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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.



    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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    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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    East Baton Rouge Parish School System Still Making Progress in Transitioning to Cleaner School Buses

    By Olivia Montgomery, LCF Intern | Originally posted to Fuels Fix | Original Article

    After the August 2016 floods wiped out about 110 school buses in East Baton Rouge Parish, the school system seized the opportunity to transition its fleet to cleaner fuel options, becoming the recipient of Louisiana Clean Fuels’s Rising Star Award in 2017. Thanks to the availability of Volkswagen Settlement funding, a number of other school systems in Louisiana are now making the transition too, including in the parishes of Ascension, Lafayette, Winn, Rapides, St. John the Baptist, Beauregard, Bossier, Plaquemines, St. Helena, Union, Vernon, and Tangipahoa. 

    Nearly four years later, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS) continues its efforts to reduce its fleet’s emissions. In 2016, the school system received nearly $773,000 in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding to purchase 30 buses. DERA grants fund 25% of the total cost of new buses. EBRPSS has since received two more DERA grants, in addition to receiving a portion of the civil settlement from automaker Volkswagen, who settled claims with US authorities after violating emissions laws by installing a “defeat device” in thousands of vehicles. Ultimately, these four grants total $4,485,894.50 and, in conjunction with EBRPSS funds, will purchase 130 propane school buses over time. 

    EBRPSS’s shift to propane school buses showcases an important trend across the country and offers benefits including reduced operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Propane buses are shown to reduce fuel costs significantly. Roush CleanTech, manufacturer of the propane autogas system installed in Blue Bird Vision school buses, estimates fleets can lower their fuel costs by 40% by switching to propane, in addition to lower costs of maintenance over time. Case studies support this estimate, with Mesa Unified School District in Phoenix, Arizona reporting having saved $2.91 per gallon on fuel compared to diesel. Mesa expects to save $4.43 million on fuel costs over five years, and they expect each bus will have a longer lifespan than conventional diesel buses, with about five additional years on the road for each bus. EBRPSS reports spending $1,970,173 on fuel from July 2015 to June 2016. If the school district saves 40% per year, as Roush CleanTech estimates is possible, the savings would total an annual $788,069.20 reduction in fuel costs.


    Reducing emissions in school bus fleets is another direct benefit to children in the school system. Children are more susceptible to harmful side effects of exhaust due to their developing respiratory systems and faster rates of breathing. With school buses able to seat about 70 children per bus, reducing diesel exhaust and improving air quality is a top priority of school systems making the switch to propane. EBRPSS alone serves 42,000 children. A comprehensive study by the Propane Education and Research Council shows propane school buses emit up to 96% less NOx and 13% less carbon dioxide than diesel buses. 

    The future looks bright in regard to EBRPSS’s ability to procure more propane buses. The school system plans to apply for additional DERA grants in the years to come, and many states are adopting more programs to aid school systems in their transition to cleaner school bus fleets. For example, West Virginia counties using compressed natural gas or propane autogas in their school bus fleets may be eligible for a 10% reimbursement to offset the maintenance and costs of those buses. In Nevada, penalties assessed for air pollution violations are deposited into the account of the school district where they occurred and may be used for the purchase of school buses that operate on alternative fuels. At this time, EBRPSS will incrementally acquire buses through the referenced grants, and hopefully, new funding sources become available to continue the school system’s transition to cleaner fuels after all 130 new propane buses have arrived.

    Read the original Fuels Fix Article


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    Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) National Grants Now Open: 2020 Request for Applications

    Deadline to Apply - February 26, 2020 (11:59 p.m. ET)

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is excited to announce the availability of approximately $44 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) grant funds to support projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation's existing fleet of older diesel engines. Under this competition, between 40 and 60 awards are anticipated to be made to eligible applicants.

    Application packages must be submitted electronically to EPA through Grants.gov (www.grants.gov) no later than Wednesday, February 26, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. (ET) to be considered for funding.

    Visit the DERA web page for more information

    Important Dates

    Activity Date
    Request for Applications (RFA) OPEN Monday, December 9, 2019
    Information Session Webinars
    Wednesday, December 11, 2019; 1:00 p.m. (ET)
     
    Wednesday, December 18, 2019; 3:00 p.m. (ET)
     
    Tuesday, January 14, 2020; 3:00 p.m. (ET)
     
    1+ (202) 991-0477, 4149804# (audio dial-in number)
    Questions and Answers Document
    Deadline for Submittal of Questions
    February 14, 2020 at 4 p.m. ET
    Deadline for Applications Wednesday, February 26, 2020, at 11:59  p.m. (ET)
    Notification of Selected Applicants May 2020
    Funding of Awards June-October, 2020


    Eligible Applicants

    The following U.S. entities are eligible to apply for DERA National Grants:

    • Regional, state, local or tribal agencies/consortia or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality
    • Nonprofit organizations or institutions that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets or have the promotion of transportation or air quality as their principal purpose.


    School districts, municipalities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), cities and counties are all eligible entities to the extent that they fall within the definition above.


    Eligible Uses of Funding

    Eligible diesel vehicles, engines and equipment include:

    • School buses
    • Class 5 – Class 8 heavy-duty highway vehicles
    • Locomotive engines
    • Marine engines
    • Nonroad engines, equipment or vehicles used in construction, handling of cargo (including at ports or airports), agriculture, mining or energy production (including stationary generators and pumps).


    Grant funds may be used for diesel emission reduction projects including:


    Funds awarded under this program cannot be used to fund emission reductions mandated by federal law. Equipment for testing emissions or fueling infrastructure is not eligible for funding.

    Please refer to the full RFA for specific information about this competition.

    Informational Webinars

    2020 DERA National Grants

    Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 12 to 1 p.m. CST
    Join at: https://meet.lync.com/usepa/swift.faye/TG550JGJ

    Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 2 to 3 p.m. CST
    Join at: https://meet.lync.com/usepa/swift.faye/GKLCM5S6

    Wednesday, January 14, 2019 at 2 to 3 p.m. CST
    Join at: https://meet.lync.com/usepa/swift.faye/Q4CD0Z03

    Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
    Participant Code: 4149804#

    Webinar Highlights

    • Program Details
    • Changes This Year
    • Eligible Entities, Projects, Vehicles, Engines & Equipment
    • Funding: Availability, Project Funding Percentage, Restrictions
    • Proposal Submission
    • Evaluation Criteria
    • Potential Pitfalls
    • Tools, Resources and Support
    • Question & Answer Period


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

    Visit the DERA web page for more information


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