Golden, Colo., May 13, 1999 A first-of-its-kind test of natural gas vans may yield data that will help to confirm the performance and benefits of alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) in the Denver area.
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has agreed to collect one year's data on fueling, maintenance, emissions and overall performance on 10 natural gas vans operated by Denver SuperShuttle. NREL will also conduct surveys of van passengers, drivers and service personnel to record their experiences and their opinions on the alternative technology.
NREL's participation is through a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the Gas Research Institute. NREL officials think the test will yield information that can be used by private or public fleet managers considering the clean burning alternative to gasoline vehicles.
SuperShuttle purchased the 10 compressed natural gas (CNG) vans to transport passengers around the Boulder area and between Boulder and Denver International Airport. Five of the 10 new vans are dedicated fuel vehicles, which means they run only on CNG. The other half are bi-fuel vehicles, which are equipped to run on either CNG or gasoline. The AFV's performance will be compared with that of the gasoline-only vans already in SuperShuttle's fleet.
The van evaluation also marks a unique partnership among government, industry and private organizations. The Ford vans will be serviced by Sill-Terhar Ford in Broomfield, an authorized Ford AFV dealership, which purchased special equipment to work with CNG vehicles. The Natural Fuels Corporation is providing driver training and emergency service.
The evaluation meets the goals of the Gas Research Institute and NREL, which both seek to demonstrate and promote alternative transportation technology that can improve air quality and enhance domestic energy security.
Photographs of the new vans are available from NREL. A brochure describing the start-up experiences of the fleet with the new vans will be available June 1 from NREL.