As I pass the 3.5 year mark of being a part of a fantastic team that has had the opportunity to administer a Recovery Act funded grant project, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic. With the 4-year project coming to a close, I reflect back on the ways in which this grant has transformed, for the better, from the time of application.
While our American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, the Ohio Advanced Transportation Partnership, know better around here as OATP, was designed as a diverse project in terms of sub-recipients and project types, I don’t think any of us could have anticipated the quality, diverse and successful projects that would result from this Recovery Act funding.
With nearly 280 alternative fuel vehicles funded, alternative fuel stations ranging from compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), propane autogas and electric vehicle charging stations (EVSE), our project has quite the array of fuels and technologies.
I recently had the opportunity to visit a number of project sites with our Department of Energy Project Officer, Erin Russell-Story and reflect back on how far we’ve come.
Our first stop was Ace Taxi in Cleveland, OH where Clean Fuels Ohio funded the conversion of 23 taxis to run on propane autogas and the installation of a propane fueling station. Additionally, Clean Fuels Ohio funded the building of a public access CNG station on-site. Ace Taxi has taken great strides to green its fleet by converting vehicles to run on propane and CNG.
Our second stop was at Frito-Lay in Cleveland where Clean Fuels Ohio funded the conversion of 15 delivery trucks to run on propane and the building of a propane fueling station. Frito-Lay is a very proactive fleet and has developed a great model for decreasing their carbon footprint over the coming years with investments in CNG, propane, biofuels and EVs.
Our third and final stop of day one was the Cleveland Airport CNG station built by Clean Energy and funded through the OATP. Currently, a number of fleet including Airport FastPark, are fueling at the station taking advantage of the more than a dollar savings per GGE of fuel.
Our first stop of day 2 was at the First Energy HQ in Akron, OH. First Energy installed an EVSE station for its employees to utilize and charge up during the work day. A new Ford Focus EV was charging up while we were there!
Stop two on day 2 was in the City of Akron. The City installed 5 EVSE charging stations throughout the downtown area. While we checked out the stations, we noticed a Nissan Leaf charging while we were there.
Stop three was to check out Car Charging’s EVSE stations installed at Walgreens locations in Akron/Canton. It was great to see the chargers in locations where there were walkable local shopping options.
Stop three and our final stop on our site visit adventure was at the SARTA CNG station in the Canton area. The moment we arrived we were greeted by a Frito-Lay CNG long-haul truck that was there to fuel. A few minutes later, a Home City Ice CNG truck rolled-up. After chatting with the drivers for a bit, we took a tour of the area and were informed that SARTA’s public fueling component was pumping out 4-times as much fuel per month than was originally projected, which is fantastic news!
As our site visit trip came to an end, Erin Russell-Story and I discussed the success Clean Fuels Ohio’s projects and how far we’ve come in alternative fuel vehicle and infrastructure development in Ohio. Clean Fuels Ohio had the opportunity, through Recovery Act Funding, to help lead the way in alternative fuel progress in Ohio.