Posts Tagged ‘clean transportation’

N.C. Solar Center receives $6.2 Million grant for air quality solutions in North Carolina

Posted on: May 21st, 2013 by shannon No Comments


Energy Award Supports North Carolina Alternative Fuel Efforts

RALEIGH, N.C.– The North Carolina Department of Transportation is supporting efforts led by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University to reduce transportation related emissions with a three-year $6,200,000 award for the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) project. The CFAT 2013-15 project is the third phase of an initiative that began in 2006 and was previously administered with $3,000,000 in state and federal funding.

The CFAT project focuses on improving air quality in the 24 North Carolina counties that are in non-attainment or maintenance status for national air quality standards. The project centers around three primary activities: education and outreach, emission reduction sub-awards and recognition of exemplary efforts among fleets and organizations that implement clean transportation-related policies and practices. Phase three of the project will include the following new components:

  • A public education campaign, using billboards and other related media such as radio, television and social media;
  • The establishment of a technical advisory committee to develop clean transportation training activities;
  • The creation of a state-wide green fleet program to enhance opportunities for continuing expansion of clean transportation policies and practices.


The grant awarded to the N.C. Solar Center is funded with federal dollars through the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program that is administered annually by NCDOT.  CMAQ funds support projects that improve air quality by reducing transportation-related emissions. The most recent federal transportation funding bill, MAP-21, places new emphasis on the use of CMAQ funds for electric and natural gas  infrastructure  along with diesel engine retrofits and other efforts that reduce fine particle pollution.

The majority of federal CMAQ funding supporting the CFAT project is budgeted for sub-award projects that will be allocated through an annual call for project process. Over $4,000,000 is budgeted for eligible CMAQ technologies, such as vehicle and refueling/recharging equipment for biodiesel and E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), electric vehicles, natural gas and propane in public and private sector fleets. Diesel retrofits and idle reduction technologies are also eligible for funding support of up to 80% of project costs

The CFAT project intends to continue successful partnerships with Centralina and Triangle J Council of Governments (COGs) through the Centralina Clean Fuels and Triangle Clean Cities coalitions, as well as expand education and outreach efforts to the Piedmont Triad Regional Council and Upper Coastal Plain and Ker-Tarr COGs. “NCDOT’s funding will significantly expand education, outreach and deployment of alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technology to help reduce transportation-related emissions in effected counties ”, said Anne Tazewell, clean transportation manager at the N.C. Solar Center.


About the North Carolina Solar Center:

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information visit:  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter


Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340,

Natural gas becomes a fuel for the long haul

Posted on: April 29th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


Truckers, UPS join the lot choosing cleaner, cheaper path


The natural gas boom has already upended the American power industry, displacing coal and bringing consumers cheaper electricity.

Now the trucking industry, with its millions of 18-wheelers moving products like potato chips, deodorant and copy paper around the country, is taking a leap forward in switching from petroleum to cleaner-burning natural gas. And if natural gas remains cheap, consumers may benefit again.

This month, Cummins, a leading engine manufacturer, began shipping big, new engines that make long runs on natural gas possible. A skeletal network of refueling stations at dozens of truck stops stands ready. Major shippers like Procter & Gamble, mindful of both fuel costs and green credentials, are turning to companies with natural gas trucks in their fleets.

And in the latest sign of how the momentum for natural gas in transportation is accelerating, United Parcel Service announced last week that it is expanding its fleet of heavy 18-wheel vehicles running on liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to 800 by the end of 2014, from 112. The vehicles will use the new Cummins engines, produced under a joint venture with Westport Innovations.

UPS, like the rest of the industry, still has a long way to go in the conversion, but the company hopes to make natural gas vehicles a majority of its new heavy truck acquisitions in two years. The company is benefiting from incentives provided by various states and the federal government, which offer tax credits and grants for installing natural gas fuel stations and using vehicles fueled by natural gas.

“By us doing this it will help pave the way and others will follow,” said Scott Wicker, chief sustainability officer at UPS. “Moving into LNG is a means to get us onto what we see as the bridging fuel of the future and off of oil. It’s the right step for us, for our customers and for our planet.”

The move could also cut the country’s oil import bill. Right now, about 8 million heavy and medium-weight trucks consume 3 million barrels of oil a day while traveling the nation’s highways. That is nearly 15 percent of the total national daily consumption and the equivalent of three-fourths of the amount of oil imported from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Roughly two-thirds of the diesel used as transportation fuel nationwide feeds 3 million 18-wheelers, the main trucks hauling goods over long distances.


A slow transition

In the last four years, the natural gas shale drilling boom has produced a glut of inexpensive fuel, leading producers to argue that the country should wean its commercial and municipal transportation systems from a dependence on imported oil to domestically produced natural gas.

Waste Management driver Alan Sadler fills his truck with CNG gas at the company's filling station in Washington, Pa., last November. Some predict that years from now, motorists needing a fill-up might see natural gas pumps sharing space at the neighborhood filling station with ones dispensing gasoline and diesel.


It is cheaper, saving truckers as much as $1.50 a gallon, and it burns cleaner, making it easier to meet emissions standards. The domestic fuel also provides some insulation from the volatile geopolitics that can drive up petroleum prices.

Still, manufacturers and fleet owners have been slow to switch, partly because natural gas vehicles can cost almost twice as much as conventional trucks and because only a few gasoline stations have the specialized equipment needed to dispense the fuel.

Now, as name-brand manufacturers and chains like Nike and Wal-Mart have pressed for transportation of their goods by natural gas vehicles and companies like UPS, FedEx and Ryder System have started exploring the option, truck makers have begun bringing natural gas vehicles to the market. Major manufacturers, including Navistar and Volvo, have plans to offer long-haul natural gas vehicles.

Clean Energy Fuels – a company backed by the financier T. Boone Pickens and Chesapeake Energy – has peppered major routes with 70 stations, many at truck stops operated by Pilot Flying J. (The truck-stop company, whose chief executive is Jimmy Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns, is separately under investigation for potential rebate fraud.)

Clean Energy has plans to complete 30 to 50 more by the end of the year. Shell has an agreement to build refueling stations at as many as 100 TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Centers while ENN, a privately held Chinese company, hopes to build 500 filling stations as well.


Place to fuel few

That emerging network “really has changed the interplay between the shippers and the contracted carriers,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, Clean Energy’s chief executive. “The whole deal’s beginning to change.”

Though the network is growing rapidly, it has a long way to go. As of May 2012, only 53 LNG fueling stations were in the United States, more than two-thirds concentrated in California, along with 1,047 compressed natural gas stations around the country, according to the Energy Department. In comparison, there were 157,000 fueling stations selling gasoline.

Vehicle use of natural gas in the United States is still negligible but it has been growing. Among fleets whose vehicles travel shorter routes, like transit buses, refuse haulers and delivery trucks, use of compressed natural gas is much further along. Last year, more than half of newly purchased garbage trucks ran on compressed natural gas.

The federal Energy Information Administration last year projected that if enough LNG filling stations were built and economic conditions were right, sales of heavy-duty natural gas vehicles could increase to 275,000 in 2035, equivalent to 34 percent of new vehicle sales, from 860 in 2010. But estimates vary.

Citigroup recently forecast that 30 percent of the heavy truck fleet would shift to natural gas by the end of the decade, but some in the transportation industry put that figure much lower.


A ‘chicken-and-egg dilemma’

One obstacle is cost. There are some tax incentives, and the Obama administration funneled stimulus money to various projects. ENN, the Chinese company, for instance, has teamed up with a small company now operating as Blu in Utah that used federal stimulus money to help open a natural gas fueling station in Salt Lake City in 2011.

But industry executives say that the incentives are not enough to get the system going and solve what Bill Logue, chief executive of the FedEx Freight Corp., called the “chicken-and-egg dilemma” of which comes first, the trucks or the stations.

“We believe that public policy supporting the development of natural gas infrastructure is critical and should be prioritized,” he said in an email message. “Individual drivers and private companies cannot realistically be expected to resolve the dilemma themselves.”

Another issue arises alongside the very appeal of the fuel: its low price. Because natural gas is in demand to meet so many different energy needs – including industrial electricity and home heating – prices could rise, as they have in recent months, especially if the Obama administration begins approving the fuel for export to countries where gas commands a much higher price, as some producers and lawmakers are pressing the Energy Department to do.


By Diane Cardwell and Clifford Krauss — New York Times

N.C. Solar Center awards grant to the City of Rocky Mount for new compressed natural gas vehicles and refueling station

Posted on: April 2nd, 2013 by shannon No Comments


Raleigh, N.C. – The N.C. Solar Center recently awarded a sub award grant to the City of Rocky Mount, NC, through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Blue Skies Green Jobs Initiative, a $12,000,000 bi-state project led by Triangle J Council of Governments. The funding covered over 90 percent of the costs for a new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Refueling Station, and the cost differential between CNG powered refuse trucks and diesel powered trucks.  A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new station and vehicles was held on Monday, March 11, 2013. Several dignitaries, including Senator Angela Bryant and Representative Jeff Collins lauded the City on this new initiative.

“I am just so excited about how much of a leader the City of Rocky Mount continues to be in many arenas, and particularly in the area of clean energy and green jobs,” said Senator Bryant. “This is an amazing accomplishment, and I am very excited to think about the partnership with the N.C. Solar Center, the partnership with the federal government, including the use of stimulus funds that helped to make this available, as well a partnership with South Carolina, a multi-state partnership that helps this initiative go forward.”

Along with the new CNG station, the project included the acquisition of two CNG powered rear loaders used to pick up yard waste and small bulk waste. The City also purchased of a 45 passenger CNG powered bus used by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department to assist in transporting youth during summer camps. Since deployment of the CNG vehicles, the City has realized an average displacement of approximately 2,100 gallons of diesel fuel per quarter, along with associated emission reductions and cost savings of $2.50 to $3.00 per gallon equivalent.  These are only a few examples of CNG powered vehicles that could be used by the City. “There is the capacity to do more,” said Mayor David Combs. “There is a possible expansion of CNG vehicles in other departments, such as Public Utilities, Water Resources and more.”


Some advantages of using natural gas for transportation were highlighted by Rick Sapienza, clean transportation specialist at the N.C. Solar Center.  “It is a cleaner burning fuel compared to gasoline and diesel and can be superior in performance when compared to gasoline engines. CNG is much less expensive and the time between oil changes for natural gas cars and trucks is also extended, starting at almost 10,000 miles dependent upon the use of the vehicle. Also, natural gas is non-toxic and does not contaminate water or soil since it lighter than air and dissipates in open spaces. In other words, CNG is safe.”


For more information on natural gas, visit the North Carolina Solar Center website at



About the North Carolina Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit:  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

Media Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340,

Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster Launches Smart Transportation Industry Focus

Posted on: March 13th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


Research Triangle Region, N.C. – Research Triangle Region economic developers and companies have officially entered the race to make the region a leader in plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) technologies.

The Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster (RTCC) will announce today (Wednesday, March 13) the launch of a smart transportation industry focus that will capitalize on the region’s critical mass of PEV companies and research, as well as a statewide plan to make North Carolina plug-in ready from mountains to sea.

The announcement will be made at a meeting of the N.C. Plug-in Electric Vehicle Taskforce, the group that is leading the statewide effort, as it celebrates completion of its statewide PEV readiness plans. The event will be hosted by Advanced Energy, the organization that will manage RTCC’s industry engagement in smart transportation.

“Advanced Energy sees working with the RTCC to lead a smart transportation industry engagement program as one of the next logical steps for the task force to take,” said Jeff Barghout, Advanced Energy’s division director for transportation initiatives.

“The task force’s ongoing work with more than 200 organizations showed us the significant concentration of electric vehicle supply chain companies that already operate in this region. We intend to build on that work to accelerate the growth of the industry and make electric vehicles convenient for our residents to use,” Barghout said.

RTCC Managing Director Lee Anne Nance said the smart transportation focus is a natural fit with the RTCC’s rapidly maturing smart grid cluster. For example, the Advanced Transportation Energy Center, co-located with N.C. State University’s FREEDM Systems Center, is developing technologies that will help the electric power industry manage large-scale uptake of plug-in electric vehicles. The FREEDM Center, meanwhile, is conducting research that will transform the nation’s electric power grid into a smart ! grid that will manage distributed energy resources, ensure a secure communication backbone and improve efficiency.

“The center’s work is transforming the power industry in the same way the Internet transformed the computer industry from mainframe to desktop to mobile device,” Nance said. “Together, smart grid and smart transportation hold extraordinary potential for innovation and business development in our 13 counties.”

Wake County Economic Development, which leads the region’s smart grid focus, will support RTCC and Advanced Energy’s work with industry knowledge and connections, said Wake EDC project manager Michael Haley.

“Wake EDC is facilitating national and global linkages of companies, suppliers, support agencies and researchers working on smart grid innovation and business development, and the spill-over and connections to smart transportation have just naturally emerged,” Haley said. “We see this as a win-win for our business development and for our region’s quality of life as we develop the full spectrum of smart, clean technologies.”

Local industry leaders, like Scott Henneberry of Schneider Electric, agree. Schneider Electricmanufactures electric charging stations in Knightdale.

“Schneider Electric is a $30 billion global energy management leader, and electric vehicle charging stations are a growing and important part of that,” said Henneberry, RTCC board member and vice president of smart grid strategy for Schneider Electric, an RTCC founding company. “A massive deployment of electric vehicles will require a smart grid, so we see tremendous upside potential for this industry.”

The Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster is an initiative of business, government, academic and nonprofit leaders working to accelerate the cleantech economy and is led by a 10-member board of directors. The Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP) formed and manages the RTCC with funding from industry members ABB Inc., Duke Energy, Field2Base Inc., Power Analytics Corp., PowerSecure International, RTI International, SAS, Schneider Electric, Sensus and Siemens. RTRP is a public-private partnership that leads economic development strategy for the 13-county Research Triangle Region of North

Advanced Energy (AE) is a nationally recognized nonprofit with a mission to provide economic, environmental and societal benefits through innovative and market-based approaches to energy issues.  Established in 1980, AE has been developing innovative programs, conducting cutting-edge research and analyzing real-world effectiveness for energy issues in order to deliver tangible results with practical, sustainable solutions for customers, partners, members and the energy-using public. Located in Raleigh, N.C., AE focuses on applied building sciences in residential, commercial and industrial sectors; industrial process technologies; renewable energy; motors and drives testing; and emerging transportation initiatives (such as electric transportation). AE’s facility houses state-of-the-art laboratories, where they perform testing and applied research in all of the evolving disciplines. For m! ore information, visit


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Contact: For more information on the RTCC, visit or contact Managing Director Lee Anne Nance(919) 334-4075.

Statewide Taskforce Releases North Carolina’s First Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness Plans

Posted on: February 19th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


(Raleigh, N.C. — February 19, 2013)  The North Carolina Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Taskforce, in collaboration with several statewide partners, today released the state’s first PEV Readiness Plan along with four regional plans. The N.C. PEV Readiness Plans were created through the N.C. PEV Readiness Initiative: Plugging-in from Mountains to Sea (M2S) – one of only 16 projects awarded across the United States through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The project covered the entire state of North Carolina with a focus on four metropolitan areas in the Greater Asheville, Charlotte, Piedmont Triad and Triangle areas. The N.C. Solar Center was one of five principle partners who worked on the M2S project. The Center’s Clean Transportation program co-lead the Piedmont Triad PEV planning process with Piedmont Triad Regional Council and lead the state wide Incentives and Economic Development (IED) Work Group with the N.C. Dept. of Commerce Green Economy team.

A key result of the work conducted by the N.C. Solar Center is the Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Incentives and Policy Options for North Carolina paper included as part of the state wide PEV plan released by principle partners today. The paper surveys incentives provided by neighboring states and provides recommendations for state and local policy options. “Electric vehicles offer substantial gains in efficiency, emissions and long term savings to the purchaser and incentives can play an important role to spur more wide spread adoption,” says Anne Tazewell, the Center’s Transportation Manager. North Carolina offers no state incentives for the purchase of PEVs or charging stations while nearby South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Maryland do, the report reveals.

“Currently, North Carolina is still in the beginning stages of plug-in electric vehicle adoption and the statewide NC PEV Roadmap recommends continuing to move forward with collaborative efforts to ensure a more seamless integration of these vehicles and to maintain its position as a leader in plug-in electric vehicle readiness.” says Katie Drye, project manager, Transportation Initiatives, Advanced Energy. “


Key Highlights from the NC PEV Roadmap Plan Include:


  • Records from the NC Department of Motor Vehicles revealed there are more than 700 PEVs registered in North Carolina as of August 2012 and estimates indicate there will be more than 750,000 PEVs on the road by 2030!
  • Data collected through the planning process indicate there are 350 public and 170 private charging stations in North Carolina.
  • An analysis of PEV incentives, including a survey of fleet managers provides recommendations on the types of incentives beneficial for North Carolina:
  • Review of policies, codes and standards, including recommendations for updates to local zoning ordinances, municipal codes, historic districts, sign requirements; encroachment agreement processes, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Key messaging developed for target audiences


The plans will be featured at an upcoming NC PEV Taskforce meeting on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, from 11:00 am to 3:30 pm at the Sheraton Hotel, 421 S Salisbury Street, in Raleigh. Interested participants can register to attend the meeting by visiting



About the NC PEV Taskforce

The NC Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Taskforce is focused on establishing North Carolina as the leader in electrified transportation and promoting PEV readiness throughout the state. A collaborative group of key stakeholders from private industry, academia, non-profit and local and state government, this Taskforce is working to ensure the rapid and seamless integration of PEVs into local communities and the marketplace. The primary goals of the Taskforce are to increase the adoption of PEVs and support economic development opportunities through the exchange of innovative ideas and experience. The Taskforce will create a PEV roadmap, develop a network of PEV charging stations across the state, and align North Carolina’s electrified transportation goals with those on a national level. For more information:


About the NC PEV Readiness Initiative: Plugging-in from Mountains to Sea

The NC PEV Roadmap and four Community Readiness Plans were created supported through the NC PEV Readiness Initiative: Plugging in from Mountains to Sea (M2S) planning project with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program through Centralina Council of Governments. Project collaborators include: Advanced Energy, Land-of-Sky Regional Council, NC Solar Center/NC State University, Piedmont Triad Regional Council, & Triangle J Council of Governments.


About the North Carolina Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit:  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter
Media Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340,

N.C. Solar Center receives DOE grant to increase alternative fuel solutions across North Carolina

Posted on: February 7th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


Energy Award Supports NC Alternative Fuel Implementation Efforts


RALEIGH, N.C.– The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is supporting efforts led by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University 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 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), 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.

A Southeast Regional Alternative Fuels Conference will draw attendees from the nearby states of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The two-day, North Carolina symposium will include 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.”


About the North Carolina Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU) advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit:  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter


Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340,

North Carolina State Government Exceeds Petroleum Displacement Goals

Posted on: January 29th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

Annual report documents use of alternative transportation fuels, efficiency and conservation


RALEIGH, N.C. – The North Carolina FY 2011-2012 Petroleum Displacement Program Report documents over 5.2 million gallons of gasoline and diesel displaced through the use of alternative transportation fuels, as well as efficiency and conservation measures. Thirty –six state agencies representing over 27,800 vehicles took action in FY 2011-12 to reduce petroleum use as part of a special budget provision passed in FY 04-05 that requires a 20 percent displacement of petroleum use in state fleets by 2016. The N.C. Solar Center prepares a report on progress in meeting the goal for the State Energy Office that is submitted annually to the Joint Legislative Commission on Government Affairs and the General Assembly’s Fiscal Division. As determined through a baseline of fuel use established in 2005, the state fleets exceeded the petroleum displacement goal of 4.6 million gallons in FY 2011-2012.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Approximately 2.5 million gallons of fuel were saved through conservation (reduced number of miles driven) and efficiency measures, which include driver training and vehicle replacement/reassignment to achieve improved fuel economy for each mile driven. With fuel prices hovering at $3.00 per gallon on the state purchasing contract in FY 2011-12, conservation and efficiency achievements represent over $8,000,000 in savings to the state in 2012 dollars.
  • Eighteen state agencies used over 7.4 million gallons of B20 (a blend of 20 percent biodiesel, a cleaner burning renewable fuel that can be used in any diesel vehicle and 80 percent diesel). With over 100 B20 fueling sites across the state, the N.C. Dept. of Transportation has been one of the country’s largest users of bio-based fuel for over a decade.
  • Almost 5 percent of petroleum displacement was accomplished through the use of E10, a blend of 10 percent ethanol with gasoline. In 2012, the state purchasing contract eliminated gasoline that does not include a 10 percent blend of ethanol.
  • The state operates over 7,600 E85-capable flex fuel vehicles that used 418,000 gallons of E85 during the last fiscal year.


“While there are many recommendations to enhance state fleet efforts,” said principal report author, Marcy Bauer of the N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Transportation program, “we are encouraged by the state fleet participation in the petroleum displacement program and look forward to continued progress.”

Read the 2011-2012 report



About the North Carolina Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU) advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit:  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340,

President announces new initiatives to support advanced vehicles

Posted on: March 8th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

The President is announcing a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to catalyze up to 10 to 15 model communities to invest in the necessary infrastructure, remove the regulatory barriers, and create the local incentives to support deployment of advanced vehicles at critical mass.  This proposal embraces a strategy similar to that outlined by Senators Merkley and Alexander in their Promoting Electric Vehicles legislation.  This proposal, however, would be ‘fuel neutral’, allowing communities to determine if electrification, natural gas, or other alternative fuels would be the best fit.  Deployment Communities would serve as real-world laboratories, leveraging limited federal resources to develop different models to deploy advanced vehicles at scale.  The program would also support the development of up to 5 regional Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) corridors where alternative fuel trucks can transport goods without using a drop of oil.

To read more about President Obama’s plan for advanced vehicles, read  “Fact Sheet: All of the above approach to American Energy”, issued by the White House on March 7th.

Capital City’s First Dual Biofuels Station Opens with $.85 Fuel

Posted on: November 17th, 2011 by shannon

For Immediate Release


November 16, 2011




Crown Express Mart One of Handful in Nation Offering E85 & B20


Raleigh, N.C. – The first station to offer both E85 (85% ethanol/ 15% gasoline) and B20 (20% biodiesel/80% petroleum diesel) celebrated its grand opening with dignitary remarks, a ribbon cutting and an $.85 per gallon E85 promotion. The Crown Express Mart is located at 1210 New Bern Ave., just east of downtown near the intersection with Poole Rd. The station underwent extensive renovations and began providing the renewable fuel options in early October. “We are excited to be able to offer alternative fueling options in the Raleigh area. Individual and fleet customers now have a choice and convenient place to pump E-85 & B20 fuel seven days a week,” said Kokila Amin, one of the station owners.

Ward Lenz, Director of the State Energy Office at the N.C. Dept. of Commerce showing off the new E85/B20 fuel pump

Ward Lenz, Director of the State Energy Office at the N.C. Dept. of Commerce showing off the new E85/B20 fuel pump

There are close to 2,000 E85 capable flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) located in the zip code of the New Bern Ave station according to research conducted by RL Polk and Associates in July of this year. Across the state there are 18 commercial service stations offering E85, while there are over 236,000 FFVs according to data tracked by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University and RL Polk. It is important to provide fuel options, as there are over 40 makes and models of FFVs offered by auto manufacturers at no additional cost to the purchaser as compared to the same model that is not E85 compatible. FFVs can be operated on gasoline, E85 or any blend of ethanol in between. A fuel sensor provides information to adapt to the specific blend of ethanol powering the vehicle. Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel currently produced in the United States primarily from corn grown in the Midwest. A byproduct of ethanol production is distiller’s grain, a high protein animal feed. E85 has been used for over a decade in North Carolina by the Department of Administration State Motor Fleet, but has only become available at commercial service stations over the past five years.

Biodiesel is a cleaner burning fuel that is made from a variety of feedstock in the United States, including waste vegetable oil, soybeans and animal renderings. It can be utilized in a variety of blends in any diesel engine with no modifications required. In most fleet and consumer applications it is offered at a 20% blend level. B20 has been used by the N.C. Department of Transportation for over a decade and is provided at over 100 state fuel sites. The New Bern Crown Express is the third station to provide B20 to the motoring public in Raleigh, the 28th across the state.

Funding for the E85 refueling infrastructure was provided in part through a grant from the N.C. Solar Center using Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds from the N.C. Department of Transportation. The B20 refueling infrastructure was funded partially with American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funding provided to Kargo Corp, the station owners, from the N.C. Department of Commerce. “We are grateful that the state has taken such a forward looking position on supporting the use of renewable fuels as these public private partnerships support clean air and domestic fuel and distribution opportunities” , said Anne Tazewell, Transportation Program Manager at the N.C. Solar Center. Representatives from state and local government spoke at the ribbon cutting along with Steve Walk, Protec Fuel Management. Protec and the Renewable Fuels Association partnered with the station owners on the $.85 gallon E85 for 85 minutes fuel promotion price at the opening celebration to encourage FFV drivers to try America’s home grown fuel.



About the NC Solar Center

The N.C. Solar Center, a division of the College of Engineering at N.C. State University, has operated since 1988 as a focal point for solar and other renewable energy programs, information, research, technical assistance, and training for the citizens of North Carolina and beyond. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center and the clean transportation program visit



Anne Tazewell, N.C. Solar Center, 919-513-7831,

Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340,

The N.C. Solar Center awarded Green Education Program of the Year by the Triangle Business Journal

Posted on: October 28th, 2011 by shannon No Comments

The Triangle Business Journal recognized the N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Transportation program Thursday, October 27th for their Drive Green Save Green workshops that introduce North Carolina fleet managers and the general public to the technology and practices that can make a difference to every driver’s bottom line.

Bryan Hamilton, publisher of the Triangle Business Journal, presented the award to Aranzazu Lascurain, clean transportation specialist at the N.C. Solar Center, during the 2011 Green Awards luncheon at the Embassy Suites in Cary.

The Drive Green Save Green workshops emphasize that driving for fuel economy is the single fastest way to save money on fuel and reduce harmful emissions. This education and outreach program is geared toward simple, low-cost solutions that maximize fuel economy while at the same time reducing emissions. Swedish Truck manufacturer, Scania’s president and CEO Leif Ostling states, “Driver training is the single, fastest way to reduce the carbon footprint of our trucks. We know that the difference between skilled and less skilled drivers can be up to 20 percent fuel consumption.1

The goals of the program are to convince people that eco-driving results in better fuel economy, which then translates to saving money, and also building awareness and behavior change to daily driving patterns.

The 2011 Drive Green, Save Green workshops consisted of three, free, half-day workshops focusing on driving for fuel economy, or “eco-driving” that targeted fleet managers, but were also open to anyone interested in maximizing fuel economy (including the general public). The workshops included both classroom and on-road experience with eco-driving practices and the mechanics of fuel economy.

The initial roll-out of workshops were held in Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte between the months of April and May 2011.