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jencoleslaw

Alternative Fuels

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I always find it surprising how much space is empty, or taken up primarily by surface lots - whenever I see aerial shots of the city. Build a few more parking garages on the outskirts of the city, nothing fancy to keep the cost down, and then have a shuttle that runs from them into downtown. Or maybe all future large developments must have underground parking where the land is suitable.

CNG shuttles.

and the city should bargain with developers to provide public parking in every garage that gets built privately. It would be good to get a few short term parking garages around downtown, like SmartPark in PDX.

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I always find it surprising how much space is empty, or taken up primarily by surface lots - whenever I see aerial shots of the city. Build a few more parking garages on the outskirts of the city, nothing fancy to keep the cost down, and then have a shuttle that runs from them into downtown. Or maybe all future large developments must have underground parking where the land is suitable.

There's also a huge amount of green space, especially in that first picture. Station park is HUGE, and I would really love to see this put to a nice use for the public....

i like the idea of underground garages, especially for the new hotels and condos...

and a place like citizens tower should have a garage and not those ugly HUGE surface lots... even if they just get rid of one of the lots (the bigger one) and put a parking garage on the smaller lot, it would look a whole lot better, even with an above ground garage.

CNG shuttles.

and the city should bargain with developers to provide public parking in every garage that gets built privately. It would be good to get a few short term parking garages around downtown, like SmartPark in PDX.

what is CNG? i see cars every now and then with little blue diamond stickers on them that say CNG... i used to see tehm in CT when i lived there and just assumed it was CT Natural Gas... i think i'm wrong though.

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what is CNG? i see cars every now and then with little blue diamond stickers on them that say CNG... i used to see tehm in CT when i lived there and just assumed it was CT Natural Gas... i think i'm wrong though.

compressed natural gas. It's gas, only as a real gas (like air). Best way I can describe it, I'm sure someone can do better.

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compressed natural gas. It's gas, only as a real gas (like air). Best way I can describe it, I'm sure someone can do better.

so when i see a car with that blue diamond sticker that says CNG in white letters, it's running on compressed natural gas?

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We have a public CNG fueling station going in at the airport--it might be online right now. I have to check.

7.0 NATURAL GAS

Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbons-mainly methane (CH4) and is produced either from gas wells or in conjunction with crude oil production. Due to its low energy density for use as a vehicular fuel, it is compressed to a pressure of 200-250 bars to facilitate storage in cylinders mounted in vehicle and so it is called compressed natural gas (CNG).

7.2 Emissions:

Given the availability and the infrastructure, CNG qualifies to be one of the most prominent alternative fuels. It stands substantially better than conventional fuels both in life cycle emissions and vehicle exhaust emissions.

7.3 Advantages of CNG:

Following are some of the benefits of CNG when used as an automotive fuel:

- No visible tail pipe emissions.

- Eliminates sulphur and lead from the exhaust emissions.

- Reduction in CO, NOx and Particulate emissions.

- Significant reduction in benzene and other toxic emissions.

- Higher octane value of CNG reduces knocking problems of a vehicle.

- Reduces noise from running vehicles.

- CNG cannot be adulterated.

- Reduce noise in operation.

7.4 Disadvantages of CNG:

CNG is now established as a very successful alternate fuel for automobiles throughout the world. The disadvantage of this fuel, if any is easily overruled by the advantages associated with this fuel. Nevertheless, infrastructure, on-board storage and issues on safety need proper attention for this fuel.

7.5 Safety Issues:

Natural gas is neither corrosive nor toxic, its ignition temperature is high, it is lighter than air, and it has a narrow flammability range, making it an inherently safe fuel compared to other fuel sources. Natural gas cannot contaminate soil or water. It will always rise to the atmosphere out of doors, unlike other fuels, which are heavier than air and can pool, either as a liquid or a vapor, upon the ground. Natural gas contains a distinctive odorant (mercaptan), which allows natural gas to be detected at 0.5% concentration in air, well below levels that can cause drowsiness due to inhalation and well below the weakest concentration that can support combustion. Due to high ignition temperature of natural gas (540 degree C), simple exposure to a hot surface (such as exhaust manifold) is unlikely to lead a fire.

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The state has a bunch of CNG Ford F-150 trucks, especially DOT. There's a few stations around the state (Allens Ave, URI, Pastore Center, one up in Cumberland or Lincoln too I think). I beleive the RIPTA trolleys are CNG too, as are some buses?

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CNG shuttles.

Biodiesel would be much preferable - the buses and the infrastructure are much cheaper, and biodiesel is renewable, whereas CNG is still a fossil fuel.

7.4 Disadvantages of CNG:

CNG is now established as a very successful alternate fuel for automobiles throughout the world. The disadvantage of this fuel, if any is easily overruled by the advantages associated with this fuel.

Who wrote this greenwash? The NG lobby? CNG still results in massive carbon dioxide emissions by virtue of it being a fossil fuel. Ethanol and Biodiesel are far superior with regard to carbon balance.

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Biodiesel would be much preferable - the buses and the infrastructure are much cheaper, and biodiesel is renewable, whereas CNG is still a fossil fuel.

biodiesel is also perfectly safe for the environment, both when burned and if leaked.

Who wrote this greenwash? The NG lobby? CNG still results in massive carbon dioxide emissions by virtue of it being a fossil fuel. Ethanol and Biodiesel are far superior with regard to carbon balance.

that is a load of crap... i can't believe it doesn't list any real disadvantages.

i'm glad i actually know what those stickers mean now. :thumbsup:

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The problem right now, with bio and ethanol in RI, is that the transportation costs and energy associated with getting it to us negate the positive effects. In the midwest, many plants used to create ethanol is run on coal--hello Acid Rain! The bush admin is really pushing ethanol but it will be a long time before it is a useful fuel for the North East due to the transport costs, the fact that we don't have any ethanol plants in the pipe line for anywhere near us and the fact that we don't have any large tracts of land (on which to grow corn or switchgrass).

There has been some talk of a biodiesel facility in the area soon, but it will be a while and therefore it will continue to be more expensive than regular diesel. With the administration throwing all its weight (and money) towards Ethanol, it will be a problem to continue to subsidize bio and if it is more expensive than regular diesel, where's the incentive for big users to switch over?

I don't think we'll have any kind of state mandate any time soon that requires private and quasi public fleet operators to use altnative fuels. As it is, the mandate from a year or two ago that says that new state vehicles have to be duel fuel suffered a loop hole--the state can buy duel fuel cars and light duty trucks, but they don't have to be fueled with an alternative fuel. ;)

And while many state vehicles and trolleys run on CNG, there isn't yet a public CNG pumping station. The one at the airport will be the first one open to the public.

Now, i'm just getting up to speed on the state of alt fuels, so take my posts with a grain of salt as i figure out the nuances. Please feel free to correct as necessary.

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The problem right now, with bio and ethanol in RI, is that the transportation costs and energy associated with getting it to us negate the positive effects. In the midwest, many plants used to create ethanol is run on coal--hello Acid Rain! The bush admin is really pushing ethanol but it will be a long time before it is a useful fuel for the North East due to the transport costs, the fact that we don't have any ethanol plants in the pipe line for anywhere near us and the fact that we don't have any large tracts of land (on which to grow corn or switchgrass).

There has been some talk of a biodiesel facility in the area soon, but it will be a while and therefore it will continue to be more expensive than regular diesel. With the administration throwing all its weight (and money) towards Ethanol, it will be a problem to continue to subsidize bio and if it is more expensive than regular diesel, where's the incentive for big users to switch over?

I don't think we'll have any kind of state mandate any time soon that requires private and quasi public fleet operators to use altnative fuels. As it is, the mandate from a year or two ago that says that new state vehicles have to be duel fuel suffered a loop hole--the state can buy duel fuel cars and light duty trucks, but they don't have to be fueled with an alternative fuel. ;)

And while many state vehicles and trolleys run on CNG, there isn't yet a public CNG pumping station. The one at the airport will be the first one open to the public.

Now, i'm just getting up to speed on the state of alt fuels, so take my posts with a grain of salt as i figure out the nuances. Please feel free to correct as necessary.

BD fueling stations in RI

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i didn't say there weren't any fueling stations, i said that it is currently expensive and unless the trucks bringing it to RI are running on bio (i am not sure they are) it ends up being a wash environmentally! and to get it here is costly because we don't have any bio diesel production facilities here yet. Every ounce of bio has to be trucked in. I think that the Molloys might be blending some of their own in small batches.

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There has been some talk of a biodiesel facility in the area soon, but it will be a while and therefore it will continue to be more expensive than regular diesel. With the administration throwing all its weight (and money) towards Ethanol, it will be a problem to continue to subsidize bio and if it is more expensive than regular diesel, where's the incentive for big users to switch over?

Now, i'm just getting up to speed on the state of alt fuels, so take my posts with a grain of salt as i figure out the nuances. Please feel free to correct as necessary.

i didn't say there weren't any fueling stations, i said that it is currently expensive and unless the trucks bringing it to RI are running on bio (i am not sure they are) it ends up being a wash environmentally!

Heh. That's okay. The learning curve isn't that steep and at least you're open minded and willing to learn - I'll try to be gentle. ;) And I'll talk your ear off at the next UP GTG at Trinity, but only if you promise to teach me about urban trees.

Anyway, with regard to transportation costs, you raise an interesting point. The EROI (energy ROI) for ethanol is only about 1.34 to 1 or 1.67 to 1 depending on which study you believe. So yes, shipping corn based ethanol from the midwest to the northeast by railcar certainly cuts into that positive energy balance somewhat. With regard to biodiesel, the EROI is closer to 3.2 to 1, so it can easily absorb any small transportation losses and still be net positive with regard to energy balance. Moreover, you also need to consider the distance natural gas and diesel and gasoline are shipped. If you're going to consider energy lost in transportation, then you need to do so for both. So no, I wouldn't be so quick to say it is a wash environmentally.

As far as local production goes, I build my own biodiesel reactor with a friend in E. Longmeadow Mass, and we made at least a couple hundred gallons from recovered waste vegetable oil (WVO). And with WVO, the transportation cost in energy can be attributed to the primary food use, not the secondary reuse as a transportation fuel. Between homebrew and commercial ASTM grade BD, I calculate I've driven about 7k petroleum free miles in my Jetta. Alas, he moved back to Maine and I got busy with my new baby. There are some guys on the biodieselnow.com forum that are talking about putting together a RI coop, so maybe I'll look into that once we find a house and get settled in. Certainly, WVO cannot scale to completely replace petrodiesel, but every gallon of BD used is 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (26 lbs / gal * 78%) that isn't put into the air.

Finally, with regard to the administration, the President has been supportive of BD in addition to ethanol. I believe he mentioned BD in the 2004 SotU speech. Whether or not you believe it to be a greenwash is a different issue, but the perception that he is pitching ethanol to the exclusion of biodiesel is incorrect.

,

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Jen doesn't care much for ol' Bushie. And I just got a new truck - regular unleaded thank you very much. I'm looking forward to not paying for 93 octane because of the high-performance engine! :yahoo: I figure gas from corn is at least two cars away for me!

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the last missive we received from the Freedom Car program at DOE was that of the 3.5 million dollars available for alternative fuel work this coming fiscal year for the nation's clean cities programs, that ethanol programming would be receiving at probably 2.5 million of it. So while i don't think that the admin is "excluding" bio and other fuels, it is clear to me that the push for ethanol is on.

And, Dr. Stink, what do you think of the ethanol plants in the mid west being fueled by coal?

and where do you stand on anti-idle mandates and legislation? i'm throwing together an EPA grant for cleaning up Providence's air (relating to school bus idle) by pushing for bio and anti-idle measures. thoughts?

maybe we need a new thread!

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the last missive we received from the Freedom Car program at DOE was that of the 3.5 million dollars available for alternative fuel work this coming fiscal year for the nation's clean cities programs, that ethanol programming would be receiving at probably 2.5 million of it. So while i don't think that the admin is "excluding" bio and other fuels, it is clear to me that the push for ethanol is on.

And, Dr. Stink, what do you think of the ethanol plants in the mid west being fueled by coal?

and where do you stand on anti-idle mandates and legislation? i'm throwing together an EPA grant for cleaning up Providence's air (relating to school bus idle) by pushing for bio and anti-idle measures. thoughts?

maybe we need a new thread!

if city buses can be powered by CNG, why not school buses?

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if city buses can be powered by CNG, why not school buses?

i'm going to guess "expense". School buses are not owned by the city, i don't think. The transport of students is contracted out to laidlaw or first student. I bet a CNG school bus costs a lot of $$. certainly the city's contract can say "a percentage of buses serving Providence's student population must run a clean fuel (ie., bio, CNG, ethanol) to decrease PM pollution...." I think there are incentives out there to buy CNG heavy duty vehicles though, as much as a 60,000. "rebate" in some cases...

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One new alternative fuel that you may see more of very soon is E85 - 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline:

http://www.e85fuel.com/database/search.php

Unfortunately, the closest E85 station is in New York State, but that may change quickly if consumer demand grows for this.

Any vehicle that has the designation "FlexFuel" can run on either E85 or the newly formulated gasoline using Ethanol as the additive. Refineries are switching from MTBE additives in gasoline:

http://money.cnn.com/2006/04/18/news/econo...dex.htm?cnn=yes

I like the notion of using E85 as it can be refined now and vehicles already exist on the market that can use it. Too bad there are no fueling stations for it...

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I like the notion of using E85 as it can be refined now and vehicles already exist on the market that can use it. Too bad there are no fueling stations for it...

As with anything, price will drive all of these alternative fuels. The last big push for alternate energy sources happened during the oil embargo. Almost every other energy source is more expensive than oil still but at some point that will change.

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i am writing a grant this month that would fund an E85 station here in town.

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Dear Friend,

The Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) would welcome your presence at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the State

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Bank of America helps employees go hybrid [ProJo.com]

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Bank of America helps employees go hybrid [ProJo.com]

that's nifty news... they should extend that to all their employees considering i doubt many of them would be buying a hybrid vehicle.

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