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Cedar City’s newly improved CNG Station touted as environmentally friendly and cheaper than gas [St. George News]

Copied from St. George news on June 10th, 2022

Cedar City’s newly improved CNG Station touted as environmentally friendly and cheaper than gas

CEDAR CITY — Drivers of vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas now can access a more efficient fueling station at Cedar City’s J R’s Truck Stop, which Utah Inland Port Authority’s executive director Jack C. Hedge said will both cost and pollute less.

A group photo taken just before the ribbon-cutting for the newly improved CNG station at JR’s Truck Stop, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2022 | Photo by Free Reyes, St. George News

On May 25, officials from Dominion Energy and their partners gathered at the truck stop for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly improved CNG station.

Dominion Energy’s partners included the Utah Inland Port Authority, Utah Clean Cities, Lancer Energy,  J-W  Power company and American CNG.

“It’s been a collaboration of competitors and we’ve come together for a cause and it’s a great story to share,” said Dominion Energy Manager of Operations Brett Brown, adding that the station offers a functional option for large truck transport.

Brown said the station originally was established in 2014 and that customer volume has increased by 300% over the last three years.

Customer demand prompted Dominion Energy to send a team to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to learn about increasing pump speeds – J-W Power Company’s compressor technology, which now is being utilized at the new station.

Brown said it would take about 45-50 minutes to fill a large truck’s tank with natural gas before the improvements, but that time’s now been cut to approximately 10 minutes, making it the fastest in the state. Filling up at the new CNG station takes less time than at a regular diesel fuel pump, Hedge added.

Sales director Nate Thacker using the CNG station at JR’s Truck Stop, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2022 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, Cedar City News

“And time means money to a truck driver,” he said.

Additionally, a unit of natural gas is less than half the price of a gallon of diesel, Brown said. With inflation heavily impacting fuel prices, adding cost-efficiency can reduce the price of end products, said Hedge.

Sales Director Nate Thacker and his team from American CNG presented a hybrid bus that runs on a blend of natural gas and diesel fuel, which served as a backdrop to the celebration.

The bus has a short drive range of approximately 70-100 miles, but other models can travel farther. The technology can be used with any existing diesel asset, Thacker said.

American CNG converts diesel-fueled vehicles so they will run on blended fuel types, so having access to both CNG and diesel at the truck stop is “phenomenal,” said Thacker.

“We’re super excited about this,” he said. “I’ve got my own vehicle. When I drove down, I decided to stop at this one and fuel up here versus the slower filling stations at other places – come in here real quick and get it done.”

Dominion Energy currently has over 230 vehicles running on natural gas within their service area, said Brown, adding that there are 22 CNG stations within Utah and Wyoming.

Location and freight

Interstate 15 is one of the most important freight corridors in North America and Cedar City is an important waypoint for cargo and goods between the “giant markets” on the west coast and production areas of the Midwest, Hedge said.

Trucks pulled up to the CNG station at JR’s Truck Stop, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2022 | Photo by Free Reyes, St. George News

“That’s why this place has become such a hotbed for truck stops, truck maintenance and refueling and tire repair and all those things,” he said. “It’s because of its location.”

Hedge said 30-40% of the nation’s import and export cargo flows through Utah. Of goods consumed on a daily basis, 90% come from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California and travel into Utah by truck.

“So something like this is super important to reduce the carbon footprint,” he said.

The Utah Inland Port Authority was created by the State Legislature in 2018 to evaluate the movement of goods transferred to and from Utah, Hedge said.

Its mission is to promote smart, sustainable logistics solutions through infrastructure investments, added the organization’s Chief Operating Officer Jill Flygare.

Trucks pulled up to the CNG station at JR’s Truck Stop, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2022 | Photo by Free Reyes, St. George News

“(The CNG station) really fits well within our mission of building out the infrastructure that moves goods more efficiently through the system,” she said. “And it helps with our jurisdictional area and getting those goods to all of the end-users within the Intermountain West.”

UPS moves freight between Southern California and its distribution center in Salt Lake City, covering the entire intermountain region, Hedge said, adding that access to CNG stations reduces the carbon footprint associated with that work and makes moving cargo more efficient and cost-effective while improving air quality.

“If you bought it, a truck brought it,” he said. “Literally … everything came in a truck. Projects like this are going to make that movement by truck more efficient, less polluting, less costly.”

The supply chain is the lifeblood of the economy, Hedge said.

 

 

Sustainability

Large truck transportation is likely the biggest offender of urban emissions, said Brown, adding that diesel-fuel emissions can be reduced to near-zero by utilizing renewable natural gas, like that available at the truck stop. Renewable natural gas can be harvested from facilities that produce it naturally, such as landfills, wastewater treatment plants and farms.

The CNG station at JR’s Truck Stop, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2022 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, Cedar City News

The benefits go beyond the point of zero emissions because the station is utilizing renewable fuels that otherwise would have been released as greenhouse gasses, said Tammie Bostick, the executive director of Utah Clean Cities.

Utah Clean Cities is part of the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office and has been working on vehicles that use alternative fuel and related infrastructure in Utah for 35 years. The organization is focused on Utah-based energy, such as renewable natural gas, electric and propane, she said.

Additionally, the organization is working to make hydrogen fuel more accessible. The gas can be produced from methane with a process called steam methane reformation and then injected into a pipeline to be transported to a distant location or used on-site at an H2 station, said Bostick.

Because the fuels are all sourced stateside, local decision-making, the use of local infrastructure and vehicles and energy independence all will be encouraged, Bostick said, adding that rising gas prices should serve as a reminder to consider alternatives.

“We have one opportunity – and it’s now – to get it right,” she said. “And so getting it right with advanced and alternative fuels is our opportunity today. And so, when we look at the Build Back Better funding, don’t shake your head and say, ‘Ah! Federal dollars, just coming our way.’ Shake your head yes and open your hand and make a plan because this is the time to make your plans and to have your transportation opportunities be realized.”

A truck filling up at the CNG station at JR’s Truck Stop, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2022 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, Cedar City News

The Utah Inland Port Authority is partnering with Dominion Energy and Lancer Energy to build advanced fuel facilities like the one at J R’s Truck Stop across Utah, Hedge said. The organization is also part of the Project Beehive initiative which aims to develop a renewable fueling station in Salt Lake City that will provide multiple refueling options, including hydrogen, electric and CNG.

“We hope to replicate this in numerous locations around the state,” he said. “We’re moving as fast as we can move to get these done.”

Renewable natural gas has been available at the truck stop since 2020, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 8,000 metric tons, which Brown said is the equivalent of removing approximately 3,490 cars from the road.

Dominion Energy is working with partners in an effort to be an industry leader in sustainable energy, Brown added.

“We’d like to leave places better than we found them,” Brown said.

 

 

Vehicle conversion

American CNG sells replacement and original equipment manufacturer parts that can be used to convert a vehicle to run on dedicated natural gas or blended fuel. Thacker said the company realized there was a “hole in the market,” because of the long waitlist to purchase CNG vehicles.

A mock-up of how American CNG plans to paint the hybrid bus that runs on a blend of diesel fuel and CNG, which they’ll use to visit schools, no date or location specified | Image courtesy of American CNG, Cedar City News

The company’s primary focus is to help users of diesel engines transition into alternative fuel, said Thacker, adding that the hybrid technology allows drivers to begin using CNG as they purchase dedicated technology.

Additionally, the parts are transferable. If a school district replaces a 20-year-old bus, they can install the parts in the new vehicle.

American CNG also sells parts to other companies to convert diesel and gasoline engines, as well, Thacker said. And the company plans to convert 100,000 trucks in the next five years and 1,000 by 2023.

“Our technology is essentially a bridge to allow people to start moving into the alternative fuel technology,” he said. “And we’re just here to grow the infrastructure and the awareness as much as possible”

Updated June 13, 1:10 p.m.: Adds information about making hydrogen fuel more accessible.

Photo Gallery

 

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Tech Q of the Week: Role of Electric Utilities in Owning Charging Equipment?

Information provided by Technical Response Team (May 2022)

 

Which states allow electric utilities to own electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment? What is the role of electric utilities in owning EV charging equipment?

 

Please see the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Examples of Utility-Related Laws and Incentives webpage for a summary of utility programs that promote and incentivize EVs and EV charging infrastructure and for multiple examples of utility EV programs. Some state legislatures pass mandates that require utilities to begin incentive or pilot programs. Similarly, state governors may issue executive orders that require utilities or commissions to begin a program. Typically, these mandates support a state goal related to zero emission vehicle deployment, EV charging infrastructure, or greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Utilities must still get commission approval for new rates, rebates, grants, and programs even though the state legislature or governor mandated the program(s).

 

Utah

  • Utah is one state that has directed programs with utility-owned EV charging stations:
  • House Bill 296, 2020, and Utah Code 54-4-41 authorize the Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) to establish a large-scale EVSE program with utility-owned EVSE, EVSE rate structures, and public education. This bill stimulates utility filings with the Utah PSC, but the bill alone does not require that utilities submit filings. Instead, Utah’s legislature requires that the commission make funding available for EVSE programs. Whether utilities will be required to submit a filing rests on whether the PSC requires utilities in its jurisdiction to file for the program or not.

 

Colorado

Colorado  has also authorized utility-owned EV charging stations:

  • Public Electric Utility Services Authorization
  • Public electric utilities may provide electricity to charge EVs as unregulated or regulated services and may recover the costs of distribution system and infrastructure investments to accommodate EV charging. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (Commission) should consider revenues from charging EVs in the utilities service territory in evaluating the retail rate impact from the development of EVSE, which cannot exceed 0.005% of the total annual revenue requirements of the utility.
  • Public electric utilities are required to file an application with the Commission for widespread transportation electrification programs every three years. Programs may include investments or incentives to facilitate the deployment of customer- or utility-owned EVSE and associated electrical equipment, facilitate electrification of public transit and other vehicle fleets, rate designs or programs that encourage EV charging, and customer education, outreach, and incentive programs that increase awareness of transportation electrification.(Reference Colorado Revised Statutes 40-1-103.3, 40-3-116, and 40-5-107)

 

Other states that allow utility-owned EV charging stations include Nevada, Kentucky, Florida, and Arizona.

 

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rural EV Toolkit provides an overview of the importance of electric utilities in developing EVSE:

“Electric utilities are responsible for the delivery of electricity to homes and businesses, including metering, billing, and customer service. Accordingly, utilities play an essential part in the rollout of EV charging infrastructure, and they are among the first partners that should be considered for EVSE installations.

Utilities have a strong interest in the deployment of EVSE, and they have been investing heavily in both the deployment of EVs and the rollout of charging infrastructure. In the first seven months of 2020, State regulators approved more than $760 million in proposed utility investments in transportation electrification. The majority of these programs involve either direct utility ownership of EVSE installations or “make-ready” programs in which utilities pay for necessary site upgrades.”

 

Further, see the Rural EV Toolkit webpage on Project Development and Scoping, which provides an overview of different ownership models and the different levels of ownership a utility may have of an EV charging site. In particular, see the section and graphic underneath the Decide on Ownership Model. The EVSE Only and Full Ownership models are two models where the utility owns the EVSE. The Rural Toolkit also acknowledges that state regulations may impact how utilities own and manage EV charging infrastructure. These regulations vary widely and therefore pose different considerations for potential business models and arrangements among site hosts, electric utilities, and charging station network operators. 

 

Regarding full ownership models, the following excerpt from the Avista Transportation Electrification Plan describes why the electric utility chose the ownership models in their EVSE pilot program:

“Avista chose the “EVSE only” and “full ownership” models for the EVSE pilot as an alternative to other, more common utility EVSE rebate and “make-ready” programs. It was felt that by utilizing existing supply panels and other supply infrastructure owned by the customer in residential and commercial locations in the “EVSE only” model, costs could be much lower than comparable “make ready” installations with new dedicated services and infrastructure. Further, it seemed possible that utility EVSE ownership and maintenance might be an effective way to provide the most value and satisfaction for customers in terms of reducing the costs, risks and difficulties of installing EVSE, while providing a means for effective load management, without the need for further incentives or a time-of-use (TOU) rate to shift peak loads. Due to the more substantial investments and effort to implement DC fast charging sites and maintain them, the full utility ownership model was chosen to ensure long-term DC fast charging operability and public access.“

 

Finally, electric utilities are highly engaged in the development of EV charging. More than 60 electric utilities make up the National Electric Highway Coalition (NEHC), which is a collaboration among electric utilities committing to create a network of direct current (DC) fast charging stations connecting major highway systems in the United States. The coalition member companies serve more than 120 million U.S. electric customers in 48 states. NEHC utility members agree to ensure efficient and effective fast charging deployment plans that enable long distance EV travel, avoiding duplication among coalition utilities, and complement existing corridor DC fast charging sites. A full list of NEHC members is available on their fact sheet.

 

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Drive Clean Rural USA program demonstrates alternative vehicle use in Southern Utah [St. George News]

Copied from St. George news on June 4th, 2022

Alternative fueled vehicles are being explored by the Drive Clean Rural USA program, Zion National Park has two battery-electric buses, Springdale, Utah.

ST. GEORGE — Alternatives to fuel-driven vehicles may soon be on the road as Washington County and five counties in Southern Utah explore the Drive Clean Rural USA program opportunities. 

Photo illustration courtesy of Pexels, St. George News

The program is funded in part by the Department of Energy Vehicles Technology program. Utah is one of eight states chosen for the project, which involves county government and private fleet partners. The groups will receive free assistance from Utah Clean Cities once they commit to the program. The three-phase project will run through June 2024.  

“The pilot project goes into rural communities to work with them to build out an advanced alternative transportation plan with the alternative fuels in Utah: propane, electric, natural gas and possibly hydrogen,” Tammie Bostick, Utah Clean Cities Coalition Executive Director, said.

According to the Utah Clean Cities website, the program assists local governments and organizations save money by transitioning vehicle fleets to clean fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. Large cities nationwide have many businesses, hospitals, schools, and local governments that have started the process.

Bostick said that rural communities often miss out on the benefits of alternative transportation because they don’t have enough access to information, infrastructure, and financing support.
An electric bus in Zion National Park, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

The goal of the program is to help communities build an advanced alternative transportation plan designed by the community’s leadership and their fleet expertise.

A Drive Clean Rural Utah tour is currently in the planning stages for Southern Utah and other rural Utah communities to demonstrate state-of-the-art alternative vehicles. Bostick said this would allow different regional communities to try out the various state-of-the-art vehicle options for alternative transportation. 

She said that the demonstrations would start ideally at Zion National Park, head to Bryce Canyon National Park, and then finish in Moab, bringing along nearby parks and public lands.

These partnerships are in the negotiation stages, Bostick said. Later, they hope to demonstrate the vehicles at more parks around Utah, including state parks, national monuments, and other recreation areas.

“For the parks, we have a collection of six to eight all-electric vehicles, everything from light-duty trucks to full-size trucks to sporty three-wheelers. There are some ideally sized small utility size yard trucks,” Bostick said. “We plan to launch a campaign across our major national parks and possibly state parks if our timeline permits.”

The communities and organizations could try out these advanced vehicles for a few weeks at a time to see if the new technologies are comparable to traditional vehicles.  

“We think they are really going to enjoy the electric vehicles in the parks, as the range is perfect and the fueling is on-site. It is a plug-and-go system,” Bostick said.

A public demonstration of the Drive Clean Rural Utah program is in the planning stages for St. George through the Five County Association of Governments (FCAG).

“We definitely need to look at this program; we’re excited,” Scott Buys, FCAG Mobility Manager, said. “We are interested in becoming more educated and seeing what options are out there.” 

Buys said there’s a big push to give attention to rural areas from the Utah Department of Transportation. He was recently in a meeting where the Utah Department of Transportation discussed long-range alternative transportation.

Alternative transportation would help the environment and the residents that FCAG serves.

“I’m an advocate for what we call our target population, which is seniors, people with disabilities and low income, accessing public transportation for the five counties,” Buys said. “That’s Garfield, Kane, Beaver, Iron and Washington County, so it’s a big area. With this comes some geographical challenges because we have mostly rural areas.”

Buys said larger towns like St. George and Cedar City already have many buses. But in the rural areas, it’s a challenge to keep drivers since wages are sometimes lower. But he is optimistic due to the recent federal funds set aside for the program.

“I understand that the feds allocated additional funds for rural areas, which I’m delighted to hear because that’s where a lot of our needs are even though they’re a smaller population,” Buys said. “Sometimes the rural areas can be the ones that get left out and yet have some of the greatest needs; whether it’s transportation, medical attention, and those sorts of things.”

Buys said FCAG is learning more about the program and how they can be involved more with the Drive Clean Rural USA program. 

“One of the big questions is affordability,” Buys said. “We’re supportive if we can find ways to have cleaner air and improve the quality of air and the emissions in all communities.”

 Buys said the program is unique because it’s not just electric vehicles. Many different alternative fuels are being explored. 

Businesses and non-profits can receive incentives for fueling these alternative fueled vehicles. In the case of electric cars, Rocky Mountain Power offers incentives for installing electric vehicle charging stations, covering up to 75% of charger costs depending on the project. According to the Drive Electric Utah website, electric vehicle charging will help encourage clean transportation and improve Utah’s air quality.

Federal tax credits of up to $7500 for all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars purchased after 2010 are available. The credit amount will vary based on the battery’s capacity to power the vehicle. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, state and local incentives may also apply.

According to the Drive Electric Utah website, there is a grant for businesses, non-profit organizations, and other governmental entities to apply for reimbursement of up to 50% of the purchase and installation costs for electric vehicle supply equipment. This grant is the workplace charging program funded by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, DEQ.

For webinars and events about different types of fuel, click here.

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Using Mapping Tools to Prioritize EV Charger Benefits to Underserved Communities

*Utah Clean Cities was a selected reviewer for this report

Report by Argonne National Laboratory – Energy Systems and Infrastructure Analysis Division
May 2022

 

A new Argonne report describes the important role mapping tools play in incorporating equity goals in planning, implementation, and evaluation of investments in EV chargers such as the NEVI Program. The report, “Using Mapping Tools to Prioritize Electric Vehicle Charger Benefits to Underserved Communities,” was authored by Argonne and Margaret Smith, DOE-VTO. Building on the Justice40 Initiative, the report has examples of how to apply mapping tools to identify priority locations for installing EV chargers with the best potential to benefit energy and environmental justice underserved communities.

 

 

“Mapping tools can play an important role in incorporating equity into planning, implementing, and evaluating investments in electric vehicle (EV)
charging stations, also referred to as EV chargers or electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Federal, state, and local organizations need methodologies for using mapping tools as they pursue equity-focused goals to ensure that the benefits of investments in EV chargers flow to energy and environmental justice (EEJ) underserved communities. This report provides examples of how to apply mapping tools to identify priority locations for installing EV chargers that may benefit EEJ underserved communities through four EV charger planning approaches: corridor charging, community charging, fleet electrification, and diversity in STEM and workforce development”

 

 

 

 

In this report, we explore four EV charger planning approaches: corridor charging, community charging, fleet electrification, and diversity in STEM and workforce development. We document these approaches to prioritizing EV charging station benefits to EEJ underserved communities using mapping tools developed through robust stakeholder engagement with industry leaders.

The objectives used in the four approaches intersect and can be customized to meet specific energy and environmental justice goals. Approach objectives include:

  • Build a nationwide network of FHWA-designated EV corridors;
  • Accelerate equitable adoption of EVs, including for those who cannot reliably charge at home;
  • Implement the Justice40 goal that 40% of overall benefits of Federal investment in EV charging flow to DACs;
  • Identify priority census tracts for DCFC placement within 1 mile of EV corridors that benefit nearby EEJ underserved communities;
  • Identify priority census tracts for community EV charging (Level 2 and/or DCFC) that benefit nearby EEJ underserved communities;
  • Decarbonize the transportation sector including fleet vehicles that operate in EEJ underserved communities;
  • Increase diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs through EV charger placement; and
  • Increase workforce development opportunities for EEJ underserved communities through EV charger placement.

View the Report Here

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Federal Funding for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Report 2022

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The world’s largest hydrogen-battery hybrid mine haul truck starts work

Originally posted on Electrek.co May 6th, 2022

UK-headquartered multinational mining company Anglo American today launched a a prototype of the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck in South Africa.

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Biden Administration Announces $3.16 Billion from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Boost Domestic Battery Manufacturing and Supply Chains

 

DOE Funding Will Support Growing Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage Demands Through Increased Battery Manufacturing, Processing, and Recycling

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $3.1 billion in funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make more batteries and components in America, bolster domestic supply chains, create good-paying jobs, and help lower costs for families. The infrastructure investments will support the creation of new, retrofitted, and expanded commercial facilities as well as manufacturing demonstrations and battery recycling. DOE is also announcing a separate $60 million to support second-life applications for batteries once used to power EVs, as well as new processes for recycling materials back into the battery supply chain. Both funding opportunities are key components of the Administration’s whole-of-government supply chain strategy to strengthen America’s energy independence to reduce our reliance on competing nations and support the President’s goal to have electric vehicles make up half of all vehicles sales in America by 2030.

“Positioning the United States front and center in meeting the growing demand for advanced batteries is how we boost our competitiveness and electrify our transportation system,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “President Biden’s historic investment in battery production and recycling will give our domestic supply chain the jolt it needs to become more secure and less reliant on other nations—strengthening our clean energy economy, creating good paying jobs, and decarbonizing the transportation sector.”

With the global lithium-ion battery market expected to grow rapidly over the next decade, DOE is working with industry to prepare the United States for increased market demand. As of the end of March 2022, more than 2.5 million plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in America, with more than 800,000 of those having been sold since President Biden took office. Battery costs have fallen more than 90% and since 2008, and energy density and performance have increased rapidly, paving the way for an accelerated transition to zero-emission vehicles. Responsible and sustainable domestic sourcing of the critical materials used to make lithium-ion batteries—such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite—will help avoid or mitigate supply chain disruptions and accelerate battery production in America to meet this demand and support the adoption of electric vehicles.

“For too long, other countries have been outpacing the United States in funding new technologies. We are at a critical moment in our competition to build the next generation of electric vehicles and batteries here in America and to secure Michigan’s automotive leadership in these next generation vehicles. Thanks to our bipartisan efforts in Congress, and with the President’s leadership, this funding will help us win this race by investing in our supply chain and manufacturing here at home. Our workers are the best in the world, and there’s nothing more American than ensuring that our products and technology are built in America,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI).

“I secured provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support the domestic critical mineral supply chain used in battery production,” said U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (NV). “Nevada’s innovation economy is at the forefront of battery manufacturing and recycling, and the infrastructure law could bring vital new investments to the state. These grants to grow U.S. battery manufacturing are going to create good-paying jobs, spur our economic competitiveness, and help us combat the climate crisis. I appreciate Secretary Granholm and the dedicated staff of the Department of Energy for advancing this priority in timely manner.”

“The future of mobility is electric – and this support could help to ensure Michigan remains on the forefront of innovation by shoring up our supply chains for advanced battery technologies necessary to deploy the next all-electric fleet,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI). “I was proud to help secure this funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to lessen our dependence on foreign producers like the Chinese government for these critical technologies – and help our automakers meet the growing demand for cleaner, safer cars.”

“Establishing a new generation of mobility in this country requires bringing our supply chain home, investing in domestic production of minerals and materials for electric vehicle batteries, and creating good-paying, union jobs here in Michigan and the United States,” said U.S Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-12). “Today’s announcement utilizing funding provided by my battery material legislation enacted under the IIJA demonstrates the Biden Administrations commitment to making good on our promise of ensuring half of all auto sales are electric vehicles by 2030. We have a lot of work to do to meet that goal, but today marks an important milestone in our efforts. In the days and weeks ahead, I will continue to bring labor, environmental advocates, industry leaders, and elected officials together to move us forward.”

“The 13th Congressional District is home to many frontline communities that have already seen the devastating impacts of climate change which underline the urgent need for a just and equitable energy transition,” said U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (MI-13). “I am thankful to Secretary Granholm and the Department of Energy for visiting our communities and investing in the future with the announcement of funding to increase battery production. This type of funding is what we need to ensure that a green future is accessible to all.  I look forward to continuing to work with the DOE to ensure we rapidly deliver clean, renewable energy and a livable planet for generations to come.”

The “Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing” and “Electric Drive Vehicle Battery Recycling and Second Life Applications” funding opportunities are aligned with the National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries, authored by the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries, and led by DOE and the Departments of Defense, Commerce, and State. The blueprint details a path to bolstering the domestic battery supply by equitably creating a robust and diverse battery workforce by 2030. In alignment with President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, establishing a goal that 40% of the benefits of Federal investments in climate and clean energy flow to disadvantaged communities, applicants for new funding opportunities will be prompted to consider how project benefits can flow to relevant disadvantaged communities. DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity today issued a letter to Americans that reiterates this mandate as a priority for President Biden’s Administration.

Strengthening America’s Supply Chains 

In response to President Biden’s Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains, DOE issued a 100-day review of the large capacity battery supply chain which recommended establishing domestic production and processing capabilities for critical materials to support a fully domestic end-to-end battery supply chain, as well as investments in battery recycling and the circular economy to increase domestic supply and reduce the future need for new extraction and raw materials.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law directs more than $7 billion to strengthen the U.S. battery supply chain, which includes producing and recycling critical minerals without new extraction or mining and sourcing materials for domestic manufacturing. The funding opportunities mark the first to be released as a collaboration between DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the new Office of Manufacturing and Supply Chains, created by DOE’s organizational realignment to ensure that the Department has the structure needed to effectively implement the clean energy investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Energy Act of 2020. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also includes $7.5 billion for electric vehicle chargers, $5 billion for electric transit buses, and $5 billion for clean and electric school buses.

To learn more about these opportunities visit EERE Exchange.

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Could a ‘hydrogen hub’ energize Utah and the West to a cleaner future? [SL Tribune]

Copied from annoucemet from Salt Lake Tribune on April 22nd, 2022

Energy storage and long-haul transportation could be powered by the littlest atoms.

This story is part of The Salt Lake Tribune’s ongoing commitment to identify solutions to Utah’s biggest challenges through the work of the Innovation Lab.

 

Hydrogen is getting the hype these days. Does it have the hope to match?

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Renerable Innovations CEO Robert L. Mount demonstrates a mobile electric vehicle charging trailer at the company's facility in American Fork, Friday, April 15, 2022. Using hydrogen as a fuel source, the unit can provide charging in places away from the electric grid.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Renewable Innovations CEO Robert L. Mount demonstrates a mobile electric vehicle charging trailer at the company’s facility in American Fork, Friday, April 15, 2022. Using hydrogen as a fuel source, the unit can provide charging in places away from the electric grid.

In February, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox joined governors from Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming to announce their pursuit of a federal “hydrogen hub.” The U.S. Department of Energy has allocated $8 billion to establish four such hubs as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed last year.

“Clean hydrogen is key to cleaning up American manufacturing and slashing emissions from carbon-intensive materials like steel an

d cement while creating good-paying jobs for American workers,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said when announcing the initiative.

With the DOE soon to release a detailed request for proposals, the four states have formed the “Western Inter State Hydrogen Hub”

(WISHH) with the intent of having facilities in all four states.

The first element on the periodic table, hydrogen is just a single proton and electron. But the energy stored in a molecule of two hydrogen atoms – energy that can be liberated without harmful emissions – has made hydrogen a tempting air-quality solution for decades. It burns clean or it can be converted to electricity in fuel cells, with water vapor being the only byproduct.

But to get into the nation’s energy mainstream, hydrogen has to overcome challenges to producing and transporting it. It also is a highly flammable material that requires high-pressure storage, and it has to get past public perceptions over safety.

A cave full of fuel

Hydrogen is found everywhere on earth, but it’s tied up in other materials. There is very little fuel-ready hydrogen to be tapped or mined. It must be created through a variety of processes, some cleaner than others. Those processes take energy, but much of that energy can be later retrieved. In other words, hydrogen works as a battery.

Utah may someday have the largest hydrogen battery in the world. The Intermountain Power Agency (IPA) is working to convert its coal-fired power plant near Delta into a major source of renewable electricity for Los Angeles, powering the plant with “green” hydrogen produced from solar and wind power.

That hydrogen will be stored in a massive underground salt dome below the Millard County power plant so it can be converted into electricity when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, even months later. The four states’ letter to the Energy Department specifically mentions “favorable geology to support underground storage” as an asset that should be included in the DOE’s hub criteria.

“That is storing renewable energy in the form of green hydrogen in the spring months, where it is produced in excess due to low energy market requirements,” said Rob Webster, chief strategy officer for Magnum Development and ACES Delta, which owns the salt domes and is partnering with IPA. “This renewable energy can then be returned to the market in a variety of ways during months where requirements are peaking.”

But it will take years for IPA to get there. First it is converting the coal plant to burn a combination of natural gas and hydrogen. Over time, the plan is to reduce the natural gas as more hydrogen from renewable sources becomes available.

Powering trucks and trains

Hydrogen fuel cells have been around for years and were once seen as a promising clean-car technology. But lithium batteries have outpaced fuel cells as the alternative for passenger cars.

Bigger vehicles with longer trips will be hydrogen’s niche, says Free Reyes, executive vice president at Lancer Energy. Salt Lake City-based Lancer works with companies to convert their truck fleets from diesel to compressed natural gas, but hydrogen is a growing part of the business.

(Stadler Rail) Artist's rendering shows a hydrogen-powered train being built for Southern California by Stadler Rail. Future hydrogen trains will be built in Utah.

“Weight is 100% why hydrogen is a major factor,” says Reyes. “Today, we have heavy-duty class-8 hydrogen trucks with a range of up to 500 miles, and in 2024 we will have trucks that can go up to 900 miles

without refueling.”

And, importantly for the Wasatch Front, a hydrogen-fueled truck does not contribute air pollution.

(Stadler Rail) Artist’s rendering shows a hydrogen-powered train being built for Southern California by Stadler Rail. Future hydrogen trains will be built in Utah.

That’s also why Stadler Rail is getting into the hydrogen train business. The Swiss-based company is building a hydrogen-fueled passenger train that will run from Redlands to San Bernardino, and eventually to downtown Los Angeles, adding nothing but water vapor to Southern California’s gritty air.

That train is being built in Switzerland, but “future orders for hydrogen trains in the U.S. are expected to be manufactured here in Utah,” said Matt Sibul, director of sales and program development at Stadler’s northwest Salt Lake City plant.

Another Utah company, Renewable Innovations, is focused on providing mobile and stationary power systems to provide hydrogen-fueled electric power where there isn’t a practical way to connect to the power grid.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) A mobile power unit that uses hydrogen for energy is on display at Renewable Innovations in American Fork, Friday, April 15, 2022.

Renewable recently announced a collaboration with General Motors to put GM’s hydrogen fuel cells in the company’s electric-vehicle charging stations and other products. The company has a truck-mounted version for charging multiple cars, which they recently demonstrated at an off-road rally that included electric cars. They also have stationary units for rapid charging stations, all powered by hydrogen.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) A mobile power unit that uses hydrogen for energy is on display at Renewable Innovations in American Fork, Friday, April 15, 2022.

Lynn Barney, co-founder and chairman of Renewable Innovations, says the rise of electric cars is happening faster than the electric grid can keep up, particularly when rapid charging requires more powr than is available in most convenience stores and gas stations.

“The advantage we offer with hydrogen is we don’t have to wait for the grid upgrade,” said Barney.

 

 

Is hydrogen safe?

Relatively speaking, yes. It’s flammable, and it’s stored under pressure, but the same can be said for other fuels, including propane. Hydrogen requires higher pressures, meaning stronger storage tanks, but unlike fossil fuels it’s not an environmental threat if it leaks. And the DOE points out that because it’s lighter than air, leaks dissipate quickly.

Reyes from Lancer Energy credits the development of lightweight carbon-fiber tanks with making hydrogen trucks more practical. Hydrogen is less “energy dense” than natural gas, so the tanks must be higher pressure. But he says the tanks will actually outlast the trucks and will be tested and redeployed in new trucks.

And Sibul from Stadler Rail said the transit district buying their hydrogen train required that the train run all day without refueling. To do that, the train carries a large, high-pressure hydrogen tank. Sibul said the system had to go through rigorous safety testing. “We have to make absolutely sure the tanks are very strong.”

Can we make enough?

The most economical and widely used way to make hydrogen is to produce it from methane, a fossil fuel. Green hydrogen, which is produced without generating any carbon dioxide, is still more expensive and less common.

The coming refueling station at Utah Inland Port, which is promising to be the cleanest port in the nation, is part of something called Project Beehive, an effort to convert heavy vehicles in Utah to cleaner fuels. The effort includes Bayotech, a company that makes small-scale hydrogen production facilities that could be deployed at fueling stations. Bayotech’s technology is lower carbon than traditional hydrogen production, but it’s not carbon free.

Still, transition to any hydrogen power makes it easier to get all the way to carbon-free hydrogen. A gray hydrogen-fueled system can run on green hydrogen without any alterations.

So reducing the cost of green hydrogen is a crucial factor, and the federal government’s stimulus is intended to build out infrastructure to provide enough economies of scale for a green hydrogen industry to survive on its own.

Why a hydrogen hub?

So can four states that collectively cover 11% of the nation really be considered a “hub”? Here’s what the four states told the DOE:

“We believe “close proximity” should not be defined by geographic distance, but rather by the ability to economically produce and efficiently move clean hydrogen – and hydrogen-derived products – throughout the region and more broadly.”

Also noteworthy, the four states are at the heart of western fossil fuel production, where rural communities are struggling to identify a new path. The states also have an abundance of sun and wind. Combined with hydrogen storage, could those same communities one day see a brighter future?

In that respect, the IPA project outside Delta may be a model. Now coal-driven, it may one day be a sun and wind-driven, hydrogen-fueled clean-energy powerhouse.

And in coal-driven Emery County, they want to help with that future.

Combining hydrogen and natural gas is new technology, and IPA says it is seeking help with that from Emery County’s San Rafael Energy Research Center.

The research center, located just outside Orangeville, is intended to identify and develop technologies that could help Emery County maintain its economy as the nation moves away from coal-fired electricity. That includes looking opportunities around hydrogen.

“IPP will work with SRERC in solving problems specific to hydrogen conversion at a natural gas generating facility, such as grid resource and hydrogen production optimization, as well as fuel cell dynamics,” said the letter from Jon Finlinson, president and COO of Intermountain Power Service Corporation.

Jeremy Pearson, who was recently hired to run the research center, is waiting to see more specifics on the hub plan, but he sees possibilities beyond IPP.

“With hydrogen there are some uphill struggles, but the beauty of it is the low emissions and the sustainability.”

The colors of hydrogen

Hydrogen is an invisible gas, but those who work with hydrogen have developed a color spectrum to identify how it was produced.

Green hydrogen is made by using clean electricity from surplus renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, using an electrochemical reaction to split water into hydrogen and oxygen without producing carbon dioxide. From a clean energy standpoint, green hydrogen is the ideal.

Blue hydrogen is produced mainly from natural gas, using a process called steam reforming, which brings together natural gas and heated water in the form of steam. The output is hydrogen – but also carbon dioxide, which must be trapped and stored for the hydrogen to be considered blue.

Gray hydrogen is currently the most common form of hydrogen, and it is widely used in a variety of industrial processes. Gray hydrogen is created from natural gas, or methane, using steam methane reformation but without capturing the carbon dioxide made in the process.

Black or brown hydrogen uses black coal or lignite (brown coal) in the hydrogen-making process. Black and brown hydrogen are the least climate-friendly forms of hydrogen.

Pink Hydrogen is generated through electrolysis powered by nuclear energy. Nuclear-produced hydrogen can also be referred to as purple hydrogen or red hydrogen.

Source: nationalgrid.com

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Tim Fitzpatrick is The Salt Lake Tribune’s renewable energy reporter, a position funded by a grant from Rocky Mountain Power. The Tribune retains all control over editorial decisions independent of Rocky Mountain Power.

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FHWA Announces $6.4 Billion Carbon Reduction Program

Copied from annoucemet from FHWA’s Sustainable Transportation Website.

FHWA Announces $6.4 Billion Carbon Reduction Program

Sustainability heading

FHWA Announces $6.4 Billion Carbon Reduction Program

Sustainability heading

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced a new program that unlocks $6.4 billion in formula funding for states and localities over five years. The new Carbon Reduction Program (CRP), created under the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help States develop carbon reduction strategies and address the climate crisis. The CRP will fund a wide range of projects designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from on-road highway sources — from installing infrastructure to support the electrification of freight vehicles or personal cars, to constructing bus rapid transit corridors, to facilitating micro-mobility and bicycling. For more information about the new Carbon Reduction Program and guidance, please see the Carbon Reduction Program Implementation Guidance and fact sheet.

The CRP program guidance was one of several FHWA releases to celebrate Earth Day 2022 last week. FHWA also announced information on other new programs and funding to lower transportation sector emissions and accelerate the deployment of clean technologies:

For more information on FHWA’s climate change resources, please see FHWA’s Sustainable Transportation Website.