MEC is Looking for a Fall ’18/Spring ’19 paid intern!

Kansas City Clean Cities Coalition University Workforce Development Program

Paid Internship Announcement

ABOUT: The Clean Cities internship will give students the opportunity to grow public awareness and expand the markets of advanced vehicle technologies, alternative fuels, and practices that reduce the consumption of petroleum. Students in the past have participated in research, outreach activities, public education, K-12 outreach, fleet events, and a vast array of transportation-related environmental projects.

PREFERRED MAJORS:  Marketing, Environmental Science, Communication Studies, Business Administration, and any related fields

SHIFT: Scheduling is very flexible, but student must be available during regular business hours.  Candidate must be willing to work an average of 20 hours a week based on student’s schedule during regular business hours and also weekend outreach events when applicable.

BENEFITS: Hourly wages depend on undergraduate/graduate student status ($12/hr for undergraduates; $15/hr for graduate students). College credit may be available upon approval of student advisor. Ample opportunity to network with businesses, industry and government stakeholders. A dynamic working environment gives the opportunity to learn multiple work-related skills in a short period of time.

JOB DESCRIPTION: Support to Kansas City Regional Clean Cities, an alternative fuel program. We will consider the student’s program interests when assigning the work that he/she will be doing. The intern’s responsibilities may include any of the following (based upon our current need and your experience, skills, and interests):

•    Meeting and event coordination

•    Conducting outreach, phone calls
•    Administrative support
•    Requesting/handling articles from coalition members; drafting newsletter content
•    Website and social media updates
•    Contact management
•    Market research / surveys

•    Educating local, state, and Congressional government officials

We work with students to develop a schedule that accommodates the intern’s classes and homework. Learning opportunities include webinars on topics such as event planning and public relations, online courses through Clean Cities University, and direct experience.

SKILLS/EXPERIENCE NEEDED: The candidate needs to have strong written communication skills, computer skills (including spreadsheets and word processing), and excellent organizational skills. Junior or Senior status is preferred.

HOW TO APPLY: Applications should be directly submitted to David Albrecht, Program Coordinator, at david (at) metroenergy (dot) org. Your email should include your resume and cover letter.  In the letter, please state why you are interested in interning with Metropolitan Energy Center, average number of hours a week you are available, your relevant experience, and the timeframe during which you will be available for the internship. We will contact you if we wish to schedule an interview.

Applications are due August 24, 2018.

LOCATION: Our offices are located at 3810 Paseo Blvd Kansas City, MO 64109.  About five minutes north of the Plaza.

Missouri Funding Opportunity – Up To $22,000/Unit To Replace Diesel Buses

The State of Missouri is requesting applications from schools and school fleet operators to replace old diesel buses. This funding opportunity is open to public and private schools and school districts and for-profit operators of school bus fleets, providing up to $22,000 for each vehicle replaced. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which administers the program, anticipates 70-75 bus replacements statewide through this one-year cycle.

The deadline for districts and school transportation providers to apply is Friday, September 14th.

Applicants may apply for funding for up to 3 buses if replacing diesel with diesel; however, they can apply for funding for up to 10 buses if replacing diesel vehicles with propane, compressed natural gas (CNG), all-electric buses, or other clean-fuel alternatives. Shuttle buses, paratransit or any school vehicles not powered by diesel are not eligible.

This funding cannot be used to expand a fleet, and only buses powered by engine model years 1995 – 2006 are eligible. Replacement buses cannot exceed 125% of the original buses’ GVWR, and a minimum GVWR of 14,000 pounds is required. Applicants must be able to fund the entire program up front, since it is based on reimbursement from Missouri DNR. Federal funds cannot be used to provide the required 75% match for this program, nor can other funding from the VW Trust.

There are other details and restrictions that apply to this program – please read all information carefully before applying! Request For Applications For Early Replacements Of School Buses contains detailed information on program requirements and timelines. For guidelines and a link to updates on opportunities for other vehicle categories, including heavy trucks, cargo moving and electric vehicle charging systems, we recommend Volkswagen Trust – Apply For Funding. For specific questions about program requirements, please contact Mark Leath at the Department of Natural Resources, and as point of contact for application submission.

Get $3000 off on a 2018 Nissan LEAF

For a limited time, get a special price on a 2018 Nissan LEAF – $3,000 off the sales price, plus up to $7,500 additional off in federal tax incentives. This offer is available to KCP&L customers and employees. Offer open until further notice.

Kansas City Clean Cities and Central Kansas Clean Cities comments on KS VW Mitigation Plan

Dear Director Brunetti, Mr. Watson and Ms. Waters:

Metropolitan Energy Center, Kansas City Regional Clean Cities and Central Kansas Clean Cities appreciate the opportunity to submit comments on behalf of our members and stakeholders regarding the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (“KDHE”) draft mitigation plan for the use of the funds available to Kansas under the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust (“EMT”).

Our overall goal is to ensure that investments made by KDHE through the EMT result in meaningful, long-term and cost-effective reductions in nitrogen oxides (“NOx”) and other polluting emissions from Kansas’ transportation sector, and that new alternative fuel projects are feasible to carry out under the program rules.

First, we would like to thank KDHE for undertaking a public process prior to developing the draft plan. Numerous elements of the draft are excellent – especially noteworthy is your intent for using the DERA option – and we offer the following recommendations for the Draft Mitigation Plan to maximize the impact of EMT funds:

• Ensure fair access to funds across both urban and rural areas. The draft plan states that KDHE anticipates offering most opportunities statewide, but at the same time may list priority areas based on larger NOx emissions. About 32% of Kansans live in rural areas, higher than the national average . The DERA option may be particularly beneficial for school bus fleets serving rural areas, which must travel longer distances between students than urban areas.

• Give priority to alternative fuel replacements by limiting diesel replacements. Diesel replacement funding is at the same reimbursement rate as alternative fuels in some categories. Under section 3 of the initial spending plan breakout KDHE proposed to provide 25% of the total cost to replace an eligible diesel engine, regardless of what type of engine with which it is replaced. Alternative fuel vehicles and electric vehicles (AFVs and EVs) typically have greater up-front costs than traditional diesel, which is a disincentive for fleets to buy-in when they can get the same reimbursement for a less expensive diesel replacement. Specific recommendations:
>> Require all diesel engines purchased – for replacement or repower, for mobile or stationary – to be B20 compatible, where B20 is a blend of 20% biodiesel with 80% ULSD.
>> Provide greater funds in all categories for alternative fuel and electric compared to their diesel equivalents. Alternatively, limit diesel replacements to two per application, but allow a greater number of replacements (up to 10) per applicant for new alternative fuel projects. Fleets that commit to alternative fuel often phase in this investment over three or more years. Allowing larger numbers of AFV will permit this approach. It also generates greater NOx reduction by stimulating the use of cleaner engines faster.
>> Especially in certain low-speed and stop-start duty cycles, diesel engines do not perform up to their modeled EPA emission standard. Provide for higher reimbursement rates in your final plan and/or in your RFPs for alternative fuel trash haulers but also for other AFV replacements in low-speed and stop-start duty cycles.
>> Allow for diesel replacements only on older vehicles (MY2002 or earlier).

• Use the HDVEC emission calculator for RFP evaluations. On page 8, section D, you mention use of DEQ for simplified purposes of assigning emission values to project types. However, for evaluating RFP submissions on a qualitative basis, we recommend using the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emissions Calculator (HDVEC) for the most up-to-date alternative fuel emission data. These data are incorporated into tools built and managed by Argonne National Laboratories and are updated as frequently as feasible when new data comes available. Argonne recently released this new tool based on its GREET and AFLEET models, as well as on EPA’s MOVES model. If electric generation and transmission emissions are to be considered in the calculation, production and transport should be considered for the other fuel options, as well.

From the HDVEC web site : “The Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emissions Calculator (HDVEC) was developed to estimate the vehicle operation nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM2.5), as well as the well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) of commercially available alternative fuel medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. This tool is ideally suited to aid fleets and decision makers when comparing vehicle technologies for emission reductions and to consider allocation of funding.

“The tool can calculate results for 3 project types:
• Environmental Mitigation w/ Scrappage
New alternative fuel versus new diesel, plus additional benefit from early retirement of scrapped vehicle.
• Environmental Mitigation w/ Repower
Vehicle after repower versus diesel vehicle before repower
• Clean Vehicle Replacement
New alternative fuel versus new diesel.

“The first two are specifically for environmental mitigation projects such as those funded under the Clean Diesel Settlement or the Diesel Emission Reduction Program, while the third provides results without the scrappage benefit.”

• Confirm beneficiaries are primarily based in Kansas. Due to the nature of vehicles and the high density of Kansas’ population residing near the Kansas-Missouri border, there will, of course, be some usage of repowered and replaced vehicles across state lines. However, it is important to prioritize KDHE’s VW settlement funds for Kansas-based fleets. This can be measured by applicants providing justification that at least 50% of their fleet’s run time is within Kansas.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment and for all your hard work on behalf of Kansas citizens.

Signed,

Kelly Gilbert
Executive Director, Metropolitan Energy Center
Coordinator, Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition

Tami Alexander
Program Coordinator, Metropolitan Energy Center
Coordinator, Central Kansas Clean Cities Coalition

Join us for a “Speed Greening” Energy Efficient Networking Event

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ENERGY SOLUTIONS HUB with Metropolitan Energy Center can help you save on energy costs and live in a more comfortable climate year round.

“Speed Greening” – Speed Dating, Energy Efficiency style!

Media contact: Beth Pauley, beth@metroenergy.org

Tuesday, August 21st

402-469-4091

 

Kansas City, MO – Metropolitan Energy Center is joining Kansas City Power & Light, Spire Energy, and fellow energy enthusiasts to host a “speed greening” happy hour!  Speed Greening is the energy efficiency equivalent of speed dating, where guests will have the opportunity to meet their choice of energy solutions vendors in a quick, informal round-table.

Kansas City residents are becoming accustomed to extreme weather patterns, and these energy efficiency measures will decrease the overall environmental impact your energy use has in the community.  Best of all, they are cost-efficient and will eventually pay for themselves.

This is a great way to simultaneously tackle your costs and slow the future effects of climate change by reducing your building’s greenhouse gas emissions.

This event will also introduce you to the MEC’s Energy Solutions Hub, which is a metro-wide continuation of the great work the Kansas City Energy Project began to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in Kansas City. Ticket price includes admission as well as refreshments, including happy hour beverages.

Although our Energy Solutions Hub is new, we have been local leaders for energy efficiency for 35 years. If you cannot attend the networking event and want more information on how you can live in a comfortable climate without burning your pocket book, contact Sara (Sara@metroenregy.org). We can help you develop a request for proposals to send out to potential auditors, evaluate their responses, schedule your audit, and file your rebate.

Grant Workshop For New Federal Funding Opportunities

Wed, May 23 | 2:30 pm | Project Living Proof | 917 Emmanuel Cleaver II Blvd, KCMO

Kansas City Regional Clean Cities is hosting a grant workshop on three new funding opportunities totaling more than $140 million nationwide. These programs cover diesel emissions reduction, low- and zero-emission transit fleets, and infrastructure and super-fast charging, plus other projects. We’ll cover eligibility, the application process, financial and cost-share requirements, and much more in this free workshop.

All interested potential grant applicants are cordially invited to participate. This includes state and local governments, transit agencies, MPOs, non-profit organizations and school districts. Although for-profit companies are not eligible to apply directly for these grants, Clean Cities routinely works with our corporate fleet members to administer grants for their projects. Interested businesses are welcome to attend.

Join us in person at Project Living Proof, or attend virtually via GoToMeeting or telephone at (646)749-3122, Access Code: 448-679-701. If attending in person, please park at the Anita Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, MO, then follow the boardwalk north to PLP’s back door.

For questions or to RSVP for the workshop, email David Albrecht or call (816) 531-7283.

 

 

What are Biofuels?

By Tami Alexander, Central Kansas Clean Cities Coordinator

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s January 2018 Monthly Energy Review, CO2 emissions for the transportation sector have now surpassed emissions for electricity generation. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation make up 27% of all emissions (EPA, 2018). So, what can we as consumers do to help? There are the obvious solutions such as driving less, carpooling, and using public transportation. But what about those times when a personal vehicle is needed? The answer: Biofuels!

So, what are biofuels? You have likely heard them referred to as ethanol or biodiesel. Ethanol is a plant-based replacement for petroleum gasoline and biodiesel is a mostly plant-based alternative for petroleum diesel. These fuels can be used in traditional internal combustion engine vehicles in place of their petroleum counterparts with little to no alterations needed.

Contrary to the popular belief that petroleum is made from ancient dinosaurs, it is actually the product of ancient plant material which decayed over millions of years in an oxygen-free environment, forming the fossil fuels of coal, oil and natural gas. Biofuels are also made from plant material which is processed into the fuels quickly instead of taking millions of years. The difference is biofuels are renewable, non-toxic, and emit much less CO2 and other pollutants than petroleum fuels.

So, what goes into biofuels? Biofuels can be made from many different products called feedstocks. Ethanol is grain alcohol and can be made from multiple sources including corn, sorghum, sugar cane and even grasses. Biodiesel can be made from vegetable oil, used cooking oil, and poultry or beef fat. Feedstocks can vary the amount of emissions produced by the fuels, but all are cleaner than petroleum fuels and renewable. And, they can produce the same quality of fuel.

Many studies have touted the importance of biofuels in the move to lowering emissions and becoming carbon neutral (IRENA, 2018). One major advantage is that biofuels use the same infrastructure as petroleum fuels and can be fairly easily used in most vehicles with little to no modification necessary. In fact, 97% of gasoline in the US contains 10% ethanol and can be used in any gasoline engine. The ethanol boosts the octane of petroleum gasoline which is necessary in today’s higher performing engines. All gasoline vehicles model year 2001 or newer can burn E15 (a blend of 15% ethanol gasoline and 85% petroleum gasoline). Flex-fuel vehicles can use blends up to E85 (85% ethanol). And most manufacturers of diesel vehicles warranty their engines to use blends up to B20 (20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel).

Biofuels are more difficult to find than petroleum gasoline, but their availability is increasing. Check out the Alternative Fuels Data Center on the Department of Energy’s website to find out where you can buy biofuels in your area. (www.afdc.energy.gov/stations) The website can also help you find vehicles that use biofuels and give you other important information about biofuels and other alternative fuels.

References

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). (2018, February). Renewable energy prospects for the European Union. Retrieved from: https://irena.org/-/media/Files/IRENA/Agency/Publication/2018/Feb/IRENA_REmap-EU_2018_ summary.pdf?la=en&hash=818E3BDBFC16B90E1D0317C5AA5B07C8ED27F9EF

U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2018, January). Monthly energy review. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Statistics.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2018, February 6). Inventory of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks: 1990–2016. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

EV Collaborative Enjoys Quiet Ride With Columbia’s Electric Buses

The Missouri EV Collaborative held its second spring meeting on April 17th at City Hall in Columbia, MO. There was plenty of discussion among municipal fleet and Clean Cities representatives from Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. The VW Settlement, clean fuel corridors and the nuts and bolts of EV charging were all hot topics.

Above – Transit Manager Drew Brooks Lays Out The Layout Of An EV Bus

The really fun part, though, came at the end of the day, when attendees headed out for a test ride on one of nine all-electric transit buses run by the city’s transit authority. GoCOMO now operates nine battery-powered buses, with four more ordered. The bus, California-built but designed by China’s BYD, provided a remarkably quiet ride around town as Parking & Transit Manager Drew Brooks talked about tech, testing and transitioning to EV bus service.

The City runs the buses under a lease-to-own agreement as part of GoCOMO’s budget. Along with local funding, a $1.7 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration is helping to cover the cost of electrical upgrades, consulting and three of the four EV buses still on order. The cost difference between all-electric buses and conventional models is still substantial, though EV prices are falling. This means that ROI in through fuel savings is very much a long-term proposition. However, there’s one area where the electric buses paid for themselves immediately – maintenance. Normal quarterly maintenance for a diesel bus runs in the neighborhood of $1,300. But an EV bus, without fuel or oil; in fact, lacking nearly all of the moving, greasy parts found in a diesel bus – runs about $300 per maintenance check.

According to Brooks, BYD’s support team engaged well before a single wheel turned in mid-Missouri. Along with background information on local weather and passenger counts, route mapping was vital to the rollout.   This included special attention to the maximum grades on each route. This information was then programmed into the computer on each bus before delivery to cut the odds of running out of juice. Although different drivers can and do make a difference with how many miles a given bus can run between charges, range hasn’t really been a serious issue.

Above – Drew takes questions on the road; on right, KCMO Sustainability Coordinator Gerry Shechter.

One notable physical difference during our drive around town – the lack of noise, something that’s made the EV buses popular among riders. Drew stood up front, taking questions in a voice just slightly louder than normal conversational tone, something that would be impossible in a diesel bus. There may have been 75 horses tied to each rear axle, but you couldn’t really tell from the passenger seat.

NAFA Mid-America Chapter Meeting – May 16, 2018 – Fleet Management Risks & Discoverable Vehicle Data

Join the Mid-America NAFA chapter on May 16, 2018 for a very informative session that you won’t want to miss. As seen at the 2018 NTEA Work Truck Show Fleet Technical Congress, the guest speaker is Mr. Jeff Burns, Attorney at Dollar Burns & Becker, LC. Mr. Burns is arguably one of the most respected truck crash litigators in the nation. When he is not litigating cases, he is actively educating the public and working for rule changes, stronger laws and stricter enforcement. 

Mr. Burns, a strong advocate for safety, strives to help companies see the light, and help them realize that there can actually be a remarkable return on investment when companies institute and strengthen safety programs. Burns says there is less litigation and drivers actually stay with companies longer when they see stronger safety rules as a genuine commitment that helps protect them.

Since today’s commercial vehicles generate a significant amount of data that fleet managers are increasingly using to help manage and improve productivity, Mr. Burns will explain how active and passive data collected on your vehicles can impact you and may be discoverable in the case of an accident or inquiry.

Please mark your calendars for this “must attend” Mid- America chapter NAFA event and click here to RSVP today!

WHEN: Wednesday, May 16, 2018
LOCATION: Joe’s BBQ, 180 Room, 11944 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062
AGENDA: 10:30 am — Registration; 11:00 am — Presentation followed by Lunch
COST: $30 (cash or check payable to NAFA) Credit cards accepted at the door—just bring your card to the meeting.

Please R.S.V.P. by Friday, May 11, 2018. You can register online by clicking here. Due to attendance guarantees, those registrants who are unable to attend or cancel by May 11, 2018 will be billed.

NAFA May 16, 2018 Meeting Notice