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November Partner Meeting

At the November UCAIR Partner Meeting we had a few presentations discussing advanced fuels. We had three fantastic presenters join our discussion. 

  • Tammie Bostick
    • Executive Director, Utah Clean Cities 
  • Dr. David Christensen 
    • Innovation Director, ASPIRE Center
  • Free Reyes
    • Director of Development & Communications, Lancer Energy & Director of Marketing, Pine Creek RNG

Tammie Bostick introduced the audience to Utah Clean Cities. Utah Clean Cities, UCC, has existed for 28 years and works with clean American fuels. At first, UCC worked with maintaining and electrifying vehicles/fleets, and then evolved to alternative fuels. Since then, UCC expanded their scope to work with Utah’s local communities, the transportation/fleet industry and local legislators. This year, Governor Cox led out with two monumental declarations: 14th Annual Governor’s Declaration of Idle Free in September; and the 13th Annual Alternative Fuels Awareness Month in November. A few interesting alternative fuel projects happening in Utah currently are EVZion, CorWest, Drive Clean USA and Drive Electric USA. East Zion Initiative: Moving the Southwest. East Zion Visitors Center will be where visitors can catch the EV shuttle through the east entrance to Zion National Park. The zero emission shuttles ‘Clear the Tunnel’ not only physically but also by not emitting any tailpipe emissions. CorWest: EV Project of 8 states collective. Throughout these 8 states, corridors, there will be electric chargers. This exciting work is in partnership with the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Transportation. Drive Clean USA: Beginning in the Uintah Basin. Helping rural communities with alternative fuels projects. Drive Electric USA: This will be an umbrella for all of Utah’s EV programs. This project is a 14-state collaborative and is focused on EV consumer education across the nation. There are many projects happening in our state, region and across the nation. If you would like to learn more about advanced fuels, how to transition your fleet, or how to get involved please visit the Utah Clean Cities website

Next, Dr. David Christensen discussed the exciting innovation happening at the Utah State University National Science Foundation funded program: ASPIRE Center. ASPIRE: Advanced Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification. The ASPIRE Center is a national foundation that received a 50 million dollar grant last year from the National Science Foundation, NSF. The ASPIRE Center is about sustainability and equity looking at widespread electrification of vehicles throughout the nation. ASPIRE is a collection of Universities, Industry Partners and Innovation Partners that steer out research. Several national labs are also with us as well. By 2040 there will be an estimated 66 million electric vehicles sold, both light and heavy duty. Currently, approximately 70% of freight is transported in heavy duty trucks. Of that, 48% freight trucks travel an estimated 250 miles to transport. Moreover, 30% freight trucks travel over an estimated 500 miles to transport. 90% of all air pollution comes from these, key, transport corridors. As we look at cost, weight and charge of electric vehicle batteries these heavy-duty vehicles will be different. Longer range batteries will be costly. Additionally, a semi-truck can take up to 13 hours to get a full charge. Instead of putting in costly large batteries and supporting charging stations along corridors, the ASPIRE Center is considering seamless integration of wireless and wired charging systems across all vehicle classes with power levels to achieve ubiquity. Utah State University has a solar-powered track equipped with power transfer coils embedded in the roadway, which enables properly-equipped electric vehicles to charge while in motion. Wireless charging reduces the need for heavy battery packs and numerous charging stations. To learn more about the ASPIRE Center please visit the ASPIRE Center Website

Finally, we had Free Reyes speak to us about renewable energy and applications happening in Utah and across the region with Pine Creek RNG and Lancer Energy. Pine Creek RNG mines alternative fuels as well as builds, operates and manages work sites. Lancer Energy focuses on vehicle conversions and maintenance, station engineering, procurement, and construction and manufacturing, engineering and fabrication. The USA is seeing more demand for advanced fuels. As you can see each fuel diagrammed here with the number of carbons burned to create energy: 

There are two diagrams for diesel because it is such a complex carbon structure. Gasoline is cleaner but still has a big carbon structure. Cleaner advanced & renewable fuels have significantly less to burn to create energy. There are a few ways that renewable natural gas is produced including through landfills, wastewater treatment plants, as well as agricultural farms. These feed stocks go through a digestion process to capture the methane released to create fuel. RNG can be produced and put in a pipeline to go directly to stations. RNG/CNG stations all across the USA except for a few states, covering major transit corridors. Another advanced fuel is hydrogen. Hydrogen can be renewable by electrolyzing water using electricity from renewable sources. Hydrogen produced by electrifying water from an electrical source is zero carbon. In the past, these systems took a lot more water than now. There are currently three projects for hydrogen stations in the intermountain west region, with two here in Utah and more announcements coming soon! If you would like to learn more about the technology or to stay up to date with advanced fuel news, please visit the Pinecreek RNG website.

It is an exciting time for advanced fuels. For clean air, Utah brings everyone to the table. One way to implement advanced fuels into your life is considering purchasing a zero-emission electric vehicle, EV. Check out the UCAIR “What Can You Do” tab to learn more. 

Division of Air Quality Update:  Following the presentations, Bryce Bird, Director of the Division of Air Quality, gave an update on the current air quality in Utah. Utah has experienced a few months of clear air, and hopefully it will continue into December. DAQ’s Wood Stove Conversion Program opened for SL County last week. Please visit the DAQ webpage for more information. The Air Quality Board has an open chair to fill. To apply go to the Governor’s website of board and commissioners. Regarding federal news, there are new methane rules for the oil and gas industry. DAQ will be working with industry specifically in the Uintah Basin, and other areas, to stop the methane leaks.

Partners Roundtable-UCAIR Partners: Partners then shared what projects and initiatives they are currently working on.

Thomas Kessinger, Utah Clean Energy: Infrastructure Bill that was just passed and if anyone has a comment on this bill with more information or knows the partnering agencies?

Bryce Bird, DAQ: The infrastructure bill is mostly focused on transportation and water but a large component of that is to electrify school bus fleets. It could be used to bring in other fuel sources and we will be working with other agencies to bring air quality and climate into focus here as well.

Blair Blackwell, Chevron: Last month we published our climate change resiliency report and I would like to encourage you to check it out. We had announced that Chevron is following the state in teleworking during bad air days and have launched a survey to our employees and around 80 have responded and will share those results when they are done. See the report here.

Thomas Kessinger, Utah Clean Energy: UCE along with Salt Lake City just filed a proposal to require all new builds to be electric ready. What we are advocating for is to have these new homes built to be electric ready. This will be hopefully presented in the legislative session in 2023. See the webpage about electrifying homes here.

Rep. Melissa Ballard, State of Utah: I will be running a resolution encouraging rail freight to convert to electric in the next legislative session. 

Tammie Bostick, Utah Clean Cities: There are always clean cities funding coming through in the amount of 66 million across the nation. If anyone has any interesting or innovative ideas towards advanced transportation, infrastructure and innovation please reach out.

Closing Mentions-Kim Frost: The Clean Air Caucus Meeting was this last Tuesday night, we had a presentation there from Rep. Curtis and a preview of the upcoming legislative session and how it relates to air quality. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, I recommend you visit the Utah Clean Air Caucus Facebook page and check it out. UTA Free Fair Days are coming up for the winter. We will have up to 9 free fair days, on mandatory action days. Going into winter there are a number of rebate programs to watch out for.