom. You will experience the same high-quality learning with expert instructors and updated content that NGVi has been delivering since 1989 -- from the comfort of your own space. 

    How Does It Work? 

    Technicians participate in real-time over the internet through our virtual classroom platform on designated class dates. Class times include multiple breaks and an allotted lunchtime. Prior to accessing the virtual classroom, technicians must complete the prerequisite NGV Essentials and Safety Practices, which is delivered on-demand through our e-learning platform.

    What is E-Learning?

    Our interactive e-learning courses are professionally developed and produced, and the content is identical to our live training. Once your enrollment is confirmed, the training is available on-demand 24/7 so you can learn at your own pace.

    How Does It Work?

    Technicians receive a login and password that allows them access to the learning management system for up to 30 days. They can work their way through individual modules at their convenience, and once the post-test has been passed, they will access their certificate of completion to print immediately.

    Learn more: What Is Virtual Training? from NGVi on Vimeo.


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    Waste to Fuel: On the Making of Renewable Natural Gas

    Natural gas remains one of the most-used alternative fuels in Louisiana. According to Louisiana Clean Fuels’ (LCF) 2018 Annual Report, in 2018 alone, natural gas (CNG) was responsible for offsetting over 5 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) in the state [1].

    Though the majority of natural gas used in Louisiana comes from fossil-sources, a small percentage is renewable natural gas (RNG), which is chemically identical to natural gas from fossil-sources but comes instead from renewable sources such as food waste, manure, and other decomposing organic materials.

    DID YOU KNOW?
    Methane is 20-30x worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Burning methane turns it into carbon dioxide, reducing its global warming potential. Landfills are the third-largest anthropogenic (human-caused) methane source in the U.S. Manure management is the fourth largest anthropogenic methane source. Much of the methane produced by these sources (wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and farms) is normally released into the atmosphere, but RNG projects instead collect and use this methane as natural gas, lowering the overall emissions of these industries. [2]


    St. Landry Parish Solid Waste creates and uses RNG in central Louisiana; they collect methane (CH4) from their landfill which is then cleaned and used as RNG to fuel their trash trucks. St. Landry’s RNG project, which began operation in 2012, was the first of its kind in the United States. Over the last two years, LCF has worked closely with St. Landry to create an operations manual for their RNG project. Once the manual is complete, we will begin work on an RNG curriculum to teach the process to other landfills and increase the amount of RNG used in Louisiana.

    RNG has grown in popularity across the United States in recent years, with the number of operational projects increasing from 60 projects at the end of 2017 to 89 projects at the end of March 2019 and the total production capacity of these projects increasing by approximately 25% over that same 15 month period. Additionally, a recent study by the Colorado Energy Office found that by utilizing RNG, Colorado can replace 24% of its annual diesel usage, eliminating 1.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year [3]. Interest in RNG has also dramatically increased, and there have been numerous articles written in the last year to explain the generalities of RNG production. Considering our working relationship with the St. Landry Parish project, LCF is uniquely situated to shed light on some of the deeper complexities of the subject, and our hope is to provide insight into how these types of projects actually operate. This article will hopefully serve as a midpoint between a 30,000 ft view and a deep technical dive.

    The Process

    RNG can be created from several different sources or feedstocks, but three of the most common are landfills, farms, and wastewater treatment plants. There are three basic steps to producing usable RNG: raw gas collection, conditioning/cleaning, and distribution. These steps are the same regardless of feedstock; in this article, we’ll be focusing on how this process works for landfills.

    Collection

    In a landfill, trash, which includes organic matter (food waste, paper waste, farming waste, etc.), is placed in a pit, called a cell, which is specially prepared to receive and contain trash with as little environmental impact as possible. The trash is dumped into the cell and covered with dirt, clay, and eventually an impermeable liner to prevent odors, liquids, and landfill gas (LFG) from escaping. This produces an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment within the landfill. Most modern landfills are classified as Sanitary Landfills, which are designed to reduce their environmental impact as much as possible. This includes trapping the LFG and burning it.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Anytime organic matter is present in an anaerobic environment, a huge host of microbes will eventually break the organics down into carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) in a process called anaerobic digestion. This is true of landfills, but this same process happens with other feedstocks as well, such as wastewater treatment plants and farms. The decomposing organic matter within the landfill produces a mixture of gases known as landfill gas or LFG; gas collected from other sources is referred to as “biogas”.

    Each landfill cell will hold a certain amount of trash before it’s completed and covered with an impermeable liner (basically a gigantic plastic sheet) that traps all the LFG. Wells are then drilled into the cell to collect that gas. These wells are large pipes with holes in them, allowing the LFG to pass through but not the solid trash. The pipes are all connected to each other in a huge network called a well-field and then connected to a vacuum pump that literally sucks the gas out of the landfill. Each well has its own wellhead, which is a valve that can control the amount of suction at that well without needing an individual vacuum pump for each well.


    If the LFG isn’t removed from the landfill, pressure will build, eventually releasing methane and other harmful gases into the atmosphere. If the pump pulls too hard on the wells, air can get into the landfill, introducing nitrogen and oxygen to the landfill. The presence of oxygen inhibits anaerobic digestion and can contribute to the formation of landfill fires. Landfill fires release harmful emissions and are very difficult to extinguish, sometimes burning for weeks or even years. Nitrogen intrusion can also be very problematic due to the difficulty of separating nitrogen from the LFG during the conditioning process. Pulling too hard on the wells introduces nitrogen and oxygen, and not pulling hard enough releases raw LFG into the atmosphere. This balancing act is one of the most important pieces of any landfill RNG project.


    LCF Co-Coordinator Tyler Herrmann (right) showing LCF's interns a well-head at the St. Landry Parish Solid Waste landfill.

    Traditionally, the LFG is simply dried and then sent to a flare to burn all the methane and other unwanted compounds, reducing their environmental impact. Burning methane converts it to carbon dioxide, which is less harmful as a greenhouse gas, and also helps to remove harmful gases such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), a class of chemicals which includes carcinogens such as benzene. In a landfill RNG project, the LFG is diverted from the flare and sent to a separate conditioning/cleaning facility to be made into usable natural gas. Under EPA regulations, landfills above a certain size are required to collect and flare the LFG they produce [4]. This is one of the big benefits of a landfill RNG project: the first step in the RNG process - collecting the gas - is something the landfills are already required to do.

    Conditioning/Cleaning

    The level to which the gas must be cleaned is heavily dependent on its end-use. If the gas will be put into a pipeline, it must be cleaned according to the specifications of that pipeline. If the intention is to use it for electricity production, there are separate requirements for that as well. To use RNG as a vehicle fuel in natural gas vehicles, the gas needs to meet Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standards.

    The makeup of raw LFG is generally about half methane and half carbon dioxide. The gas can also contain unwanted by-products that must be removed, including hydrogen sulfide, siloxanes, carbon monoxide, VOCs (which can include benzene, butane, ethane, or a massive variety of carbon-based compounds), along with many other unwanted chemicals. The specific mix of these chemicals is heavily dependent on the feedstock. For example, if someone throws old air-conditioning equipment into a landfill, the LFG may temporarily include freon (a type of VOC), which will also need to be removed. Weather also affects raw gas quality; both of these factors require the conditioning process to be robust enough to maintain the product gas specs year-round.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Pipeline quality natural gas is usually around 94% methane and 6% balance gas, a term used to refer to inert gases that are harmless to the system, namely nitrogen and carbon dioxide. If the gas being injected into the pipeline does not meet the required BTU (British Thermal Units) specs, gases such as propane, butane, and hydrogen may be added.

    Since raw gas is around 50% methane and pipelines require around 94% methane, the carbon dioxide and other impurities need to be removed. There are many terms used to describe or name this cleaning process, including upgrading, cleaning, or conditioning. [5]


    The first step in conditioning is to remove hydrogen sulfide (H2S). This is usually done by chemically filtering the gas through a special type of activated carbon or other filtration media that strips out the hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide needs to be filtered out for two major reasons:

    • Hydrogen sulfide can form sulfur oxides (SOx) when burned. SOx is a criteria pollutant under National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) [6]. SOx emissions have effects on lung health and can contribute to the formation of both harmful particulate matter in the atmosphere and acid rain.
    • To protect the CO2 membranes later in the process (explained below).

    The second step in conditioning is to remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). This is also often done through chemical filtration with a different type of activated carbon. VOCs are filtered out for two major reasons:

    • Many VOCs have negative health effects, and some are carcinogenic.
    • To protect the CO2 membranes and siloxane filters later in the process.

    VOCs can include butane, ethane, and propane, all of which are allowable and often desirable in pipeline natural gas, but they are removed along with other VOCs during conditioning to protect the siloxane media and carbon dioxide membranes.

    Often, the third step in RNG conditioning is to remove siloxanes. These are silicon compounds that generally come from cosmetics, which means they're present in landfills and wastewater treatment facilities, but not in farms Siloxanes can be filtered out by passing the LFG through a special type of silica pellet, by condensation, or by water/solvent absorption. In the case of silica pellets, the pellets will also absorb VOCs and hydrogen sulfide, so they can become saturated and lose effectiveness if these are not effectively filtered out first.

    Siloxanes are not toxic; they’re removed to protect other equipment down the line. When siloxanes are burned, they produce non-toxic silicon powder which can clog sensors in a natural gas engine and act as an abrasive. This is so dangerous that a single tank of bad natural gas in a CNG vehicle can cause catastrophic engine failure. Siloxanes can also damage electricity generators if they use microturbines or post-combustion catalysts. Since siloxanes don't damage other filtration and don't harm all use-cases, this step is sometimes skipped depending on the intended end-use of the gas [7].

    The fourth step is to remove carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide makes up between 40-60% of the raw gas, so it may need to be removed to raise the BTU content to meet the specific needs of the use-case. Some use-cases can handle 50% methane, and carbon dioxide filtration is skipped, but this isn't common. Carbon dioxide can be filtered out in two main ways:

    CO2 Filtration Membranes

    These membranes are essentially tiny plastic tubes with holes approximately the size of carbon dioxide molecules that act as a physical filter, separating methane from carbon dioxide. As the raw gas is pumped through the tubes at a fairly high pressure (>100 PSI), the carbon dioxide escapes through the holes in the tubes, and what’s left is a gas with a higher concentration of methane.

    One of the benefits of using a membrane is that it's a purely physical filtration method; a CO2 membrane will effectively last forever. A drawback is that the membranes are really sensitive to VOCs and hydrogen sulfide. Any breakthrough of VOCs or hydrogen sulfide will poison the CO2 membranes, rendering them useless. CO2 membranes are also very expensive, potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars, even for a small project. This is why so much care is given to separating VOCs earlier in the process.

    There are many types of CO2 membranes, some of which can be used to filter hydrogen sulfide as well as carbon dioxide. St. Landry Parish Solid Waste uses the type described above.

    Pressure-Swing Adsorption (PSA)

    For this method, there is a surface that selectively adsorbs carbon dioxide, but only at certain pressures. The gas is brought to that pressure, the carbon dioxide molecules attach to the surface, the remaining gas (which is higher purity than the raw gas) is stripped away, and then the pressure is changed so that the filtered carbon dioxide releases from the surface. PSA filtration is an active filtration process, requiring a more complex system than passive filtration by a membrane. Both systems have various advantages and disadvantages that may make one more attractive than another for a specific project.

    While it isn’t common, nitrogen may also need to be removed from the gas. Nitrogen is mostly inert, so it only needs to be removed in order to increase the product gas BTU content. Given that nitrogen is inert, it is fairly difficult to remove through chemical filtration, though it is possible. It is also difficult to remove nitrogen through physical filtration as is done for carbon dioxide because nitrogen molecules are close to the same physical size as methane molecules. An expensive, but effective filtration method is to liquefy the natural gas; since nitrogen’s boiling point is much lower than that of methane, nitrogen will remain as a gas that can be separated from the liquefied methane. This is more common in very high-volume projects, whereas smaller projects are more likely to use PSA filtration systems [8].

    Additionally, it is worth noting that a conditioning facility will have various heat exchangers, compressors, and gas dryers throughout these steps to prepare the gas for the next step of the process. Depending on the use-case, the conditioner may also add an odorant, ethyl mercaptan, to the product gas.

    Distribution

    Since the RNG is now chemically identical to fossil natural gas, this section will be brief. Here are the three main use-cases:

    For onsite vehicle-fueling, there will be a large, low-pressure (50-150 PSI, in the case of St. Landry’s RNG project) gas storage tank that the conditioners will fill as they clean the gas. This low-pressure storage will feed a series of high-pressure tanks (around 4500 PSI) that are compressed by dedicated, high-pressure compressors as-needed. These high-pressure tanks fuel the vehicles directly and are filled by the compressors as-needed.


    Ribbon-cutting for the opening of St. Landry Parish Solid Waste's BioCNG Fueling Station in 2012

    For pipeline injection, the gas is compressed to match the pressure of the pipeline, which usually ranges between 400-1200 PSIG (gauge-pressure). In this case, there may be a low-pressure storage tank to act as a buffer, and the compressors will connect directly to the pipeline [9].

    For on-site electricity generation, there is generally a storage tank to act as a buffer, a compressor to fill this storage tank, and a pipe connecting to the gas generators.

    The Future of RNG

    The use of RNG is increasing across the United States as more and more projects are developed. As of the writing of this article, there are 38 RNG projects currently under construction [10], with that number likely to grow. LCF looks forward to working with partners like St. Landry Parish Solid Waste and other Clean Cities coalitions as RNG use continues to grow across the country.

    More Information

    For more information and resources on RNG please visit:

    For a thorough technical description of Landfill Gas RNG Project Development, check out the EPA Landfill Gas Energy Project Development Handbook at https://www.epa.gov/lmop/landfill-gas-energy-project-development-handbook-files. For more information on St. Landry Parish Solid Waste's RNG project, check out the 2018 MotorWeek episode on the project at www.fuelsfix.com/2018/03/st-landry-parish-turns-garbage-into-renewable-natural-gas.

    Sources

    [1] LCF Publishes 2018 Annual Report Data: https://louisianacleanfuels.org/blog/id/381

    [2] EPA Overview of Greenhouse Gases: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases#methane

    [3] Colorado Energy Office Study Finds State Could Eliminate 1.4M Metric Tons of Emissions Annually by Utilizing Renewable Natural Gas: https://energyoffice.colorado.gov/press-release/colorado-energy-office-study-finds-state-could-eliminate-14m-metric-tons-emissions

    [4] EPA Basic Information About Landfill Gas: https://www.epa.gov/lmop/basic-information-about-landfill-gas

    [5], [9] Pipeline Gas Specifications: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/pipeline-gas-specifications

    [6] NAAQS Table: https://www.epa.gov/criteria-air-pollutants/naaqs-table

    [7] Performance and Economics of Currently Available Technologies for Removal of Siloxane from Biogas: https://www.scsengineers.com/scs-articles/performance-economics-currently-available-technologies-removal-siloxane-biogas/

    [8] Pros and cons of different Nitrogen Removal Unit (NRU) technology: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1875510012000170

    [10] Argonne National Laboratory's Renewable Natural Gas Database: https://www.anl.gov/es/reference/renewable-natural-gas-database

    About St. Landry Parish Solid Waste

    St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Disposal District provides residential and commercial solid waste collection and disposal, as well as operation of the St. Landry Parish Landfill and Recycling Centers. For more information, please visit slpsolidwaste.org.

    About Louisiana Clean Fuels

    Louisiana Clean Fuels is a US Department of Energy Clean Cities Coalition, supported by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and member organizations. We are a non-profit organization serving fleets for 20 years.

    The mission of Louisiana Clean Fuels, Inc. is to advance the nation’s environmental, economic, and energy security by supporting local actions to diversify transportation fuel options. Our goal is to show how advanced technologies and alternative fuels can help meet business and environmental goals. By providing objective data, technical resources, and the right connections, we help fleets find reliable alternative fuel vehicles that will stabilize or lower fuel costs.


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