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


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 www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.



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: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

Media Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340, shannon_helm@ncsu.edu