maintain the stations based on a long- term gallon agreement. This year, we finished a station upgrade project for Moreno Valley Unified School District in California, which tripled their fuel- ing capacity without interruption to onsite traffic.” Hanstedt also mentioned a federal

program, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), that also provides some econom- ic benefits for the use of renewable natural gas (RNG) in transportation. “However, RNG producers in the near- term are moving their product out to the markets that pay the best, like California and Oregon. Other states, like New York, are in the process of passing similar policies. These regulat- ed programs allow school districts that own CNG fueling stations to generate revenue by using renewable natural gas,” he said. RNG can be captured from dairy farms and other agricultural op- erations, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, RNG is fully interchangeable with conven- tional natural gas, and can be used as a transportation fuel in the form of CNG or liquefied natural gas (LNG), other- wise known in the market as propane. RNG qualifies as an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Cost Effectiveness: Partnering With a Fuel Provider A CNG fueling station may become a

reality by partnering with a fuel compa- ny. Childers also mentioned that there are districts generating revenue with this model. He pointed to the North Kansas City, Missouri district, which under the now-retired Director of Transportation Lon Waterman switched to an all CNG fleet. The money saved by replacing an older diesel fleet was recy- cled into educational funding. “When that station went in, the district

put in two public use pumps for com- mercial vehicles, which are on the other

34 School Transportation News • AUGUST 2020

Readers who say they are not currently investing in new fuel types.


(Out of 257 responses to a recent STN reader survey.)

Home on the Range

The day is coming when districts won’t have to keep a few diesel buses in the fleet to use on long trips. As more and more vehicles travel the country using alternative fuel and energy, the number of alternative fueling stations are increasing. For a comprehensive look at fueling options across the nation, see the Alternative Fuels Station Locator at: stations/#/find/nearest.

side of the fence from the school bus fueling station, so the school can sell on a retail level,” Childers said.

New Technology Makes Pilot Programs Affordable A new option for districts who would

like to explore CNG buses without committing to a huge infrastructure investment is now available. Onboard Dynamics has developed a mobile, scalable unit called GoFlo, which, when paired with the GoFill, provides a cost-effective solution. “Together, this package is like having

your own CNG filling station,” said Rita Hansen, CEO of Onboard Dynamics. “Many commercial buildings, includ- ing schools, already use natural gas for heat, but the utility will bring it to most locations that don’t have a gas line. These gas lines are low pressure, and the packaged solution with the GoF- lo and the GoFill uses that natural gas to power the entire system, so no electrici- ty is required at all.” She added that one unit can fill two to

four buses in under four hours, de- pending on the fuel consumed.

Propane Powered Buses: Practically Plug N’ Play Propane, also referred toas pro-

Does your school district have alternative fuel infrastructure on-site readily available?

82%No 15% Yes 3%We are in the process of obtaining it

(Out of 254 responses.)

pane autogas, has been used in transportation for decades. Childers at Thomas Built Buses said that obtain- ing a propane infrastructure is probably the least intrusive, quickest and most inexpensive option when implementing alternative fuels. In developing an alternative fuel

strategy, he advised that transportation departments first consider cost and the time to implement. For propane, the process involves contacting a local fuel supplier and installing an onsite, bulk storage propane tank with safety barriers, along with power to operate the pump. “A Thomas propane bus is about

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