Researchers Discover Cellulose Making Enzyme Structure

Researchers from Purdue University have discovered the structure of the enzyme that makes cellulose. They believe this finding could lead to easier ways of breaking down plant materials to make biofuels and other products and materials. In addition the researchers say the findings provide a more detailed glimpse of the complicated process by which cellulose is produced. Cellulose is the foundation of the plant cell wall and can be converted to bioproducts such as biofuels and biochemicals. The research findings were published in The Plant Cell.

“Despite the abundance of cellulose, the nitty-gritty of how it is made is still a mystery,” said Nicholas Carpita, professor of plant biology. “Now we’re getting down to the molecular structure of the individual enzyme proteins that synthesize cellulose.”

carpita-n14Carpita explains that cellulose is composed of several dozen strands of glucose sugars linked together in a cablelike structure and condensed into a crystal. The rigidity of cellulose allows plants to stand upright and lends wood its strength. “Pound for pound, cellulose is stronger than steel,” said Carpita.

A large protein complex synthesizes cellulose at the surface of the plant cell. The basic unit of this complex is an enzyme known as cellulose synthase. The protein complex contains up to 36 of these enzymes, each of which has a region known as the catalytic domain, the site where single sugars are added to an ever-lengthening strand of glucose that will be fixed in the plant cell wall as one of the strands in the cellulose “cable.”

Carpita and a team of researchers used X-ray scattering to show that cellulose synthase is an elongated molecule with two regions – the catalytic domain and a smaller region that couples with another cellulose synthase enzyme to form a dimer, two molecules that are stuck together. These dimers are the fundamental building blocks of the much larger protein complex that produces cellulose.

“Determining the shape of cellulose synthase and how it fits together into the protein complex represents a significant advance in understanding how these plant enzymes work,” Carpita said. Continue reading

Dark Horse Brewing Brews With Solar

Dark Horse Brewery solar projectPatriot Solar Group, Contractors Building Supply, The Green Brewery Project, and The Dark Horse Brewing Company have created the first solar power-driven brewery on the east coast. The 40 kilowatt, 140 panel system has helped generate solar energy and aid in the formation of the famous Dark Horse growler we all know and love.

The Green Breweries Project, whose research originated at the University of Michigan, is focused on offering creativity with energy systems to help craft breweries enhance their sustainability. Even with a considerably lower rate of emissions, Green Breweries are becoming increasingly predominant and are making the exchange to a further domestic market.

Dark Horse purchased 140 Michigan-assembled solar panels as well as mounting systems supplied by Patriot Solar Group. This off-grid system allows the brewery to manage their energy demands and monitor them closely with affluence as well as ease. According to Patriot Solar Group, the fixed standing metal roof mount systems are durable and can withstand brutal wind speeds but also offer minimal maintenance as well as low cost.

DOE Supports Taller Wind Turbine Tower Development

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $2 million to support the development of technologies to harness stronger winds available at higher heights. The goal is to increase the amount of wind energy produced. The projects will take place in Iowa and Massachusetts and are aimed at reducing the cost of wind energy as well as expand the areas where wind energy can be successfully harnessed.

ISU taller wind tower researchIn the northeastern, southeastern, and western United States, winds near the ground are often slower and more turbulent, reducing the amount of electricity installed turbines can generate. Taller wind turbines capture the stronger, more consistent winds available at elevated heights, increasing the number of potential locations where wind farms can supply cost-effective power to American businesses and homeowners. While wind turbines installed in 2013 had an average height of 260 feet, the projects announced today will support new design and manufacturing techniques to produce towers nearly 400 feet tall.

Keystone Towers of Boston, Massachusetts will utilize its grant dollars to implement an on-site spiral welding system that will enable turbine towers to be produced directly at or near the installation site, freeing projects of transportation constraints that often limit turbine height. Adapted from an in-field welding process used by the pipe manufacturing industry, Keystone’s spiral welding technique can be scaled up to produce large diameter steel towers that they report will be 40 percent lighter than standard turbine towers, which could lower the cost of energy by 10 percent.

The second grantee, Iowa State University, will develop a hexagonal-shaped tower that combines high-strength concrete with pre-stressed steel reinforcements to assemble individual tower modules and wall segments that can be easily transported and joined together on-site. Due to the modular design, thicker towers capable of supporting turbines at increased heights can be produced at a reduced cost.

Enviro Groups React to Prez Obama’s Climate Speech

“Yes this is hard, but there should be no question that the United States of America is stepping up to the plate. We recognize our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to combat it. We will do our part,” said U.S. President Barack Obama during the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit that is taking place this week in New York.

During his speech he pledged to put forth a proposal to continue combating climate change beyond 2020 as well as committed to addressing the serious and growing impacts of climate change that the poorest and most vulnerable around the world are already facing. In addition, he took responsibility for America’s role in climate change.

“As I sat in the audience today, I heard President Obama demonstrate the kind of climate leadership the world needs. He made it clear the U.S. is serious about fighting climate change through major cuts to our carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions,” said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRCD) after the speech. “He promised to help communities around the world become more resilient and speed their development of clean energy. And he challenged other nations to step up their climate actions by promising a commitment to our own. This was a message of hope — hope that together we can head off the worst damages from climate change and leave our children a healthier world.”

Jennifer Morgan, director, Climate and Energy Programs for the World Resources Institute welcomed the President Obama’s clear focus and personal commitment. “I am encouraged by President Obama’s promise to put forth an ambitious post-2020 climate commitment early next year. Strong signals that the United States is decarbonizing its economy will set the stage for a successful outcome at the climate negotiations next year. As growing evidence shows, investing in a low-carbon economy creates jobs, reduces air pollution and improves people’s lives. The United States now must build on the importance progress made in recent years.”

It has been five years since the last climate summit in Copenhagen and the next summit will take place next year in Paris. Obama noted that scientists have learned a great deal more about climate change in the past few years and that they will continue to learn more. He also stressed that climate change is happening and action will mean survival.

“As the President made clear, we don’t have the luxury to act as though climate change isn’t happening,” continued Morgan. “For the most vulnerable communities, taking action now is a matter of survival. The good news is that we have the technology and techniques in hand to both shift to the low carbon economy and build resilience to climate impacts. President Obama’s announcement today is a key step in putting those tools to use. Better and more information about climate impacts is one of our most powerful tools to combat climate change. The President has signaled his commitment to ensure everyone around the world has access to the data they need to anticipate and protect themselves from the consequences of global warming.”
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$8B Green Energy Plan Proposed for LA

Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy, Magnum Energy, Dresser-Rand and Duke-American Transmission have jointly proposed a $8 billion green energy plan that would bring large amounts of renewable power to the Los Angeles, California area by 2023. The companies will formerly submit their proposal to the Southern California Public Power Authority by early 2015.

If accepted, the project would require construction of one of America’s largest wind farms in Wyoming, one of the world’s biggest energy storage facilities in Utah, and a new 525-mile electric transmission line connecting the two sites. The proposed project would generate more than twice the amount of electricity produced by the giant 1930s-era hydroelectric dam in Nevada – 9.2 million megawatt-hours per year vs. 3.9 million megawatt-hours.

“This project would be the 21st century’s Hoover Dam – a landmark of the clean energy revolution,” said Jeff Meyer, managing partner of Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy.

A key component of the project is a massive underground energy storage facility that would yield 1,200 megawatts of electricity, equivalent to the output of a large nuclear power plant and enough to serve an estimated 1.2 million L.A.-area homes. According to the proposal, the underground energy storage facility would help solve one of renewable energy’s biggest challenges – its intermittency. Wind farms produce no electricity when there’s no wind; solar farms produce no electricity when there’s no sun.

Linking the wind farm to the energy storage facility would enable the wind farm to function largely like a traditional coal, nuclear or natural gas power plant – capable of reliably delivering large amounts of electricity whenever needed, based on customer demand.

The energy storage facility also would reduce the need for L.A.-area utilities to build expensive backup power plants and power lines to serve customers on days when there’s no wind, at night when there’s no sunlight, and during other periods when traditional wind and solar farms are unable to produce electricity.

According to the plan, Duke-American Transmission would build a $2.6-billion, 525-mile, high-voltage electric transmission line that would transport the Wyoming wind farm’s electricity to the Utah energy storage facility. From there, using an existing 490-mile transmission line – traversing Utah, Nevada and California- electricity would be transmitted from the Utah energy storage facility to the Los Angeles area.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFIowa biodiesel producers and soybean farmers will host Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and U.S. Senate hopeful Joni Ernst at an Renewable Energy Group (REG) biodiesel plants September 25, 2014. The Iowa Biodiesel Board and REG will give them and other invited guests a tour of the REG Newton facility, which employs 25 Iowans. Industry representatives have also planned a private meeting with Ernst. Grant Kimberley, IBB executive director, said discussions of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard are likely to dominate.
  • On September 19, 2014 Alstom’s next-generation Haliade 150-6MW offshore wind turbine, installed just off the Ostend coast at Belgium’s Belwind facility, produced its very first kWh. The assembly and the tests conducted have so far helped to optimise the turbine’s installation and commissioning procedures at sea. Tests will continue in order to confirm how the machine behaves within a maritime setting, and to fine-tune operation and maintenance procedures. The Haliade should obtain final certification in the last quarter of 2014.
  • HelioSage Energy has announced the sale of a 40 megawatt AC (MW) solar PV project to Duke Energy. The project, known as the Elm City Solar Facility, is presently under development in Elm City, North Carolina. When commissioned, it will be one of the largest solar PV facilities east of the Mississippi and will be owned and operated by Duke Energy.
  • Sol Luna Solar is the headline sponsor of the Albuquerque Solar Fiesta. The event, produced by the New Mexico Solar Energy Association, will be held on September 27, 2014 at the CNM Albuquerque Campus, Workforce Training Center. The event will run from 10am – 5pm. The event includes vendor exhibits focusing on practical uses of renewable energy, energy efficiency, active and passive solar home design, green building and other sustainable living practices.

EPA Inaction on RFS Increasing GHG Emissions

According to a new white paper, inaction by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on finalizing the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rules is increasing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) equal to 4.4 million additional cars on American roads. The paper, published by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) updated earlier estimates of GHG emissions due to the proposal to reduce biofuel use during 2014.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, said, “During the U.N. Climate Summit this week, the Obama administration is sure to promote the regulatory actions it has taken to reduce climate change emissions from stationary sources such as power plants. But regulatory inaction on the RFS has opened the door to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.”

BIO logo“Last November, EPA proposed a steep reduction in the use of biofuels in order to avoid hitting the so-called blend wall – a proposal the administration still has not finalized,” continued Erickson. “What the agency failed to consider is that demand for transportation fuel has been increasing – the United States is now using several billion gallons more gasoline and diesel than projected. The so-called blend wall is an invention of the oil industry and has simply been a red herring.”

In March 2014, Erickson and coauthors published the study, “Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Proposed Changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard Through 2022.” That study demonstrated that if EPA reduced biofuel use under the RFS, as the agency proposed in November 2013, the U.S. would experience an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and forego an achievable decrease in emissions.

In the updated white paper uses new data on transportation fuel demand for 2013 and 2014. The U.S. is now projected to use 2 billion gallons more gasoline and 0.5 billion gallons more diesel in 2014 than previously projected.

Erickson concluded, “The administration must finalize the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard using a methodology based on biofuel production and continue the program’s successful support for commercialization of advanced and cellulosic biofuels. The renewable fuel industry has already created hundreds of thousands of good jobs and boosted economic growth.”

Black Oak Wind Farm Looking for Investors

The first community owned wind farm in New York is looking for investors. Black Oak Wind Farm, LLC has opened a new equity investment round for New York residents and companies to join the existing investors in owning the wind farm. The project will consists of 7 turbines located on a ridge in Enfield, New York.

Black Oak Wind Farm LogoAn AA credit rating institution is purchasing all the power output from the project for ten years. The project was awarded a ten-year contract with NYSERDA for its Renewable Energy Credits and qualifies for the Federal Investment Tax Credit. Black Oak has protected itself against the financial risk caused by wind variability through the use of an innovative risk management product offered by Nephila Capital, in partnership with REsurety.

Project Manager Marguerite Wells is leading the project. Her vision for community ownership stems from the fact that most wind farms don’t allow local residents to invest in the projects they live among. “I asked myself a long time ago…if wind farms are profitable then why shouldn’t they be owned by regular local people instead? I quickly learned that wind farm financing is extremely complex, and although community ownership is a common model in Europe, there are few such projects here in the U.S.”

One similar project is South Dakota Wind Partners, a 7-turbine wind farm owned by 614 South Dakotans. Val-Add Service Corporation, the financial consultants who developed that project, are members of the Black Oak team, as is Juhl Energy, based in Pipestone, MN. The PPA was negotiated by Altenex; GE will be providing the turbines (1.7-100’s) and the O&M services. Tetra Tech Construction, based in Gloversville, NY will build the project; COD is expected Fall 2015.

The current round is open only to accredited investors in the State of New York, with another round opening this fall for non-accredited investors.

Orrie Swayze: EPA is Destroying Grain Prices

Orrie Swayze, from Wilmont, South Dakota is a long-time ethanol advocate and has been involved with the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) since its inception more than 20 years ago. He has been following the progress of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) writing of the final 2014 final rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard and as a retired farmer, he is not happy with their direction. While no one knows what the renewable volume obligations will be for obligated parties this year (yes, the EPA is way behind should be releases the proposed rule for 2015 in November) there is grave concern among the renewable fuels industry that volumes will be lower than mandated by the law and from years past.

orrieSwayze is speaking out. “The EPA deceitfully created E10 blend wall destroys free enterprise’s role deciding corn prices because it locks a potential new five billion bushel demand for corn out of the market,” he says. “Free enterprise cannot play a legitimate role in corn and auto fuels markets when EPA’s dishonest policies limit ethanol’s auto fuels market participation to ten percent. Countering free enterprise principles EPA picks gasoline as auto fuels market winner by deceitfully claiming high octane E30 is illegal to use in and damages standard auto engines.”

He notes that unlike gasoline, ethanol does not contain or emit harmful tailpipe emissions that are particularity harmful to children and the elderly. “Therefore it isn’t Clean Air Act defined tampering or illegal, as EPA alleges, to fuel standard autos with E30 because it decreases known human carcinogenic tailpipe/evaporative emissions 30 percent,” explains Swayze.

“Importantly, auto companies urgently request EPA to raise minimum gasoline octane levels,” he continues. “Autos endorse ethanol’s high octane E30 but ridicule low octane E15. E15 cannot provide E30’s air cooling turbocharging effect and 93 ‘safe’ octane that’s required for optimized, efficient high compression engines. Engines autos need to be competitive in international markets plus meet 2017 café standards.”

South Dakota farmers have a deep experience of producing corn and ethanol with the state producing nearly a billion bushels of corn plus a billion bushels of ethanol each year. “We all have hit EPA’s fraudulent blend wall evidenced by a dollar plus lower tumbling corn prices and necessarily all grain/ethanol prices,” says Swayze. “The economic impact of government’s war on E30 use in standard autos creating the e10 blend wall will obviously extort several billion dollars annually from SD’s economy alone.”

Swayze concluded, “Incredibly state government, corn and ethanol organizations assure the blend wall stands firm today: They irresponsibly agree with EPA’s big oil sponsored fabrications that built the blend wall: E30 is illegal to use in and damages standard auto engines.” He is asking corn growers associations and ag associations to stand firm on ethanol and be more proactive in fighting Big Oil who is perpetuating myths about ethanol.

Impact of Ethanol Mandates on Fuel Prices Nill

Professors Sebastien Pouliot and Bruce A. Babcock with Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) have released a new paper, “Impact of Ethanol Mandates on Fuel Prices When Ethanol and Gasoline are Imperfect Substitutes“. The authors note papers that consider the two transportation fuels “equal” have been of limited use in informing current policy debates because the short-to-medium-run reality is one of sets restrictions on how ethanol can be consumed in the U.S.

Mandate Impacts on GasThe authors’ objective of the paper was to improve understanding of how these restrictions change the findings of existing studies. The paper estimated the impacts of higher ethanol mandates using a open-economy, partial equilibrium model of gasoline, ethanol and blending whereby motorists buy one of two fuels: E10, which is a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline, or E85 which is a high ethanol blend. The model is calibrated to recent data to provide current estimates.

Mandate Impacts on EthanolThe authors find that the effects of increasing ethanol mandates that are physically feasible to meet on the price of E10 are close to zero. In other words, White House fears of higher RIN prices due to higher gas prices are unfounded. The report also shows the impact of the size of the corn harvest on E10 prices is much larger than the effects of mandates. However, increased mandates can have a large effect on the price of E85 if the mandates are increased to levels that approach consumption capacity. These findings show that concerns about the consumer price of fuel do not justify a reduction ethanol mandates under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The 2014 RFS rule is currently under review with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Drought, Fires Hurting Sugarcane Harvest in Brazil

A severe drought has hit São Paulo, Brazil and has severely affected the production of sugarcane in the state. Estimates of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) show the lose around 15 percent or almost 40 million tons of sugarcane. Another factor in crop loss has been accidental fires due to the dry conditions. This comes at a time when the country is looking to increase its national ethanol mandate to 27 percent ethanol fuel blend.

The low rainfall seen throughout this year has increased outbreaks of fires not only in the areas of cultivation of sugarcane but also in areas planted with other crops, pastures and vegetation cover. Sugarcane plantsInformation collected by the Environmental Police and other state government agencies show that by the beginning of September had already been recorded 2,981 fire outbreaks and forest fires in São Paulo – that number is 140 percent higher than the same period of 2013.

Fires are often erroneously attributed to sugarcane producers due to the process of burning straw. However, UNICA points out that since 2007 the sector has been given the Green Protocol, established voluntarily by the state government of São Paulo to end burning.

“The productive sector has made a huge effort to accelerate the end of the use of fire and significantly exceeded expected to reduce the use of controlled burning in detrash of cane sugar schedule,” said Elizabeth Farina, UNICA president.

The drought has caused people to raise concern over raising the country’s ethanol mandate but no decision has yet been made to increase, decrease or keep the mandate in tact as is.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFCanadian Solar Inc. has completed the 1.2 MW (DC) solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant at Shibushichocho, Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan. Powered by Canadian Solar CS6P-255P modules, the plant will generate approximately 1,533 MWh of clean, emission-less solar electricity per year. The electricity generated from the project will be purchased by Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc. under a 20 year feed-in-tariff contract at the rate of 40.00 yen ($0.37) per kWh.
  • EnerDynamic Hybrid Technologies Corp. has launched its EnerSmart battery product line. The EnerSmart battery system is designed for residential and commercial use and is one of the industry’s leading smart lithium battery energy storage and management systems. The EnerSmart Battery comes equipped with multiple hybrid inputs for Solar and/or Wind energy as well as outputs for both on-grid and off-grid applications. The EnerSmart Battery starts at 12 Kilowatts in size and is scalable up to a full 2 Megawatts.
  • Twenty-five ministers from 23 countries will be gathering at the World Energy Council’s (WEC) World Energy Leaders’ Summit in Cartagena, Colombia on October 23, 2014 to hold talks over the future of energy in the Latin America and Caribbean region. The Summit is co-hosted and by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia. The ministers will be meeting at a private Ministerial Roundtable within the WEC’s World Energy Leaders’ Summit to address the triple challenge of the energy trilemma. At the wider Summit they will be joined by over 100 chief executives and head of organisations from the region and beyond for closed-door discussions over the region’s energy future.
  • Ecotech Institute has named Auston Van Slyke as the school’s new director of the Wind Energy Technology program. In this position, Van Slyke will continue to advance the courses for wind energy students through customized, hands-on lab experiences and curriculum. Prior to joining Ecotech Institute, Van Slyke served as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, where he specialized in communication and weapon systems upgrades to AV-8B Harrier jets. He was later employed by Vestas and traveled the U.S. and Canada working on the world’s largest turbines.

West African Solar Project Gets Funding

A large photovoltaic solar farm to be located at Zagtouli on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso in sub-Saharan Africa is moving ahead. The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide EUR 23 million to support the project. When completed the 30 MW solar plant is expected to act as a reference for future solar investment across the continent.

Once operational the new solar plant will significantly increase power generation in Burkina Faso, reduce dependence on energy imports from Ivory Coast and Ghana and help prevent power cuts. It is estimated that less than a quarter of the country’s inhabitants have access to electricity. In recent years power demand in the country has increased annually by 10 percent; however, power cuts and limited electricity access have seriously hindered economic growth.

Burkina Faso Flag“The European Investment Bank is a strong partner for Burkina Faso and this close cooperation over many years has enabled significant investment in new water and energy infrastructure that has created jobs across the country. The new support agreed today for investment by SONABEL in renewable energy is an importance milestone in the long-standing cooperation between Burkina Faso and Europe,” said Lucien Bembamba, Minister of Economy and Finance for the Republic of Burkina Faso.

Agreement for financing the solar project follows detailed feasibility studies to evaluate local energy needs and strengthen project implementation supported by the European Union. The European Union Delegation in Ouagadougou has supported the project since the start and worked closely with promoter SONABEL. Alongside the EIB, financing will also be provided by the French Development Agency and European Union and over a hundred jobs will be created during construction of the solar plant.

“Electricity in essential for economic activity and the European Investment Bank is committed to supporting energy investment that will improve lives across Africa,” added Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank vice president. “The significant support for the new solar farm builds on our strong partnership over many years with Sonabel. Burkina Faso can be proud to host the new facility that will act as a benchmark for renewable energy in West Africa.”

Bridge to Clean Energy Future Act Unveiled

Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02), along with 16 other members of Congress, have introduced HR 5559, the Bridge to a Clean Energy Future Act of 2014. If passed, the bill would extend incentives to provide market certainty and to strengthen investment in clean energy such as extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy through 2016, offering parity with the Investment Tax Credit enjoyed by solar energy investments, and granting the solar industry the same access to credits at the start of a project’s construction that the wind industry has.

Iowa Wind Farm Photo Credit Joanna Schroeder“I’m eager to push this across the finish line this Congress,” said Blumenauer. “My state of Oregon is a leader in renewable energy technologies, and Dave’s state of Iowa is the second largest wind energy producer in the nation, so we understand the importance of stability and security in the clean energy sector. His help will be important in advancing this legislation. Making sure these energy sources are on an even playing field with the fossil fuel industry is essential to lowering carbon emissions, creating a cleaner environment, and creating good, non-exportable American jobs.”

According to the representatives, creating a tax landscape for renewables that allows them to compete fairly in the market with other energy sources benefits the country by creating a healthier environment and thousands of jobs. It also puts renewable energy on an equal footing with traditional fossil fuels, giving consumers choice about how they want to power their homes and their lives.

“The Production Tax Credit has helped the still-growing U.S. wind energy industry employ 80,000 Americans, including thousands of Iowans,” added Loebsack. “Like all businesses, the wind energy sector needs stability and predictability so long term investments and business decisions can be made. The continued expiration of the PTC causes slow-downs at manufacturing facilities and could lead to additional lay-offs. For our nation to move towards energy independence and continued job growth, we need to prioritize clean energy like wind and act immediately to pass this extension of the PTC.”

Southland Transportation Buses Go Propane

Southland Transportation recently added 101 Blue Bird Propane Vision buses to its propane autogas school bus fleet. The company is a subsidiary of the largest family-owned pupil transportation provider in Canada with operations in school, motor coach and public transportation. The new Propane Vision buses will transport students from the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and Medicine Hat School District No. 76.

Southland Transportation first started operating Blue Bird Propane Vision buses in 2007 with good results. The company’s corporate commitment to the environment can be seen throughout all facets of the organization gI_65907_Southland Keysfrom anti-idling programs to recycling programs. Southland Transportation’s environmental policies also play a factor with onsite fuel options. With non-toxic properties and an uncomplicated set-up, propane autogas is the only fueling infrastructure that Southland Transportation permits on its properties.

“Our Propane Visions have been a proven performer. Due to the clean-operation and straightforward technology, I would estimate that each propane bus annually saves us about $500 in basic maintenance costs,” said Tom Jezersek, vice president at Southland Transportation. “As a former licensed mechanic, I am well-versed to the advantages of propane autogas. These buses are safe, reliable and immediately start in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius, without the use of oil pan heaters or block heaters. Our drivers also enjoy the buses as they are quiet, powerful and come to temperature very quickly. Propane autogas is an excellent choice for districts.”

The Calgary Board of Education, located in Calgary, Alberta, transports over 3,400 students to 65 area schools utilizing Blue Bird Propane Vision school buses. Already operating 32 Propane Vision buses Southland Transportation recently added an additional 59 propane-powered school buses to the district’s fleet bringing the total Propane Vision fleet to 91.