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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.

Posted by Nicole Deck

2019 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference Expo A Success

The 2019 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo showcased the latest and greatest technologies in the biofuels, electric, natural gas and propane arenas – including everything from a 2-seater 6-foot tall electric GEM to a 15-ton Ford F-750 Danville Public Works propane truck with an attached Petersen Lightning Loader.

More than 50 speakers in a variety of backgrounds presented their ideas and practices last week in Durham, NC – highlighting the leading edge of sustainable fleet practices and alternative fuel opportunities – including fleet managers, technicians, company presidents and CEOs, university professors, researchers, analysts, nonprofit managers and more. 

Rick Sapienza, Clean Transportation Program Manager at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, said the event met the main objective well – which was to guide and exchange ideas.

“The conference was strong on all levels – speakers, attendees, and technologies presented,” Sapienza said. 

“It was great to see professionals from different industries and backgrounds coming together to discuss strategies for improving the sustainability of transportation in our state,” said Heather Brutz, Clean Transportation Finance and Operations Manager.

Conference tracks included Trends in Advanced Fuels and Fueling, Integrated Fleet Technology Solutions, and Fleet Efficiency & Sustainability. Within those, the sessions were Electric Vehicles; Propane; Natural Gas; Biofuel Solutions; Telematics; Recruiting, Retention and Career Development; Infrastructure and Intelligent Solutions; Heavy Duty Vehicle Efficiency; Electrification and the Grid; Rural and Small Town Fleet Operations; Fleet Efficiency and Idle Reduction; and Procurement Solutions.

The expo hall was full of more than 40 diverse exhibitors and over a dozen vehicles inside and outside the convention center, including an ECO Vehicle systems propane bus, GoSolar Tesla, EV ARC (a solar-powered vehicle charging by Envision Solar), a plug-in hybrid Durham Police car, Altec JEMS electric bucket truck, a SMARTPTO Viatec bucket truck, Ingevity adsorbed natural gas truck, Dannar Mobile Power Station (MPS) electric work vehicle, Thomas Built Buses Jouley Saf-T-Liner C2 electric school bus, Zero Motorcycles and more.

“This year, the excitement and open two-way conversation stood out. People were engaged,” Sapienza said. 

Fleet managers are looking for ways to improve the performance, efficiency and sustainability of their fleets, and more technology and equipment is coming out to aid in that endeavor, said Allison Carr, Clean Transportation Specialist at NCCETC.

“There is a genuine interest in development and integration of sustainable strategies into fleets,” Sapienza said. “The appetite is there, and there is creativity on the part of the technology providers, as well as the end-users.”

New this year, the pre-conference day included a workshop: Fleet Efficiency & Sustainability in a Campus Setting, where experienced fleet managers discussed the metrics needed to make smart decisions for alternative fuels and technologies in various campus settings. Speakers included William Evans, Princeton University; Chris Facente, UNC Charlotte; Kathy Wellik, Iowa State University; Charles Bey, UNC Asheville; Ronald Gitelman, Yale University; Michael Duffy, University of Virginia (Both Yale University and the University of Virginia are NAFA Sustainable Fleet Accredited, and Iowa State University is in process for accreditation). 

To close-out pre-conference day, the Mobile CARE and NC Smart Fleet Awards were awarded

The Fleets & Advanced Mobility Solutions plenary panel with Greg Treinen of Daimler/Freightliner; Bill Combs of Penske; Stuart Weidie of Alliance AutoGas/Blossman Gas; Michael McDonald of UPS; and moderator Mark Smith of the U.S. Department of Energy – Vehicle Technologies Office; covered what each speaker is doing in their fleet to continue to improve on efficiency, performance and sustainability.

McDonald with UPS said that as a fleet manager, he looks at vehicles and uses what works best in every application – whether is electric, propane, natural gas or biofuel. 

“Every technology that’s been mentioned or not been mentioned has a drawback. There’s no one fuel that solves the problem,” McDonald said. “Ask questions, get as much as you can from the questions you ask, and formulate your own opinion.”

The Planning for an Advanced Transportation Future plenary panel with Geoff Morrison of Cadmus; Diane Turchetta of Federal Highway Administration; Phil Bisesi of ElectriCities; Jibonananda Sanyal of Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Chris Werner of North Carolina Department of Transportation; and moderator Cassie Powers of National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO); covered what each speaker is doing to get ready for the inevitable changes and new advanced technologies coming to the world of transportation. Overall, they agreed that integration, communication, collaboration and partnership were the keywords to make it happen.

Keynote speakers included David Dunn, Fleet and Facilities Management Division Manager of the City of Orlando; and Mark Smith, Technology Integration Program Manager at US Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office.

Smith talked about the state of transportation and where it’s heading; integrating more technology within light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, alternative fuel infrastructure and energy efficient mobility systems and technologies; and the importance of Clean Cities coalitions. Smith said the Department of Energy ‘envisions more choices and more efficient and affordable technology, when and wherever it’s needed.’

Dunn pointed to the ways the City of Orlando continues to work to make its fleet more sustainable. He said that change doesn’t have to happen overnight – successful results can be slow and steady.

“Sustainability is not a destination; it is a never-ending journey,” Dunn said.

Presenter PowerPoint presentations will soon be available at www.SustainableFleetExpo.com. Stay tuned for next year’s conference dates!

Fleet Efficiency & Sustainability in a Campus Setting

Neighborhood electric vehicle fleet at UNC Charlotte. Photo provided by Chris Facente at UNC Charlotte.

 

Pre-Conference Day Workshop: Fleet Efficiency & Sustainability in a Campus Setting

Tuesday, August 6 | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

This session, on pre-conference day before the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo 2019 in Durham, NC, will focus on the metrics needed to make smart decisions for alternative fuels and technologies in various campus settings. Maintenance will be discussed as part of the conversation along with how to equip fleets for these changes. Learn from real-world case studies and experienced fleet managers working in campus settings. Specific topics will include a look at total cost of ownership, applications, examples of vehicles, and what the future holds for fleets.

Speakers:
William Evans – Princeton University
Chris Facente – UNC Charlotte
Kathy Wellik – Iowa State University
Charles Bey – UNC Asheville
Ronald Gitelman – Yale University
Michael Duffy – University of Virginia

Both Yale University and the University of Virginia are NAFA Sustainable Fleet Accredited, and Iowa State University is in process for accreditation.

Learn more about the workshop and conference, and register now at www.sustainablefleetexpo.com!

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