Alternative fuel vehicle technology leader ROUSH CleanTech is getting out the message about the beauty and performance of propane with some recent big victories and upcoming milestones on the NASCAR racetrack. Roush Fenway Racing’s (RFR) Trevor Bayne won a dramatic victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) at Iowa Speedway; earning Ford’s 200th win in the NNS. And now the No. 6, ROUSH CleanTech-bedecked Ford Mustang is shooting for Ford’s 1,000th NASCAR win at the Michigan International Speedway this week.
“I haven’t run a Nationwide car at Michigan since they repaved it, but the Sprint Cup cars are unbelievably fast,” said Bayne.
“We are thrilled to have ROUSH CleanTech’s message of clean and economical propane autogas hit the track with Trevor as he hopefully continues his winning streak,” said Joe Thompson, president of ROUSH CleanTech. “Across the nation, a growing number of fleets operate on this readily available and domestically produced alternative transportation fuel.”
ROUSH CleanTech officials point out that propane autogas is the most commonly used alternative fuel in the nation, operates school buses, trucks, vans and taxis.
Good luck on Saturday in Michigan!
The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is encouraging producers to upgrade their grain dryers with a $5,000 incentive through the Propane Farm Incentive Program. Producers who purchase a new qualifying propane-fueled dryer from GSI Group or Mathews Co. now through the end of 2013 can apply for the incentive through PERC’s nationwide research program. In exchange, producers report post-harvest performance data to PERC.
For many farmers this spring, planting has been a challenge with cool, wet and rainy conditions. This has led to planting delays that may lead to more grain drying in the fall, and today, nearly nine of of 10 farmers dry grain using propane-fueled equipment. New models can offer energy efficient designs that produce even, consistent drying and can save producers money.
New and improved grain drying equipment is a profitable investment for producers, according to Mark Leitman, director of marketing and business development at PERC. “Mew propane-fueled grain dryers can be 30 to 50 percent more efficient than older models. These machines can produce huge energy savings for farmers, and we offer a $5,000 incentive on select, new models.”
The eligible models for the incentive include the GSI X-Stream series and Mathews Trilogy series dryers. PERC co-supported the development and testing of these machines because they’ve been proven to offer increased capacity, improved grain quality, and they can dry up to twice as many bushels per gallon of propane as previous models.
The City of Temple, Texas has transitioned 11 fleet vehicles to run on propane autogas in partnership with CleanFuel USA. The City estimates that each propane autogas vehicle annually will emit 1,295 pounds less of carbon dioxide emissions and displace 1,600 gallons of conventional fuels while saving between $2,500 and $3,000 in fuel costs. Last year the City converted five fleet vehicles to run on propane and installed an onsite fueling station.
“Propane autogas fits our Sustainability Management Plan perfectly since the fuel offers substantial savings and allows us to operate a cleaner fleet with a domestically produced alternative,” said Ashley Williams, sustainability and grant manager for the City of Temple. “CleanFUEL USA has been an essential propane autogas partner—from implementing our station to converting our vehicles.”
The transition to propane autogas is part of the City’s Sustainability Management Plan, which details a process of converting the majority of its fleet to an appropriate alternative fuel. The plan commits the City to a clean, safe and healthy environment by exercising sustainable practices that focus on environmental and economical stewardship. The City’s fleet department is committed to this plan by working to achieve the following plan-related goals: reduce energy costs and consumption, prevent pollution, increase energy efficiency, and decrease reliance on non-renewable resources.
The project was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Energy Department’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Texas State Technical College serves as the lead grantee of the funds, which support the development of a national propane autogas refueling network, incentives to convert school buses and other fleet vehicles to alternative fuels, and training for green jobs. This initiative will help displace millions of gallons of petroleum annually.
“Our neighbors at the City of Temple are leaders in the movement toward reducing our nation’s foreign fuel consumption with the use of propane autogas,” said Curtis Donaldson, founder and CEO of CleanFUEL USA. “We are proud to provide them—and fleets of any size or specification—with the platforms to help achieve their economical and sustainable goals through our propane autogas offerings.”
Several projects ranging from biodiesel to electric vehicles to propane will be the benefactors of $5.5 million in California Energy Commission awards from the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program:
“These investments are moving the state forward toward a clean transportation sector,” said Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. “Today’s awards will help to expand renewable biofuels, further the development of zero emission vehicles, and provide incentives to make alternative fuel vehicles more affordable. These projects protect the environment and public health, while keeping California in the lead in developing green transportation technologies.”
Buster Biofuels, LLC, based in the San Diego area, will receive $2,641,723 to convert a 7,300 square foot industrial warehouse building into a biodiesel manufacturing and fueling facility. The facility will create biodiesel from renewable waste-based materials such as used cooking oil from restaurants. The chemical process used separates the glycerin from fats or oils, leaving biodiesel and glycerin.
Motiv Power Systems, Inc., based in Foster City (San Mateo County), will receive $2,379,050 to establish a pilot production line capable of assembling 20 Motiv Electric Power Control Systems a month. Each system is comprised of electronic components that can be used with a variety of batteries and motors and installed on conventional medium- and heavy-duty chassis, modifying them into all-electric battery operated vehicles that have no tailpipe emissions.
The rest of the nearly $500,000 in awards will go toward purchasing propane vehicles.
The Propane Council of Texas (ProCOT) has launched a new campaign, Propane Autogas: Fueling Texas, to educate Texans about the benefits of running fleet vehicles and equipment on clean-burning propane autogas. The campaign officially kicked off last week during Texas Propane day, a ride and drive event at the Texas Capitol. The campaign will feature a series of statewide autogas presentations and road shows to provide fleet operators, drivers and community members a hands-on experience with clean autogas technology.
According to ProCOT, Texas is one of the leading states in converting fleet vehicles to run on propane autogas. The Texas Department of Transportation operates the state’s largest autogas fleet and the Dallas, Houston and Austin Independent School Districts also use propane. The fuel is widely available in Texas with more than 700 fueling stations throughout the state.
“Vehicle fleets that use autogas save an average of 30-50 percent on fuel costs compared to fleets that use gasoline or diesel,” said Jackie Mason, education and marketing director for ProCOT. “Plus, 98 percent of the U.S. propane autogas supply is made in America, and Texas is home to the world’s largest propane storage capacity. Choosing autogas contributes to a greener, stronger economy on both a national and state level.”
A new website was launched as part of the campaign, FuelingTexas.com, and will be regularly updated with news, educational resources and more. Fleet owners will find an array of information on the benefits of propane autogas, as well as available incentives, tax credits, upcoming events and details about autogas for both on-road vehicles and off-road options.
During the NTEA Work Truck Show this week, ROUSH CleanTech and Green Alternative Systems (GAS) debuted the new Ford F-550 chassis cab powered by propane autogas. The F-550 features 65 usable gallons, making it, according to ROUSH, the longest driving range of any dedicated alternative fuel counterpart on the market. The fuel tank sits between the frame rails and behind the aft axle. Customizable to carry up to 33 passengers as a shuttle, the Ford F-550 suits the delivery, construction, transit and utility markets. Equipped with a 6.8-liter, V10 engine, the propane autogas alternative fuel system is available beginning with 2013 model year vehicles or newer.
GAS, a certified Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) installer, integrated the ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system technology into the F-550 chassis cab. The vehicles maintain the factory Ford warranty and the same horsepower, torque and towing capacity as their gasoline counterparts.
“Partnering with Ford QVM installers allows us the flexibility to launch products faster and package our fuel system to fit customer needs,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech. “With gas and diesel prices soaring, companies looking for an alternative fuel that doesn’t compromise functionality will see significant savings to their bottom line using this cleaner-burning, American fuel.”
According to Mouw, fleet professionals running propane autogas vehicles can expect to save at least 40 percent on the price of fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 percent compared to gasoline. There is also a nationwide, large propane autogas refueling network.
“This is a monumental new product release for the fleet industry,” added Sean Connolly, general manager of GAS. “With an industry-leading fuel capacity, this dedicated propane autogas vehicle fills the gap for a reliable alternative fuel option for this commonly used application.”
ROUSH CleanTech is now offering three new propane autogas fuel systems for Ford F-59, F-53 and E-450 stripped chassis. The company is the first Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) to offer fuel systems for these platforms.
According to ROUSH, the Ford F-59 commercial step van chassis and the Ford E-450 stripped chassis adapt to numerous fleet delivery applications, such as bakery, textile, multi-stop package delivery service, linen and medical services. The company says the Ford F-53 platform offers a flexible commercial platform for trolleys, lunch trucks and more. The size and cargo capabilities of all three platforms are customizable for specific business vehicle applications.
“With excellent vehicle range and affordable price points, these platforms are a home run for hub and spoke model fleets,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech. “These commercial stripped chassis platforms operating on propane autogas can help companies save $35,000 or more in fuel and operating expenses over the vehicle’s lifetime. And whether fleets use public fueling stations or install onsite private refueling, they’ll find refueling is inexpensive and easy.”
Built on a 2013 model year or newer chassis with a 6.8-liter, V10 engine, the ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas powered Ford F-53 and F-59 feature a 67-usable gallon propane autogas fuel tank. The ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas powered Ford E-450 stripped chassis comes equipped with a 41-usable gallon propane autogas fuel tank.
The North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to expand the use of alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technologies with a $500,000 award for the Alternative Fuel Implementation Team (AFIT) for North Carolina Project. The AFIT project is a two-year collaboration of U.S. DOE designated Clean Cities coalitions in the Triangle, Charlotte and Asheville regions, Clean Cities coalitions in five nearby states, Advanced Energy and industry leaders such as the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, Duke Energy, Holmes Oil Co, the NC Propane Gas Association, Public Service North Carolina, and Piedmont Natural Gas.
The AFIT project is focused on reducing barriers to more widespread deployment of biofuels such as biodiesel and E85, electric vehicles, natural gas and propane in public and private sector fleets. Fuel specific charettes will result in actions to accelerate the use of alternative transportation technology solutions to enhance North Carolina’s economy and environment. In year two, a Petroleum Displacement Plan (PDP) toolkit will be developed to assist fleet managers and vehicle owners in making decisions on which alternatives will best support their mission and goals. The PDP toolkit will include cost/benefit criteria and best application options and scenarios for specific alternative fuels based on national and North Carolina specific parameters.
As part of the AFIT project, a two-day North Carolina symposium, “Southeast Regional Alternative Fuels Conference,” will be held that includes sharing success stories and recognition awards.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to bring together all the key parties in the southeast to leverage our unique talents and common interests in providing transportation technology and policy solutions to energy and air quality concerns,” said Anne Tazewell, Transportation Program Manager at the N.C. Solar Center and the AFIT project lead. “We look forward to the results of a cleaner environment and more business opportunities for alternative fuels.”
Students in O’Fallon and St. Peters, Missouri are riding to school in Blue Bird propane-powered vision school buses. The Fort Zumwalt School District piloted eight propane-powered school buses and found that they cut costs and reduced emissions. Since last June, the buses have produced 60 percent less carbon monoxide, 12 percent less carbon dioxide, 20 percent less nitrogen oxide and up to 25 percent less greenhouse gases when compared to gasoline. In addition, for the current fiscal year, the district is averaging $2.15 per gallon less than diesel fuel.
“The district is saving around 18.9 cents per mile due to lower fuel costs and anticipates these 8 Propane-Powered buses will save approximately $18,000 this school year,” said Jeff Orr, chief financial officer for Fort Zumwalt School District. “I have been told Fort Zumwalt is the first school district in the state of Missouri to add Blue Bird’s innovative Ford and ROUSH CleanTech powered propane buses to its fleet, and we are pleased to be the leader.”
Earlier this week, the school district won the Community Leadership in Environmental Awareness Now (CLEAN) award, presented by the Missouri Propane Education & Research Council. The award recognizes organizations that replace conventional fuel consumption for cleaner burning, domestically produced propane.
“We are delighted that Fort Zumwalt School District is seeing the immediate savings and environmental benefits associated with our propane technology,” added Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. “These buses will ensure that students in O’Fallon and St. Peters benefit from cleaner air while taxpayers can relish in the fuel and maintenance savings associated with propane autogas. With our partners at Central States Bus Sales and ROUSH CleanTech, Blue Bird will continue to provide comprehensive training and support to the transportation team at Fort Zumwalt.”
Icom North America, a developer, integrator and manufacturer of liquid-injection propane systems for commercial and consumer vehicles, has announced an installation program for 140 propane autogas Ford F150 pickup trucks for use by Menards home improvement stores. The vehicles will serve 36 Menards locations throughout Illinois along with the store in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Icom-trained Installer Metro Motors of Cicero, Ill., is performing the installations.
The company recently received 15 new certifications from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) covering nearly 100 different 2012-1013 model year GM and Ford vehicle platforms for its patented JTG II Propane Liquid Injection bi-fuel and dedicated systems. The company plans to launch a Propane Optimization Process (POP) that maximizes propane use by preventing driver override.
“The Icom-Menards project clearly identifies what strides can be made when a large national fleet works in close cooperation with companies like Icom North America, CleanFUEL USA and Ferrellgas,” said Albert Venezio, chairman of Icom North America.
According to Icom, the project will provide Menards significant cost savings. After the vehicles are converted, Menards will consider expanding the program to other Midwest-based stores.
Jeff Abbott, spokesperson for Menards added, “We’re glad to be advancing our company forward into this growing market since propane is a cleaner burning fuel and less expensive, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture honored Thorntons Inc. as the recipient of the Paul Dana Excellence in Bioenergy Leadership Award. The honor was given during the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition Holiday Reception by Indiana’s Ag Director Joseph Kelsay.
The Paul Dana Award was established by Governor Mitch Daniels and Lt. Governor Becky Skillman in 2006 after Indy Racing League driver Paul Dana was killed in racing accident. A strong supporter of biofuels, the award recognizes those who have shown exemplified leadership and innovative vision in the bioenergy industry.
“I congratulate the Thornton family for its entrepreneurial spirit, growing the fueling business from a single station in New Albany, Ind. in 1952 to be among Forbes Magazine’s 500 largest privately held companies today,” said Lt. Governor Skillman, who serves as Secretary of Agriculture. “We thank you for your support of Indiana and including mid-level ethanol blends and E85 at your stations.”
Thorntons began retailing gasoline in 1952 with a single location in New Albany, Indiana, but the first “Thorntons” opened in Clarksville, Indiana in 1971.
The 2012 Greater Indiana Clean Cities Award Recipients:
- Ethanol Blends Award – Thorntons Inc.
- Propane/Autogas Award – Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)
- Compressed Natural Gas Award – Palmer Trucks
- Support of Multiple Alternative Fuels and Technologies (Silver BB’s Award) – Ivy Tech Lafayette Automotive Department, Alternative Fuels Technical Training
- BioDiesel Blends – North Central Co-op
Wilsons Fuel Company, based in Canada, has become a partner with Alliance AutoGas. The partnership will bring propane fueling to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador. The two companies will also provide fleet vehicle conversions to propane autogas.
“We joined Alliance AutoGas because it is the world’s most reliable program to help fleets switch to autogas,” said Gary Highfield, general manager at Wilsons. “Autogas is the most viable fuel on the market for fleets because it’s clean, it costs less than gasoline and installing autogas fueling stations is not expensive. As an Alliance partner, we’re now able to help fleets throughout Atlantic Canada start saving on fuel costs right away by running vehicles on autogas.”
With the joining of Wilsons Fuel to the network, the Alliance now offers services in 40 states and two countries. The program provides fleets vehicle conversions, fueling, on-site fuel station installation data integration training and ongoing technical support.
Stuart Weidie, president of Alliance AutoGas and founder of Autogas for America added, “The addition of Canadian partners like Wilsons plays a key role in the continuing international expansion of the Alliance AutoGas network. It only makes sense that such a well-established company, which generations of customers have come to know and trust, now provides local fleets with the most affordable, dependable transportation fuel on the market.”
Student Transportation has been awarded a contract with Omaha and Milliard Public Schools in Nebraska to transport students with propane autogas school buses. The company will provide nearly 300 buses with more than 400 to be fueled with propane. The contract will begin in August 2013.
To best serve the schools, Student Transportation will open at least three facilities in the Omaha metro area. Blue Bird Corporation will manufacture the propane autogas buses equipped with ROUSH CleanTech liquid propane autogas fuel system technology. The remaining buses in the fleet will be provided by IC Bus, a division of Navistar.
STI Chairman and CEO Denis J. Gallagher said, ”Domestically-produced, clean-burning propane autogas is a perfect fit for school fleets with up to 30 percent less greenhouse emissions. By running propane-powered buses, Omaha Public Schools can reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 2,310,469 lbs. per year, significantly lowering the school district’s carbon footprint, which was its goal for the coming year.”
According to Student Transportation, propane sales currently contribute more than $122 million to Nebraska’s economy.
“This large deployment is the catalyst that alternate fuels needed to become a viable and reliable fuel source for school transportation,” said Gallagher. “We have been leaders in this area and have been pushing and working with our manufacturers to have a final product that can lower greenhouse emissions and lower costs at the same time. We wanted a large project to roll out our initiative in this area so school districts around the country can see there is a better way to transport children to school with a lower cost of operation. “
Blue Star Gas customers have seen “Old No. 44″ delivering propane fuel for 40 years. The classic bobtail truck was also fueled by propane autogas. The truck was originally purchased in 1966 by Bill Stewart, father of Jeff Stewart, who is now the company’s president. Old No. 44 traveled more than a million miles in Northern California and Oregon before retiring in 2006.
In 2007, the bobtail was refurbished in 2007 by Jarco, who first designed the built the International Loadstar 1600 to run on a propane auto-gas. Now it is back on the road with a look and is being exhibited nationwide at trade shows to demonstrate the evolution of propane autogas technology.
“Old No. 44 has served us well, even in retirement,” said Jeff Stewart, a third-generation owner of Blue Star Gas. “The truck’s longevity and performance has been remarkable. It made deliveries for decades over rough terrain, providing the communities we serve with clean, efficient propane. Now an award-winning show truck we use in parades and display at car shows, this old beauty is still an important part of the Blue Star Gas legacy.”
Robert Hobson, a Blue Star Gas service technician based in Salem, and his son Kenny, have taken Old. No. 44 to shows across the country. “It’s interesting to see the 40-year evolution in technology when we display the classic bobtail truck side-by-side with an updated one,” said Hobson. “There have certainly been advances in convenience and safety, but not many vehicles today can match the durability and craftsmanship of this workhorse propane truck.”
According to Virginia Clean Cities, vehicle fleets across 12 U.S. states participating in the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program saved an average of $1.62 per gallon last quarter fueling with propane autogas versus gasoline. Total cost savings for the quarter neared $100,000 while to date, the propane fleets have offset more than 1 million gallons of gasoline.
“We’re nearing the end of the third year of the Southeast Propane Autogas Development Program, and we’ve seen tremendous results in terms of reducing harmful pollutants and emissions, as well as helping regional fleets lower their fuel costs by running on propane autogas,” said Alleyn Harned, executive director of Virginia Clean Cities, which administers the Program.” Autogas is a domestically produced, cleaner-burning fuel that’s very cost effective for fleets, so it has a significant role to play in diversifying our nation’s transportation fuel.”
According to a news statement about the propane autogas program, propane is a viable alternative fuel for fleets for several reasons: costs less per gallon than gasoline; affordable to convert vehicle to propane autogas technology; affordable to install fueling stations (Alliance Autogas is providing fuel supply, infrastructure and conversions); propane emits less tailpipe emissions than gas; and propane vehicles require less maintenance.
For example with 24 autogas fleet vehicles, Spotsylvania County in Virginia will save approximately $70,000 in fuel costs each year. Community Counseling Services in Mississippi converted 29 fleet vehicles to autogas and will save an estimated $60,000 in fuel costs annually.