Tag Archives: clean transportation

2021 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest Winners Share Their Story

In the fourth year of the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC)’s “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest, students in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school submitted their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state. Students were asked to create art focused on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep the air clean. NCCETC congratulated three artists located in Black Mountain, Hampstead and Cary, N.C.

Heather Brutz, Finance & Operations Manager of the Clean Transportation Program at NCCETC, and leader of the art contest, said her goals were to educate the public about what steps we can take to improve air quality, as well as engage young people’s creative talents to help get the word out. Brutz said she originally came up with the Student Art Contest while recalling a previous job as a middle school teacher and hoped that the contest would engage young people’s creativity to help spread the message about ways we can reduce air pollution from vehicles. 

“When I was a teacher, I would often try to engage students in a variety of different ways to teach a lesson. I applied that same thinking when I came up with the idea of the art contest. I wanted to engage a different audience than we sometimes engage in our other educational activities and I wanted to engage them in a different sort of activity than what we were already doing,” Brutz explained. “Artwork is so powerful and I wanted to work together with young artists to spread the message about ways we can keep our air clean.”

This year’s artwork was judged by a panel of four judges: Carla Davis, communications coordinator for NC State University’s Sustainability Office; Erin Champion, academic coordinator for the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State University; Traci Rider, assistant professor of architecture in the College of Design at NC State University; and Vincent Fazzio from Lamar Advertising. All of the winners selected by the judges were also voted in the top three artwork in their categories on NCCETC’s Facebook page.

The Center received a great number of submissions from students across the state. Brutz said, “I am very pleased at the number of submissions we received this year. We received 70 art submissions from all across North Carolina. It was a very competitive contest, and while we were only able to choose three winners to have their artwork displayed on billboards, every single young artist who submitted should feel proud of their artwork.”

We talked to winners of the contest about their artwork and what clean air means to them:

Ella Millwood – Elementary School Winner | Black Mountain Elementary School, Black Mountain, NC

Why did you want to enter the contest?

I wanted to enter because I wanted everyone to see what the world could become. 

What does your artwork mean/what were you trying to express?

That people should help keep our air clean.

What does “keep our air clean” mean to you? Why do you think keeping our air clean is important?

I think it is important because if the air is really polluted, we wouldn’t be able to breathe and there would be very little life on earth.

Are you doing things in your own life – like riding your bike, carpooling, etc?

We walk and carpool whenever possible. 

What was your reaction when you found out you won the contest?

I was surprised! I didn’t think I would actually win.

What do you hope will come out of your artwork being up on a billboard for people to see?

People to stop polluting our air and realize what the world could be.

Anything else you’d like to share.

I think that’s all!

Vivienne Butanis – Middle School Winner | Surf City Middle School, Hampstead, NC

Why did you want to enter the contest?

I wanted to enter the Student Art Contest because I wanted to express my disdain for the way we are treating our environment. It was an art class assignment to connect our art class to science. It was a way for me to see how I could interpret the current conditions of our environment into an art piece. 

What does your artwork mean/what were you trying to express?

My artwork is trying to express how badly we are currently treating the environment. My artwork depicts our earth from two points of view: the first point of view shows where the air is polluted, and another point of view of how our environment might look if taken better care of.

What does “keep our air clean” mean to you? Why do you think keeping our air clean is important?

Keeping our air clean is important to me because at the rate we are burning fossil fuels and destroying the ozone layer, the earth won’t be inhabitable much longer which is a big part of why taking care of the environment is vital. We are not protecting the environment for just ourselves but for generations to come.

Are you doing things in your own life – like riding your bike, carpooling, etc?

I like to ride my bike and skateboard so I can get to places without having to increase my carbon footprint. It’s easier to get around in a coastal community only using a skateboard and a bike.

What was your reaction when you found out you won the contest?

I was very surprised and happy because I saw this contest as a good opportunity to put myself out there. My teacher says that art is not meant to be hidden in a drawer. We should put our work out there to cause a change. Sometimes that change is as simple as a thought.

What do you hope will come out of your artwork being up on a billboard for people to see?

I hope that people can see the current state of our environment and strive to make it better. Hopefully it will spark a change in everyone. We can not do everything but we can all do something.

Anything else you’d like to share.

Thank you for the opportunity of this contest that allows us to connect and reach people outside of our communities. 

Ashleigh Smith – High School Winner | Cary Academy, Cary, NC

Why did you want to enter the contest?

I entered the contest because I thought that it provided a unique opportunity to spread an important message, and as an artist I really love to use my artwork to help out in my community if I can. It was also just really fun to make!

What does your artwork mean/what were you trying to express?

There is a really nice greenway near my house and my family and I love to use it to get some exercise or a breath of fresh air by walking, running, skateboarding, or riding our bikes. I was inspired by that greenway and my brother’s love for mountain biking to create a piece that incorporated both and displayed a love for the beauty of nature and the outdoors, which will hopefully help convince people to help keep their air clean.

What does “keep our air clean” mean to you? Why do you think keeping our air clean is important?

The state of our environment is more important to how we live our lives than I think a lot of people realize. If we care for our environment, it will care for us too and that can be as simple as carpooling with a friend or riding your bike to the store instead of driving. 

Are you doing things in your own life – like riding your bike, carpooling, etc?

Yes! I take regular walks with my mom around our neighborhood, and I always try to organize a carpool when going someplace with friends because it’s both environmentally-friendly and fun.

What was your reaction when you found out you won the contest?

I was so surprised, I couldn’t believe it! Everyone who submitted artwork is really talented and I’m glad that my work could be among theirs as well. 

What do you hope will come out of your artwork being up on a billboard for people to see?

I hope that it will inspire people to see the beauty and opportunities that nature holds, and further strive to understand how and why we need to take care of the air. 

Anything else you’d like to share.

Special thanks to my brother for modeling for me, as he is actually the person on the bike silhouetted in my art piece. He let me take pictures of him riding and then I used them to create my work.

Electric Vehicles Are Paving the Way for Emission-Free Transportation

Electric vehicles are gaining popularity as the cost of batteries continues to decrease, and many are beginning to gravitate towards them to not only help save the environment but also to help them save money. Electric vehicles (EVs) are transforming the automotive industry worldwide, with global sales increasing by 43 percent in 2020.

Dave Erb

Today, EVs offer many more advantages than just helping drivers decrease their carbon emissions. ”There are numerous purely automotive reasons to electrify, including noise, vibration and harshness, driver feel, packaging flexibility and acceleration performance,” Dave Erb, a retired automotive engineer who has been driving an EV since 2016, noted.

A study by the University of California Berkeley (UCB) found that electric heavy-duty trucks are already cheaper to own and operate than an internal combustion engine (ICE) truck, and light-duty EVs will hold a total cost of ownership advantage within the next five years.

UCB is not the only observer predicting lower prices, Bloomberg New Energy Finance published their prediction last year that EVs will reach up-front price parity, without subsidies, directly competing with prices for internal combustion vehicles by the mid-2020s.

EVs require less expensive and less frequent maintenance and offer high quality performance, known for operating smoothly and quietly while also providing more torque and agility while driving. “By most measures, EVs are just better vehicles, so the decision to drive them kind of makes itself,” Erb said.

Chris Maxwell

Although some believe recharging EVs is more troublesome than refueling at a gas station, many EV drivers actually find it to be more convenient. Chris Maxwell purchased his first EV in 2016 and drives up to 30,000 miles every year. “The great thing about an EV is you can unplug a soda machine at any old gas station to charge – electricity is everywhere,” Maxwell explained. He doesn’t worry about the range, because he can easily find electricity to recharge.

Range can also be a concern for drivers to switch to electric vehicles, but average electric vehicle range continues to increase while the price of all models continues to decrease. The UCB study states, “In the near future, when the average EV range increases, nearly 98 percent of all daily trips can be taken on a single charge.” By 2025, a number of EV models will be able to provide a range of 350 miles on a single charge, the same average range of light-duty ICE vehicles.

Drivers who purchase an EV are also eligible for tax credits and incentives for making the green choice. Many electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles purchased new are eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. In North Carolina and many other states, qualified EVs may use HOV or carpool lanes, regardless of the number of occupants, allowing them to bypass high congestion traffic areas.

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), maintained by NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC)’s Energy Policy & Markets team, reported that 50 states plus the District of Columbia took a total of 598 policy and deployment actions related to EVs and charging infrastructure in 2020. Their 50 States of Electric Vehicles 2020 Annual Review identified the top ten EV trends which included state policymakers adopting bold EV targets, encouraging charging infrastructure development at multi-family buildings and states & utilities offering additional incentives for low-income customers.

NCCETC Clean Transportation Specialist John Bonitz noted, “With EV’s already lower operational costs, and price-parity predicted with gas vehicles in the next couple years, electrification is an increasingly compelling consideration for many fleet owners.”

The future of EVs is bright as more and more automakers continue electrifying their vehicles. Electric pick-up trucks are on the horizon, too, with Tesla, Ford, Rivian, General Motors, GMC-Hummer, Lordstown Motors and more expected to release models in the next few years.

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.

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.

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.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles Workshop

Alternative Fuel Vehicles Workshop for Local Governments and Citizens

By the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments’ (KTRCOG) Planning Department

Venue

The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments’ (KTRCOG) Planning Department facilitated an Alternative Fuel Vehicles workshop on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The three and one-half hour workshop occurred at Council of Governments headquarter located at 1724 Graham Avenue, Henderson, NC.  The goal of KTRCG is to promote regionalism that provides opportunities for local governments to enhance and improve the quality of life for citizens through the effective delivery of services and programs.

Workshop Purpose

The workshop educated local governments and the public about clean energy alternative fuel solutions and technologies that help reduce transportation-related emissions and air pollutants. Participants received information that allowed them to make informed decisions about implementing alternative fuel use into their department fleet of vehicles and daily lives.

Speaker Lineup

The workshop featured four dynamic presentations from NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) Program Director Rick Sapienza, Alliance AutoGas Municipal and Law Enforcement Specialist Mike Phillips, Blue Arrow Telematics Major Account Consultant Melvin McNeill, and Tesla Advisors Gabriella Kuznik and Kristin Landrum.  The workshop culminated with a video from U.S. House of Representatives Congressmen G.K. Butterfield, D-NC 1st District.  

NC Clean Energy Technology Center

Rick Sapienza gave attendees an overview of the services that NCCETC provides.  Sapienza’s presentation discussed ways that attendees could procure funding opportunities for clean transportation vehicles and infrastructure. Sapienza also stated the importance of capitalizing on alternative fuel and advanced transportation technology incentives to cut costs and reduce emissions.

Alliance AutoGas

Mike Phillips discussed the seven components of a successful Autogas Program.  Phillips emphasized using a top-down buy-in approach to implement a turnkey operation in local government department fleets that cut fuel and maintenance costs, while reducing emissions. 

Blue Arrow Telematics

Melvin McNeill discussed vehicle safety and data solutions for law enforcement offered through using telematics.  Participants gleaned a better understanding of the role telematics plays in driver safety implementation and best practices. The examples McNeill provided as to why government entities should integrate telematics, technology and data solutions into their fleets resonated with workshop attendees.

Tesla

Gabriella Kuznik and Kristin Landrum of Tesla discussed their new product line and electric vehicle technologies coming down the pipeline. From their presentation, attendees realized the role that electric vehicles play in the reduction of emissions.  Also, they did an analysis breakdown, putting into perspective the affordability of a Tesla for the average consumer.

The CCC Approach (Combating Climate Change)

Congressman Butterfield stated the importance of using biofuels to produce crops in rural communities to combat climate change.  The House of Representatives has a goal of attaining zero net emissions, leaving the country carbon-free by 2050. This objective parallels Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 80 initiative to reduce global warming.

Conclusion

Overall, the Alternative Vehicles Workshop was a success.  Evaluation results suggest that participants gained a better understanding of how the transportation sector is the primary direct path to address climate change. Using alternative fuels ensures the reduction of negative emissions.

Posted by Nicole Deck

Duke Energy Electrifies Fleet with Viatec SmartPTO

A Viatec SmartPTO unit. Photo from www.viatec.us.

Duke Energy recently introduced Viatec SmartPTO electric power takeoff units for its bucket truck fleet. The new units allow crews to turn off the diesel engine and rely on electricity when operating the lift – saving on fuel and maintenance costs, extending the life of the trucks, and reducing emissions. The SmartPTO units were funded by NC Clean Energy Technology Center’s (NCCETC) Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) project.

“A major objective of CFAT is to promote and accelerate the adoption of new clean transportation technologies,” said Rick Sapienza, Director of the Clean Transportation Program at NCCETC. “The Viatec SmartPTO is a perfect example of the CFAT mechanism working to its intent.”

The battery outlasts the normal bucket truck shift and charges overnight on a basic 110-volt receptacle, according to Duke Energy. When needed, crews are able to revert to operating the lift from the diesel engine in emergency situations, such as storms, that require 24-hour use. The engine being off also allows crew members to more easily communicate from the bucket to the ground.

“I’m especially pleased for the operators of these trucks and the line-workers who ride in the bucket, because air-quality on the job site is so dramatically improved when these trucks can stop idling,” said John Bonitz, Clean Transportation Specialist at NCCETC.

Duke Energy plans to soon expand SmartPTOs to 24 bucket trucks and is considering making them standard on all new bucket trucks.

“A company of the stature and magnitude of Duke Energy embracing this technology will aid in pushing others in the industry to consider and adopt the SmartPTO technology,” Sapienza said. “SmartPTO is robust from a system standpoint, which means reliability and durability. Also, if there is a system breakdown or failure, the system is a parallel design and the truck can revert to its normal mode of operation. Regardless, the truck can remain in service and complete its job.”

NCCETC estimates that bucket trucks burn nearly a gallon of diesel fuels per hour of idling. Based on an industry study conducted by Quanta Services (Green Truck Show March 2018), an electric PTO system is estimated to save about 1800 gallons of fuel annually, in standard operations. In addition, eliminating the idling on the truck engine also reduces carbon emissions to the tune of almost 38,000 pounds of CO2.  The noiseless operation of systems creates safer operating conditions for the crew and the reduced wear-and-tear on the truck engine extends the truck life.

“The units involve much less integration with the chassis or the aerial equipment relative to their competitors,” said Mike Allison, Duke Energy’s Director of Fleet Design and Technical services. ”There is no loss of performance vs. running off of the diesel engine and chassis PTO. Fuel reductions have been as expected and the units are extremely quiet.”

The CFAT program, which NCCETC has administered since 2006, aims to reduce transportation-related air pollution emissions by funding public and private organizations projects in 24 eligible North Carolina counties. CFAT is supported with federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds provided by the NC Department of Transportation (NC DOT). In 2019, up to $2,350,000 in federal funding is being awarded. The next Request for Proposals for CFAT will be targeted for January 8, 2020, and applications will be due March 17.

In 2018, Town of Apex installed three SmartPTO units after being awarded the CFAT grant. Take a look at many more CFAT funded projects here.

“We are appreciative of the work that has been done by [NCCETC] in making the funds available to jump start our movement to the Viatec system,” Allison said.

“The financial assistance makes the difference between an organization doing a project or not,” Sapienza said. “Quite often once an organization gains experience and realizes the results and impact of the various technologies, they continue expanding their use without funding, because it makes sense due to efficiency, financial and ecological reasons – a win all around.”

Stay updated and learn more about the CFAT grant here.

To get where you want to go