Fueling Good: Planning Design and Program Management for Alternative Fuels
While petroleum-based fuels are expected to dominate supply in the near future, the use of alternative fuels is projected to grow rapidly over the next 30 years. Highlighted by an abundance of domestic natural gas and greater accessibility of electric drivetrains, alternative fuels are enhancing the financial bottom-line of organizations while improving the environment and public health.
Alternative fuels are diverse and include ethanol, biodiesel, electricity, hydrogen, natural gas and propane. Each has a distinct business case that can be applied successfully. Social and environmental benefits vary and must be considered in context with regional and project-specific drivers. For example, natural gas and biodiesel can yield returns on investment for large fleets of heavy-duty diesel vehicles. For smaller fleets with a greater proportion of light- to medium-duty vehicles, propane improves performance. Electric vehicle technology is evolving rapidly and is now well suited for fleets of passenger vehicles.
Businesses, private fleets, municipalities, transit authorities, airports, and federal agencies all benefit from alternative fuels. Strategies to harness the benefits include planning, design and program management. In this article, case studies of each approach are provided to highlight best practices and potential lessons learned. Cases include: 1) a regional planning process involving alternative fuels as a driver for regional economic development; 2) a design process for a utility electric vehicle charging program; and 3) a program management approach for capturing public-private financing for design-build delivery of compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling infrastructure.
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