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Discussion Spells Out Future Of Sustainable Transportation | Solar Energy USA Blog Archive

Discussion Spells Out Future Of Sustainable Transportation

Posted on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 11:08 pm by Solar Energy USA
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Solar Energy USA had the pleasure of attending a Business Growth and Sustainability in Georgia event sponsored by the Green Chamber of the South at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. The discussion revolved around what sustainable choices businesses and local governments can make today that will have a big impact tomorrow and a lasting impact in the future. Much of the dialogue focused on renewable forms of transportation including compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs) with solar energy playing a key role in providing the power for EVs.

According to speaker Billy Malone, director of sanitation for Dekalb County, we have “got to find a way to get off of petroleum.” Mr. Malone has implemented an innovative process to capture the methane gas which escapes his landfills in Dekalb County. He uses this natural gas to power his fleet of sanitation trucks. These trucks are much quieter than diesel-powered trucks and get dramatically better mileage. He says that 1,000 CFM of natural gas is equivalent to roughly 1.7 million gallons of diesel fuel. By using a fuel pipeline Dekalb County is going to sell this natural gas fuel to other transport hubs around metro Atlanta.

Mike Britt, director of fleet maintenance with UPS, agrees that powering fleets with clean and renewable sources of fuel is both smart and economical. UPS operates a large fleet of vehicles that are powered by both electricity and CNG. Britt stated that UPS is driven by both public sustainability goals as well as the desire to lead the way for others by example.

Rick Stroud, president of Plug In Vehicle Solutions, a national company that specializes in plug in vehicle charging solutions, says that fleets are becoming the largest group of early adopters of EVs. He said many companies are driven by tax incentives that are currently offered for purchasing and installing charging stations which cover around $7,500 dollars of the cost to adopt this new technology.

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Don Francis of Clean Cities Atlanta, a Department of Energy program started in 1993 to help spread awareness of alternative fuel vehicle options, says that Marta, the mass transit system in Atlanta, and the city of Gwinnett are looking to power their fleets with 100% natural gas. Don also sees EVs playing a big role in the future of transportation and noted the recent solar powered EV charging stations that were installed at Atlantic Station in downtown Atlanta last week. According to Don the United States imports over 9 billion barrels of crude oil per day. Alternative fuel source fuels help clean the air while also reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign petroleum.

The takeaway from the meeting is that there is an exciting future ahead involving commercial industries, government entities, and everyday consumers that will help Atlanta and the state of Georgia progress with clean fuel vehicles whether it be EVs powered with solar energy, trucks running on CNG, or some other form of clean transportation that will emerge as another great innovation in the very near future.

Pictured below are images of a recent EV powered solar charging station at Atlantic Station in Atlanta as well as older EV charging stations at the Gwinnett Arena.

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