Education/Resources

 

Which Technologies Are Included?

Clean Cities deploys technologies and practices developed by VTP. These include idle-reduction equipment, electric-drive vehicles, fuel economy measures, and renewable and alternative fuels, such as natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (propane), electricity, hydrogen, biofuels, and biogas. Idle-reduction equipment is targeted primarily to buses and heavy-duty trucks, which use more than 2 billion gallons of fuel every year in the United States while idling. Clean Cities’ fuel economy measures include public education on vehicle choice and fuel-efficient driving practices.

Five Main Technology Areas We Focus On:

Alternative Fuels & Vehicles: According to the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992, natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, electricity, propane, and methanol are the clean, domestically-found alternative fuels. By converting to alternative fuels, we are contributing to oil independence, cleaner air quality, and combating climate change.

Fuel Blends: Blending alternative fuels with conventional fuels allows unmodified vehicles to reduce petroleum consumption and emissions.

Fuel Economy: Fuel economy refers to the amount of fuel needed to move a vehicle a given distance. Better fuel economy can save money, reduce emissions that advance global warming, reduce oil dependance, and increase energy sustainability.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles: HEVs combine the electrical benefits of high fuel economy and low emissions with the power, range, and convenience of conventional vehicles, while generally emitting fewer pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Idle Reduction: Idling vehicles wastes several billion gallons of fuels and emits large amounts of air pollutions and greenouse gases each hyear. Thirty seconds of idling can use more fuel than turning off and restarting the engine, so if you are stopping for more than thirsty seconds, turn of the engine.

 

Alternative Fuels
The transportation sector accounts for over one third of total U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions due to the high percent usage of petroleum-based fuels. Switching to cleaner fuels can have a significant positive impact on combating climate change, improving our nation’s air quality, and attaining energy independence. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) defines the following fuels as Alternative Fuels:

  • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
  • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
  • Biofuels
  • Biogas
  • Ethanol
  • Hydrogen
  • Electricity
  • Propane (LPG)

 

COMPRESSED NATURAL GAS (CNG)
Natural Gas is predominately made up of methane, and can come from natural gas reservoirs, landfill gas, and water/sewage treatment. It is mostly produced in the US and is available throughout the country through a pipeline distribution system extending from wells to end-users. There are two types of natural gas vehicles: dedicated vehicles, which run on pure natural gas, and bi-fuel vehicles, which can run on both natural gas and gasoline or diesel. CNG contains only about 25% of the energy content of gasoline, so CNG vehicles require more frequent refueling and more storage capacity.

Relative to conventional gasoline, CNG emits 90-97% less carbon monoxide, 25% less carbon dioxide, 35-60% less nitrogen oxide, 50-75% less nonmethane hydrocarbon, almost no particulate matter, and fewer toxic and carcinogenic pollutants.

Link to EPA Fact Sheet: http://eerc.ra.utk.edu/etcfc/docs/EPAFactSheet-cng.pdf

Link to AFDC Fact Sheet: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/natural_gas.html

 

LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS (LNG)
LNG is odorless, colorless, noncorrosive, and nontoxic. When extracted from underground reserves, natural gas is composed of approximately 90 percent methane. During the liquefaction process, oxygen, carbon dioxide, sulfur compounds, and water are removed, purifying the fuel and increasing its methane content to almost 100 percent. As a result, LNG-fueled vehicles can offer significant emissions benefits compared with older diesel-powered vehicles, and can significantly reduce carbon monoxide and particulate emissions as well as nitrogen oxide
emissions.

Link to EPA Fact Sheet: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/pdfs/epa_lng.pdf

Link to AFDC Fact Sheet: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/pdfs/epa_lng.pdf

 

BIOFUELS
A biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases. Although fossil fuels have their origin in ancient carbon fixation, they are not considered biofuels because they contain carbon that has been “out” of the carbon cycle for a very long time. Biofuels are gaining increased public and scientific attention, driven by factors such as oil price hikes, the need for increased energy security, concern over greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, and support from government subsidies.

Link to AFDC Fact Sheet: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/biodiesel.html

 

BIOGAS
Biogas typically refers to a gas produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Organic waste such as dead plant and animal material, animal feces, and kitchen waste can be converted into a gaseous fuel called biogas. Biogas originates from biogenic material and is a type of bio fuel.

Biogas is produced by the anaerobic digestion or fermentation of biodegradable materials such as biomass, manure, sewage, municipal waste, green waste, plant material, and crops. Biogas comprises primarily methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) and may have small amounts of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), moisture and siloxanes.

Link to AFDC Fact Sheet: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/emerging_biogas.html

 

ETHANOL
Ethanol is produced domestically from the fermentation and distillation of starch crops that have been converted into simple sugars, such as corn, potatoes, wood, waste paper, wheat, and brewery waste. In the United States, over 90% of ethanol comes from corn. For transportation, ethanol is usually mixed with gasoline to create blends compatible with different engines that emit fewer harmful emissions. A common fuel is E10, which is a blend of 10% ethanol with 90% gasoline and works in any conventiona internal combustion vehicle. Due to the low percentage of renewables, however, E10 is not considered an alternative fuel according to EPAct regulations. When ethanol is present at 85% or higher, it is considered an alternative fuel. Vehicles need to be modified to run on E85 or higher; such vehicles are called flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs).

Ethanol contains only 60% of the energy content of gasoline, so vehicles require more ethanol than gasoline to go the same distance. However, unlike gasoline ethanol is renewable and emits 15% fewer ozone-forming volatile organic compounds, 40% less carbon monoxide, 20% fewer particulates, 10% less nitrogen oxide, and 80% less sulfate.

Link to EPA Fact Sheet: http://eerc.ra.utk.edu/etcfc/docs/EPAFactSheet-ethanol.pdf

Link to AFDC Fact Sheet: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/ethanol.html

 

HYDROGEN
Hydrogen can be used directly as a fuel (pure or mixed with natural gas) in internal combustion engines, or in fuel cell vehicles to produce electricity. Fuel cells generate electrical energy out of chemical energy by combining hydrogen from fuel with oxygen from air. Electrons are stripped off of the hydrogen molecules and forced to travel through an external circuit and then recombine with the hydrogen ions and oxygen molecules. This electron flow in the external circuit forms an electrical current, which is sufficient to power a vehicle. The only resulting emission is the water formed from the combination of hydrogen and oxygen. Other emissions may be emitted from the production of hydrogen if it is extracted from fossil fuels, thus a more sustainable alternative fuel depends on producing hydrogen from renewable sources like wind or solar.

Hydrogen has a lower energy content than gasoline, so a larger amount would need to be stored in the vehicle in order to provide an adequate driving range. Storage technologies for high-pressure tanks for compressed hydrogen, insulated tanks for liquid hydrogen, and chemical bonding of hydrogen with another material are currently under development.

Link to AFDC Fact Sheet: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/hydrogen.html

 

Electricity
Electricity can be used to run electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles using power directly from the grid. Electric vehicles (EVs) produce no tailpipe emissions; however they may indirectly cause harmful emissions depending on the way the power was initially produced (i.e. electricity produced from fossil fuels would have let out emissions during generation, while electricity produced from renewable sources such as wind and wolar would not have). EV batteries can be recharged by plugging them in to any electric outlet, and per-mile fuel costs are generally less than gasoline but vary depending on location, time, and generation type.

Link to EPA Fact Sheet: http://eerc.ra.utk.edu/etcfc/docs/EPAFactSheet-electric.pdf

Link to AFDC Fact Sheet: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/electricity.html

 

PROPANE (LPG)
Most propane is produced domestically as a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Propane vehicles can be either dedicated, which run on 100% propane, or bi-fuel, which are capable of running on both propane and gasoline. Relative to conventional gasoline, propane emits far less carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nonmethane hydrocarbons. Exact estimates vary with engine design.

Propane in its gaseous form contains about 75% of the energy content of gasoline, which is one of the largest energy densities of all alternative fuels. It is a gas at normal temperatures and pressures, and in this state, engines run more efficiently under low-speed, light-throttle conditions. Liquid Propane Injection engines run on liquid propane and provide fuel economy more on par with gasoline. They have performed well in terms of power, engine durability, and cold starting.

Link to EPA Fact Sheet: http://eerc.ra.utk.edu/etcfc/docs/EPAFactSheet-propane.pdf

Link to AFDC Fact Sheet: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/propane.html

 

FAQ

Q. What is Clean Cities?
A. Clean Cities is a government-industry partnership designed to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector by advancing the use of alternative fuels and vehicles, idle reduction technologies, hybrid electric vehicles, fuel blends and fuel economy.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Clean Cities contributes to the environmental, economic, and energy security of the United States by reducing our dependence on imported petroleum. Established in 1993 in response to the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992, the partnership has provided tools and resources for voluntary, community-based programs that deploy alternative fuels across the country.

Q. What is considered an Alternative Fuel?
A. As defined by EPAct, the alternative fuels that Clean Cities support are Natural Gas, Ethanol, Methanol, Biofuels, Hydrogen, Electricity, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (propane) and P-Series fuel. All of these fuel types are defined in great detail in our About Fuels section.

Q. Why consider Alternative Fuels now? What are the Benefits?
A. There is no better time than the present to reduce our region’s and the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and to strengthen the United States’ energy security. The development and use of alternative fuels will do more to alleviate our dependence on imported fuels than any other initiative currently underway in the US. The utilization and promotion of alternative fuels can be done by corporations, small business owners, or individuals and is a simple, effective and immediate way to make a difference.

In addition to attaining a greater level of energy security and independence, there are many other benefits to using an Alternative Fuel. These include reduction in harmful emissions including greenhouse gases and the creation of jobs assisting the domestic economy.

Q. How does the cost of an AFV compare with that of a traditionally fueled vehicle?
A. The cost of an AFV is slightly higher than a traditionally fueled vehicle. However, funding is available on the federal, state and local government levels to assist with the incremental cost. Incremental Cost is the difference between the cost of and AFV and a traditionally fueled vehicle. To research cost associated with AFVs you can visit www.fleets.doe.gov.

Q. What types of AFVs are available today?
A. There are Alternative Fueled Vehicles available in all vehicle classes; passenger cars, light-duty, middle-duty, work and heavy-duty trucks, and school busses. In some cases if the type of vehicle you are looking for is not available in CNG, they may be part of an upfitters product package. Standard diesel engines can use Biodiesel with little or no modifications.

If your organization would like to ease into the AFV market dual fuel vehicles are also available through certified organizations.

For the most up to date information on what models are being produced for each fuel type, you can visit the manufacturer’s web site or the Clean Cities’ web site.

Q. What are the safety concerns of operating an AFV compared to a traditionally fueled vehicle?
A. CNG: Pressurized tanks have been designed to withstand severe impact, high external temperatures, and automotive environmental exposure and must meet U.S. DOT safety standards.

Propane: Pressurized propane tanks are designed to withstand severe impact and temperatures and must meet American Society of Mechanical Engineers and DOT safety standards. In addition, the fuel system is shielded from exhaust components and has additional safety valves installed.

Electric: There is no combustible fuel utilized in an electric vehicle, making it a safe alternative.

Biodiesel: Pure biodiesel is non-toxic. Blended biodiesel (B-20) has a higher flashpoint than regular diesel fuel.

E85: Has the same safety concerns as traditionally fueled vehicles.

Q. What alternative fuels are available in our region and how can I locate stations?
A. Compressed Natural Gas, Propane and Biodiesel are all currently available at publicly accessible locations on Long Island. Biodiesel and Ethanol are available in various different blends, (B5, B10, B20, E10 or E85) through OGS and the New York State Contracts. Stations are opening all the time offering each of these fuels. To find the most up to date information you can visit the Alternative Fueling Station Locator page of the GLICCC website.

Q. What types of Tax Incentives are there if I purchase an AFV?
A. There are both State and Federal incentives towards the purchase of AFVs. These incentives vary from fuel type to fuel type, as well as budget year. Please contact us when you are ready to purchase an alternative fuel vehicle for the most up-to-date information.

 

Glossary

Alternative Fueled Vehicle (AFV): A vehicle either designed and manufactured by an original equipment manufacturer or a converted vehicle designed to operate in either dual-fuel, flexible-fuel, or dedicated modes on fuels other than gasoline or diesel. This does not include a conventional vehicle that is limited to operation on blended or reformulated gasoline fuels.

Alternative Fuels: Fuels defined by the Energy Policy Act of 1992, including biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas, and propane. Since 1992, when the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) was passed, only one new fuel has been recognized as an alternative fuel under the EPAct petitions provision. P-Series fuels were added to the list of alternative fuels in 1999.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA): Commonly referred to as The Recovery Act, the ARRA is an economic stimulus package enacted by the 111th United States Congress in February 2009. $27.2 billion was allocated to energy efficiency and renewable energy research and investment.

B20: A blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel. This is the most common blend used today. Other blends that are also used included B5 and B10.

Barrel: A volumetric unit of measure for crude oil and petroleum products equivalent to 42 U.S. gallons

Bi-fuel: A vehicle with two separate fuel systems designed to run on either an alternative fuel or conventional fuel using only one fuel at a time. See also Dual-Fuel Vehicle and Flexible-Fuel Vehicle.

Biodiesel: A clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.

Bioethanol: Ethanol that is produced from “cellulosic biomass” such as trees and grasses.

California Air Resources Board (CARB): A State regulatory agency charged with regulating the air quality in California. Air quality regulations established by the Board are often stricter than those set by the Federal Government. States are able to choose to follow the EPA, Federal Government, or CARB regulations. New York States currently follows CARB.

Clean Air Act (CAA): The original Clean Air Act was signed in 1963. The law set emissions standards for stationary sources (e.g., factories, power plants). The CAA was amended several times, most recently in 1990 (P.L. 101-549). The Amendments of 1970 introduced motor vehicle emission standards (e.g., automobiles, trucks). Criteria pollutants included lead, ozone, CO, SO2, NOx, and PM as well as air toxics.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE): (P.L. 94-163) Law passed in 1975 that set federal fuel economy standards. The CAFE values are an average of city and highway fuel economy test results weighted by a manufacturer for either its car or truck fleet.

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ): A program funded by the Federal Highway Administration.

CNG: Compressed Natural Gas

Dedicated Vehicle: A vehicle designed to operate solely on one alternative fuel.

DOE: Department of Energy

Dual-Fuel Vehicle: A vehicle designed to operate on a combination of alternative fuel, such as CNG or LPG, and conventional fuel, such as gasoline or diesel. These vehicles have two separate fuel systems which inject both fuels simultaneously into the engine combustion chamber. See also Bi-fuel and Flexible-Fuel Vehicle.

E10: A blend of 10% Ethanol and 90% Petroleum Gas, most gas sold on Long Island is an E10 blend.

E85: A motor fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. E85 is an alternative fuel as defined by the U.S. Department of Energy. Vehicles that are classified as FFV or Flexible Fuel Vehicle’s can use either E85 or standard Gas.

EERE: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Electricity: Electricity can be used as a transportation fuel to power battery electric and fuel cell vehicles. When used to power electric vehicles or EVs, electricity is stored in an energy storage device such as a battery.

Energy Efficiency: The inverse of energy intensiveness: the ratio of energy outputs from a process to the energy inputs (for example, miles traveled per gallon of fuel).

EPA: Enviromental Protection Agency

Ethanol: An alcohol-based alternative fuel produced by fermenting and distilling starch crops that have been converted into simple sugars. Feedstocks for this fuel include corn, barley, and wheat.

Flexible-Fuel Vehicle: A vehicle with the ability to operate on alternative fuels (such as M85 or E85), 100 percent traditional fuels, or a mixture of alternative fuel and traditional fuels. See also Bi-fuel and Dual-Fuel Vehicle.

Fuel Cell: An electrochemical engine (no moving parts) that converts the chemical energy of a fuel, such as hydrogen, and an oxidant, such as oxygen, directly to electricity. The principal components of a fuel cell are catalytically activated electrodes for the fuel (anode) and the oxidant (cathode) and an electrolyte to conduct ions between the two electrodes.

GGE: Gas Gallon Equivalent. A unit used to compare fuels based on their respective energy density, as different fuels may be in numerous forms (gas, liquid, solid). For example, 1 gallon of gasoline is 1 GGE. 1 gallon of diesel fuel is approximately 0.88 GGE.

GLICCC: Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: The weight of the empty vehicle plus the maximum anticipated load weight.

Heavy Duty Vehicles: Pursuant to the EPAct, heavy duty vehicles are trucks and buses that have a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds or more.

Hybrid-Electric Vehicle (HEV): A vehicle that is powered by two or more energy sources, one of which is electricity. HEVs may combine the engine and fuel system of a conventional vehicle with the batteries and electric motor of an electric vehicle in a single drive train.

Hydrogen (H2): The lightest of all gases, the element hydrogen occurs chiefly in combination with oxygen in water. It also exists in acids, bases, alcohols, petroleum, and other hydrocarbons.

Light Duty Vehicles: Automobiles and trucks having a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 8,500 pounds.

LNG: Liquid Natural Gas

LPG aka Propane: Liquefied Petroleum Gas

Methanol: Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, can be used as an alternative fuel in flexible fuel vehicles that run on M85 (a blend of 85% methanol and 15% gasoline).

National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS): Ambient standards for criteria air pollutants specifically regulated under the CAA. These pollutants include ozone, CO, NO2, lead, particulate matter and SOx.

Natural Gas: Natural gas is domestically produced and readily available to end-users through the utility infrastructure. It is also clean burning and produces significantly fewer harmful emissions. In vehicles Natural Gas is used in both compressed and liquid forms.

Non-attainment Area: A region that exceeds minimum acceptable National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for one or more criteria pollutants, in high population density areas, in accordance with the U.S. Census Bureau population statistics. Such regions (areas) are required to seek modifications to their State Implementation Plans, and set forth a reasonable timetable using means (approved by the Environmental Protection Agency) to achieve attainment of NAAQS by a certain date. Under the Clean Air Act, if a non-attainment area fails to attain NAAQS, the Environmental Protection Agency may superimpose a Federal Implementation Plan with stricter requirements or impose fines, construction bans, or cutoffs in Federal grant revenues until the area achieves applicable NAAQS. Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk Counties) is a non-attainment area.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM): Vehicle manufacturers that provide the original design and materials for assembly and manufacture of their product. They are directly responsible for manufacturing and modifying vehicles, making the vehicles commercially available, and providing a warranty for the finished product.

Particulate Matter (PM): A generic term for a broad class of chemically and physically diverse substances that exist as discrete particles (liquid droplets or solids) over a wide range of sizes. Particulate matter is considered a NAAQS pollutant.

Retro-fit: A retro-fitted vehicle was originally a conventional vehicle, designed to operate on gasoline or diesel, but has been altered to run on an alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane), or to include hybrid-electric components. Vehicle retro-fits offer AFV options to fleet managers and consumers alike, beyond the supply of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) alternative fuel vehicles.

Smog: A visible haze caused primarily by particulate matter and ozone.

Personal vehicles: Vehicles that are under 6,000 pounds.

Propane: Propane or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a popular alternative fuel choice for vehicles because there is already an infrastructure of pipelines, processing facilities, and storage for its efficient distribution.

P-Series: P-Series fuel is a unique blend of natural gas liquids (pentanes plus), ethanol, and the biomass-derived co-solvent methyltetrahydrofuran (MeTHF). P-Series fuels are clear, colorless, 89-93 octane, liquid blends that are formulated to be used in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). P-Series are designed to be used alone or freely mixed with gasoline in any proportion inside the FFVs gas tank. These fuels are not currently being produced in large quantities and are not widely used.

Tax Incentives: In general, tax incentives serve as a means of employing the tax code to stimulate investment in or development of a socially desirable economic objective without the direct expenditure from the budget of a given unit of government. Such incentives can take the form of tax exemptions or credits.

Upfit: See Retro-Fit.

 

Tax credits: Tax credits are currently available in the state of NY through 2010 for 50% of the installation cost of clean-fuel vehicle refueling property and infrastructure.  Eligible clean fuels are fuels which are at least 85% methanol, ethanol, any other alcohol, or ether.  These include natural gas, liquified petroleum gas, hydrogen, and electricity.