Real transportation fuel diversity just getting under way in WV - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Real transportation fuel diversity just getting under way in WV

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • 'Energy Speaks Education Alliance' Hosts Career Day for Local High Schools

    'Energy Speaks Education Alliance' Hosts Career Day for Local High Schools

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:16 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:16:12 GMT
    Students from Harrison, Doddridge, and Taylor County schools participated in an oil and gas industry jobs event Thursday at United Technical Center.
    Students from Harrison, Doddridge, and Taylor County schools participated in an oil and gas industry jobs event Thursday at United Technical Center.
  • Harrison County Commission Discusses New 911 Center Plans

    Harrison County Commission Discusses New 911 Center Plans

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:41 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:41:06 GMT
    A new Harrison and Taylor County 911 center is one step closer to becoming a reality.Consultants gave a report to Harrison County Commission today with cost estimates for three potential sites.They include the Quarry area, the P-K area and a field adjacent to Robert C Byrd High School."All three of them have pros and cons. Some of them have better expansion areas some of them are harder to develop because they are farther away from utilities and resources. Others don't have a lot of clearing ...
    A new Harrison and Taylor County 911 center is one step closer to becoming a reality.Consultants gave a report to Harrison County Commission today with cost estimates for three potential sites.They include the Quarry area, the P-K area and a field adjacent to Robert C Byrd High School."All three of them have pros and cons. Some of them have better expansion areas some of them are harder to develop because they are farther away from utilities and resources. Others don't have a lot of clearing ...
  • Dickey's Barbeque Pit on Emily Drive Celebrates Grand Opening

    Dickey's Barbeque Pit on Emily Drive Celebrates Grand Opening

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:28 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:28:50 GMT
    Dickey's Barbeque Pit will soon be open on Emily Drive in Clarksburg.The restaurant held a soft opening today for family and friends to help prepare them for the official opening day tomorrow.The whole weekend will feature a number of special events."Tomorrow we open at 11 o'clock and we're doing all kinds of stuff. The first 50 guests will get a free gift card and one will randomly have $50 on it. On Friday we're giving away three free barbeque for a year passes and a $500 gift card," said c...
    Dickey's Barbeque Pit will soon be open on Emily Drive in Clarksburg.The restaurant held a soft opening today for family and friends to help prepare them for the official opening day tomorrow.The whole weekend will feature a number of special events."Tomorrow we open at 11 o'clock and we're doing all kinds of stuff. The first 50 guests will get a free gift card and one will randomly have $50 on it. On Friday we're giving away three free barbeque for a year passes and a $500 gift card," said c...
  • EnergyEnergyMore>>

  • UPDATE: Sen. Manchin reacts to potential Patriot Coal layoffs

    UPDATE: Sen. Manchin reacts to potential Patriot Coal layoffs

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:01:24 GMT
    Patriot Coal issued warnings that it could lay off employees at its Wells mining complex near Wharton and its Corridor G complex near Danville.
    Patriot Coal issued warnings that it could lay off employees at its Wells mining complex near Wharton and its Corridor G complex near Danville.
  • Council hears pro, con testimony on parks drilling in Western Pa.

    Council hears pro, con testimony on parks drilling in Western Pa.

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:45:30 GMT
    Council members in western Pennsylvania heard testimony for and against a proposal to drill for natural gas under a Pittsburgh-area park. The Allegheny County Council is considering a proposal to allow Range Resources and Huntley Huntley to drill beneath 1,180-acre Deer Lakes Park from well sites on neighboring properties.
    Council members in western Pennsylvania heard testimony for and against a proposal to drill for natural gas under a Pittsburgh-area park. The Allegheny County Council is considering a proposal to allow Range Resources and Huntley Huntley to drill beneath 1,180-acre Deer Lakes Park from well sites on neighboring properties.
  • Labor Dept. cuts levels of allowable coal dust

    Labor Dept. cuts levels of allowable coal dust

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:27 PM EDT2014-04-23 19:27:19 GMT
    The administration first proposed the rule back in 2010, when it said it would fight a resurgence of black lung disease. The Mine Safety and Health Administration held seven public hearings, extended the comment period three times, and got around 2,000 pages of comments. It took 3 ½ years for the rule to be finalized.
    The administration first proposed the rule back in 2010, when it said it would fight a resurgence of black lung disease. The Mine Safety and Health Administration held seven public hearings, extended the comment period three times, and got around 2,000 pages of comments. It took 3 ½ years for the rule to be finalized.

In the West Virginia of the future, you might drive a natural gas–powered vehicle. Your neighbor to the east might have a couple of electric cars. And your neighbor to the west, who knows? Hydrogen, maybe.

"I think our future is going to be multi-fuel," said William Davis, assistant director of operations for the National Alternative Fuels Training Center in Morgantown. "As a country, we are no longer going to be able to survive with two fuels — gasoline and diesel. We're going to have to have multiple fuels."

Fuel diversity is only just beginning — and it's especially new in West Virginia, which shows up as a conspicuous blank area on a locator map maintained by the Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center.

The AFDC tracks infrastructure for and use of seven alternative fuels. Nationwide, electricity had by far the most fueling stations in 2012, followed by propane and E85; coming in with far fewer stations were compressed natural gas, biodiesel, liquefied natural gas and hydrogen. Compressed natural gas, or CNG, can be used in most vehicles, while LNG is for the heaviest-duty vehicles.

On the map, the west coast and the eastern third of the country pop with electric charging stations. The upper Midwest, corn country, has lots of E85 — a gasoline blend for flex-fuel vehicles that contains up to 85 percent ethanol, most commonly made of corn — and propane is especially dense in the country's middle third.

West Virginia does have 12 public electric charging stations on the map, most of them at McDonald's and at Nissan dealers. It has nine propane stations and one E85 station. The website altfuelprices.com shows fewer propane stations, at six, but has two E85 stations and one biodiesel station.

The NAFTC's Davis provided an update on the status of alternative fuel fueling in the state.

"For electricity," he said, to start with the nation's and the state's most popular alternative fueling station, "the infrastructure in West Virginia is just getting a good foothold."

The fact that most electric vehicles can be charged with standard household current probably is delaying the development of high-speed charging, he said. As demand rises, with increased ownership of plug-in hybrids and pure electrics, the state will begin to see more charging stations at hotels and motels and in municipal parking lots.

Propane could play an important role as a transportation fuel in West Virginia, Davis said. While the state's mountainous areas don't have the pipeline infrastructure for natural gas fueling, they do have propane delivery systems in place.

E85 may be on its way out.

"Part of the reason it hasn't taken off is the fact that manufacturers have just not embraced putting E85-capable engines and systems in vehicles," Davis said.

Of the less popular types of stations nationwide — compressed natural gas, biodiesel, liquefied natural gas and hydrogen — the state took steps in 2012 to promote the use of natural gas in particular when it formed the Natural Gas Vehicle Task Force.

It's a chicken-and-egg problem, said task force Chairwoman Hallie Mason, but one that could shift quickly once it gets going.

"Certainly along the interstate, if you see signs for gas at $1.80, it will generate a lot of interest," Mason said. "We believe the demand will come as people see the price is significantly lower than diesel and regular unleaded gas."

Overlaying maps of population, state and other government vehicle fleets, and pipelines showed the task force that prime locations for natural gas fueling stations are Ohio County in the northern panhandle along with the more populated counties along the Interstate 64, 77 and 79: Kanawha, Wood, Cabell, Raleigh, Monongalia, Marion and Harrison counties.

The task force expects to issue a report in February with recommendations for advancing the use of natural gas vehicles in the state.

The high investment required for alternative fuels infrastructure makes the chicken-and-egg problem significant.

"We have to see consumers support all of these fuels in order for them to become readily available," said Judy Moore, spokesperson for the NAFTC, which works to provides education to build awareness of the options.

Helping to move infrastructure along is the state's alternative fueling infrastructure tax credit. It offers a credit of 50 percent of allowable costs up to $312,500 for infrastructure for public use and remains in effect, with occasional adjustments to the maximum, through 2021.