Blog

Vote Now: “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest Polls Open

The polls are open for the “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest – vote now for your favorites!

Vote for your favorite art in each age category (kindergarten through high school). Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep our air clean. Examples: walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using electric vehicles or biofuels, and more.

Winners in each category will be featured on billboards across the state!

The contest poll closes at midnight this Sunday, May 9.

Winners will be announced soon. Stay tuned on nccleantech.ncsu.edu and FuelWhatMatters.org. For more information or any questions, email Amira Ferjani at aferjan@ncsu.edu.

Submit Your Artwork for the 2021 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest

North Carolina students from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state

Show how you can help keep the air clean for Earth Day this year!

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) has officially launched the 4th Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest, where students in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state!

Students’ artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep our air clean. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using electric vehicles or biofuels, and more. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org.

The winner will be chosen based on:

  • Relevance and appropriateness of the message
  • Visual design
  • Public votes on our Facebook account (link to vote to come once all submissions are received)

Artwork in a more horizontal rectangular shape (about the shape of a billboard) is recommended.

Recommended dimensions:

  • 400h x 840w pixels at 72 ppi
  • 400h x 1400w pixels at 72 ppi 
  • Save as JPG, PNG or BMP at maximum quality in RGB mode

Note: Text may be added on final billboards with the “Keep Our Air Clean” tagline.

Art submissions will be accepted through Sunday, May 2. Please submit here or by emailing Amira Ferjani at aferjan@ncsu.edu. Public voting will begin Monday, May 3 and last through Sunday, May 9 – stay tuned for a link to vote once all submissions have been submitted!

Artists who are over 18 or parents/legal guardians submitting on behalf of their children can submit artwork by directly emailing Amira Ferjani at aferjan@ncsu.edu. You are agreeing to the legal terms below. Teachers submitting artwork on behalf of their students must return a signed permission form.

Winners will be announced in May. Stay tuned on www.facebook.com/NCCleanTech and www.FuelWhatMatters.org!

For more information, questions or if you submitted artwork in last year’s contest, please email Heather Brutz at hmbrutz@ncsu.edu.

Roanoke Electric Leading the Way in Savings with Proven EV Technology

This article is based on reporting from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, by Cathy Cash.

Early results from the first electric cooperative demonstration of a new electric-vehicle-to-grid charger show promise that such systems can help reduce peak demand and save members money.

Roanoke Electric Cooperative in Ahoskie, North Carolina, is demonstrating a special electric vehicle (EV) charger that can do double duty: It can both energize an EV and use the car’s batteries to feed power back to the electric grid.  This bidirectional, or V2G, capability could help utilities avoid peak power costs by tapping into the lower-priced energy stored by an EV during nighttime or off-peak hours.  “The overall goal is to stabilize our rates, become more efficient as a utility and prove new ways to save our members money,” said Curtis Wynn, president and CEO of Roanoke Electric, which serves about 14,000 members.

The Fermata FE-15 bidirectional charger at Roanoke Electric’s headquarters, with two Nissan LEAFs. Left to right, Wallace Ridgeway (Fermata Energy), Anita Knight (Roanoke Manager of Engineering), Ricky Robinson (Roanoke Warehouse Coordinator), and Dr Holmes Hummel (CleanEnergyWorks).

“The overall goal is to stabilize our rates, become more efficient as a utility and prove new ways to save our members money,” said Curtis Wynn, president and CEO of Roanoke Electric, which serves about 14,000 members.

This new charger is the first of its kind in the US to receive the certification of UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories), which reassures end users that the device has undergone rigorous safety testing and engineering.  The maker of the new charger, Fermata Energy, asked Roanoke Electric last year to help test its FE-15 charger using the co-op’s two leased Nissan LEAF EVs. The device can draw up to 111.6 kilowatt-hours in V2G capacity from the vehicles’ 62-kWh lithium ion batteries.

Already, the system shaved 11 kW off its January peak, saving $105, said Anita Knight, Roanoke Electric’s manager of engineering.

“It’s a very small percentage based on average demand on a monthly basis, but it is proving the concept,” Knight said.

Wynn said the co-op will use the test results to inform an upcoming commercial EV rate design study that will enhance its current pilot residential EV rate. The ultimate goal is to determine how to pass on savings and create EV incentives for members.

The Fermata FE-15 bidirectional charger at Roanoke Electric’s headquarters. Left to right, Dr Holmes Hummel (CleanEnergyWorks), Wallace Ridgeway (Fermata Energy), George Stamper (Roanoke VP of Engineering), Ricky Robinson (Roanoke Warehouse Coordinator), Anita Knight (Roanoke Manager of Engineering), and John Bonitz (NCCETC).

NCCETC is supporting this demonstration with analysis, technical assistance, and facilitation. Richard Sapienza, Director of NCCETC’s Clean Transportation Program, said, “This V2G demonstration project is helping prove the benefits and economics of the technology, which is an important component of technology application and commercialization.  There have been many cool and interesting technologies that did not achieve commercial success because they did not solve a problem, meet a need and/or make economic sense.  We have a technology that works. This project is identifying the use cases where it can be applied in a beneficial manner.”

  NCCETC clean transportation specialist John Bonitz added, “the really exciting thing about Roanoke Electric’s leadership is seeing their confidence in a future where electric school buses and cars will help support the grid and shave peaks, etc., all of it helping the whole cooperative save money.”  

Watch this blog for further updates as this demonstration progresses and accumulates more data on V2G value streams.

Coming Next Month: 2021 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest Launches

North Carolina students from kindergarten through high school are invited to submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state!

This Earth Day, you can show us how you help keep the air clean!

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is excited to announce the 4th Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest this March, where students residing in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork focused on the theme of actions that individual families can take to reduce the amount of air pollution from vehicles. 

Winners will have their artwork featured on billboards across the state to help spread the word about ways that we all can help keep the air clean!

Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using biofuels, electric vehicles, and more. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted.

Artwork in a more horizontal rectangular shape (about the shape of a billboard) is recommended.

Recommended dimensions:

  • 400h x 840w pixels at 72 ppi
  • 400h x 1400w pixels at 72 ppi 
  • Save as JPG, PNG or BMP at maximum quality in RGB mode

Note: Text may be added on final billboards with the “Keep Our Air Clean” tagline.

The winner will be chosen based on:

  • Relevance and appropriateness of the message, judged by NCCETC
  • Visual design, judged by NCCETC
  • Public votes on our Facebook account

If you submitted artwork last year and have questions or concerns, please contact Heather Brutz at hmbrutz@ncsu.edu

The official link and email to submit photos will be posted this March. Stay tuned on www.facebook.com/NCCleanTech and www.FuelWhatMatters.org!

Sustainable Fleet Series: Best Practices, Fleet Electrification, The 100 Best Fleets in The Americas & more Available to Stream Now

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center’s (NCCETC)  2020 Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference featured the latest and greatest in sustainable fleet technology, operations and implementation. All 17 sessions focused on best practices to make fleets run more efficiently, with award-winner and expert speakers. 

These webinars are available to stream online now with over 30 hours of knowledge and expertise from fleet managers across the country. 

Also available on-demand, The 100 Best Fleets announced their 2020 Winners of The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas. In a later webinar, the top three fleets were featured in “100 Best Fleets: Top 3 Fleets Best Practices” to discuss their approach and best practices to distinguish themselves among the 38,000 public fleets in North America.  

The top fleet, San Luis Obispo County, California, explained how they used their “intent based leadership” program to transform their fleet and achieve 99 percent customer satisfaction. As the Fleet Manager in San Luis Obispo, Rocky Buoy led the multi-year campaign to improve inspections and ensure repairs were completed correctly the first time. 

Buoy stressed the importance of creating a culture “where people want to come to work” and investing in the fleet employees. “It’s paramount that we commit to training and developing our employees; investing in them is investing in the organization’s and their future,” Buoy said.

Governor Roy Cooper made a statement at NCCETC’s “Electrification of Transportation and Climate Change Impact” webinar on September 30, 2020. Governor Cooper discussed Executive Order 80, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent statewide and adopt 80,000 zero-emission vehicles by 2025 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 

“Carbon neutrality must happen globally by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” Governor Cooper stressed. “That will require transformation in all sectors of our economy, including transportation.” 

Governor Cooper also joined 14 other governors and D.C. last summer to strive for all medium and heavy duty vehicles sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2050. “North Carolina’s VW settlement funds will be invested to speed up school bus and transit electrification and put more chargers within reach of North Carolina drivers,” the governor added.

The “Idle Reduction an Easy Win” webinar featured a panelist of experts who dispelled idling myths and explained why idling wastes fuel, puts excess wear and tear on engines and systems and produces harmful emissions. 

One of the experts on the panel, Patricia Weikersheimer, is a coordinating writer for the Argonne National Laboratory which supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program. “At the national scale, idling in the United States consumes more than six billion gallons, adding up to more than $15 billion each year,” said Weikersheimer. Idle reduction can become a gateway for other initiatives that can reduce carbon emissions and support fleet sustainability. 

Other topics covered in these webinars include “Best Practices & Lessons Learned in Charging Infrastructure Deployment”, “Renewable Fuels, Lubricants & Other Biobased Products” and a roundtable with the Sierra Club to share the results of a survey of local fleet managers and create a form to assist each other through fleet electrification.

To view all of the past webinars and sessions from NCCETC Clean Transportation, Sustainable Fleet Webinar Series from NCCETC and The 100 Best Fleets, as well as the Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference series and others, click here.

Stay tuned for future updates about the 5th annual 2021 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference online at sustainablefleetexpo.com.

Green Garage Winners’ Best Practices for Environmentally-Friendly Fleet Maintenance & Operation

Last year, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC), No Spill Systems, RinseKit and the United Soybean Board sponsored The 100 Best Fleets launch of their new Green Garage Contest. The contest was created to bring together the most progressive and environmentally-committed fleets to share the best practices for eco-friendly vehicle fleet maintenance garages. 

At the end of the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference, the NCCETC hosted a webinar where the winners of the 2020 Green Garage Contest were announced and shared the innovative and simple ways they “green the maintenance garage” through operations improvements and cost savings. The webinar was originally held December 9, 2020 and full videos and transcripts are available for all of the conference’s sessions online

Tom C. Johnson, author of the Green Fleet Awards, the Green Garage Contest and The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas, is the Director of the Green Garage Contest. The winners of the contest are the “best of the best stewards of the environment” Johnson said. 

AND THE WINNER IS… 

The City of Tulsa, Oklahoma was recognized as the Green Garage’s 2020 number one fleet for integrating recycling into their Learning With a Wrench (LWW) internship program. LWW allows students in Union Public Schools to work with City of Tulsa employees who maintain the City’s fleets of trucks, cars, backhoes and other large equipment to gain hands-on vehicle maintenance experience. 

“Oklahoma had an excellent discussion of parts cleaning processes, products used, auditing by the stay and their fluid containment practices,” noted Courtney Boznic, chief judge of the Green Garage Contest.

Through the recycling training, both students and technicians learned to be more aware of the materials used and which ones could be reused or recycled. The first exercise students were given was to create a device to collect oil from quart bottles so that the bottles can be recycled and the oil can be reused to heat the shop during cooler temperatures. 

The Mechanical Shop Supervisor and Instructor of LWW, Gary Burr, has mentored over 100 high school students with the City, two of which were hired as technicians. “The oil collection devices built by the students were dispersed through the shop to help each one of the technicians remember to recycle,” Burr explained.

Burr also worked with technicians and students to find the best location for recycling bins in the shop. The technicians were encouraged to be much more mindful of the waste oil, plastic, paper and cardboard they handled to ensure it was not just thrown away. “Shop-wide participation in recycling improved,” he noted. 

SECOND PLACE

The University of California Irvine’s National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) was recognized as the number one Green University Fleet in North America for its research on electric buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Jack Brouwer, a professor at Irvine and the Director of NFCRC 

Jack Brouwer is a professor at the University of California Irvine and the Director of NFCRC. In a study that compared a 2015 electric hydrogen fuel cell bus with 2018 electric battery buses, the fuel cell bus not only had shorter fueling times, but a longer mile range and higher passenger capacity. While electric battery buses can be more efficient for shorter-range use, fuel cell buses are still a comparable alternative to diesel. 

Hydrogen is also essential for the electric grid’s transition away from non-renewable energy sources. Due to vulnerabilities in solar and wind power, Brouwer explains, only hydrogen is capable of the magnitude of energy storage required for transitioning the grid to 100 percent renewable energy sources. Not only do batteries lack the storage capacity required for seasonal changes, but the lithium and cobalt required to manufacture them are some of the most expensive and trickiest elements to extract.

“There’s just not enough lithium cobalt around to make batteries of the magnitude that we need for accomplishing this energy storage,” Brouwer said. “Hydrogen, on the other hand, can be made from water and renewable electricity.”

Through research, beta-testing, market dynamics and education, the NFCRC is bridging fuel cell technology development and its successful introduction into the marketplace to accelerate its deployment. 

THE 2020 GREEN GARAGE’S TOP 10 FLEETS:

  1. City of Tulsa, Oklahoma
  2. University of California, Irvine
  3. University of California, Davis
  4. Westerville Schools in Ohio
  5. City of Vancouver, Washington
  6. City of Roanoke, Virginia
  7. City of Albany Georgia
  8. Laketran Ohio
  9. West Valley Construction in California
  10. Essential Utilities Company in Pennsylvania

To learn more about best practices from the top performing fleets, the entire December 9 webinar is available to watch online. This free session features operations and facility strategies and techniques from these top performing fleets, providing need-to-know information and comprehensive commitment to green vehicle maintenance.

Vote now for the 2020 Student Art Contest!

Vote now for your favorite art in each age category (kindergarten, middle and high school) for NC Clean Energy Technology Center’s 3rd Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest!

Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep our air clean. Examples: walking, biking, using public transportation, using electric vehicles or biofuels, and more. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org.

Winners in each category will receive a certificate and be featured in a blog post on our website.

The contest poll closes at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 21.

Vote now!

Winners will be announced soon! Stay tuned on nccleantech.ncsu.edu and FuelWhatMatters.org. For more information or any questions, email Nicole Wilson at nadeck@ncsu.edu.

Submit Your Artwork for the 2020 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest

Due to interruptions caused by COVID-19, we have extended the submission deadline to around the end of the 2020 school year, Friday, June 12, to give students more time to submit their art.

Unfortunately, as of right now due to recent funding changes, Student Art Contest winners’ art will no longer be able to be featured on billboards this year. Winners in each category will still be featured in a blog post and receive a special certificate for their achievement. We apologize for the changes and any inconvenience this may have caused. 

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) has officially launched the 3rd Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest, where students in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork to show how to keep the air clean.  Winners will be featured in a blog post and receive special certificates.

Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep our air clean. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using electric vehicles or biofuels, and more. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org.

The winner will be chosen based on:
• Relevance and appropriateness of the message
• Visual design
• Public votes on our Facebook account (link to vote to come once all submissions are received)

See last year’s winners here.

Art submissions will be accepted through Friday, June 12. Please submit here or by emailing Nicole Wilson at nadeck@ncsu.edu. Public voting will begin on Monday, June 15 and last through Sunday, June 21 – stay tuned for a link to vote once all submissions are received!

Artists who are over 18 or parents/legal guardians submitting on behalf of their children can submit artwork by directly emailing Nicole Wilson at nadeck@ncsu.edu. You are agreeing to the legal terms below. Teachers submitting artwork on behalf of their students must return a signed permission form.

Winners will be announced in July. Stay tuned on nccleantech.ncsu.edu and FuelWhatMatters.org!

For more information or any questions, email Nicole Wilson at nadeck@ncsu.edu.

Legal Terms
By submitting this photograph, image, graphic, or video (collectively the “work”) you hereby agree to the following:
• You certify and warrant that you are the legal guardian of the minor who is submitting the artwork or are the artist and are legally an adult.
• 
You certify and warrant that the work is your work or your child’s own original creative work and does not violate or infringe the copyright or other proprietary or intellectual property rights of others.
• 
You retain all copyright and equivalent rights but grant permission for NC State to use, reproduce, distribute, and/or release the work to the public in any manner and in any medium without payment of any fee, and in perpetuity.
• 
North Carolina State University reserves the right to use contestants’ names and works for educational publicity and/or promotional purposes, including website or exhibition of winning entries. You understand that the works will be shared with reporters covering these awards and for promotion of the competition itself. You hereby give North Carolina State University nonexclusive rights to use yours or your child’s name, likenesses, quotes and submissions for educational publicity and/or promotional purposes. This includes but is not limited to website display, print materials and exhibits.
• 
You hereby agree to indemnify NC State, its trustees, officers, agents, and employees, from any and all claims, demands, and liabilities (including attorneys’ fees) incurred as a result of a final judgment or settlement or any claim or legal proceeding arising out of or resulting from a breach or claimed breach of the foregoing representations and warranties.

2020 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest Launches This March

North Carolina students from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state

This Earth Day, show how you help keep the air clean!

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is sponsoring its 3rd Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest this March, where students residing in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork focused on the theme of actions that individuals and families can take to reduce the amount of air pollution from vehicles.

Winners will have their artwork featured on billboards across the state to help spread the word about ways that we all can help keep the air clean!

Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using biofuels, electric vehicles, and more. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted.

Artwork in a more horizontal rectangular shape (about the shape of a billboard) is recommended. Recommended dimensions:

• 400h x 840w pixels at 72 ppi
• 
400h x 1400w pixels at 72 ppi
• 
Save as JPG, PNG or BMP at maximum quality in RGB mode

Note: Text may be added on final billboards with the “Keep Our Air Clean” tagline.

The winner will be chosen based on:
• Relevance and appropriateness of the message, judged by NCCETC
• Visual design, judged by NCCETC
• Public votes on our Facebook account

See last year’s winners here.

The official link and email to submit photos will be posted March 16. Stay tuned for updates on www.facebook.com/NCCleanTech and www.FuelWhatMatters! Email Nicole Wilson at nadeck@ncsu.edu for any questions.