ORNL and the Sustainable ORNL Sustainable Vehicle Fleet Roadmap contributors actively engage in regional and local planning for sustainable transportation, as well as in outreach activities for its enhancement across the entire Southeast region. In 2016, Sustainable ORNL coordinated with state and regional transportation programs to help create more effective, efficient, and affordable regional transportation and commuting options. ORNL staff were active participants in local and regional organizations, such as the Board of Directors for the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, which focuses on regional sustainable transportation options. Attendance at board meeting allows for important interaction with regional stakeholders, including Knoxville Area Transit, the City of Knoxville, SMart Trips, and others. ORNL remains committed to coordinating with local, state, and federal stakeholders to advance telecommute and ride-share initiatives.
Specific efforts, some detailed subsequently, include the following:
- Participation in the new bus route linking the UT Knoxville, Pellissippi State Community College (PSCC), and ORNL campuses.
- Participation in the Tennessee Workplace Charging Challenge.
- Encouragement of Smart Trips participation by ORNL employees.
- Collaboration with the local DOE Clean Cities Coalition and regional stakeholders.
- Participation in the Southeast Alternative Fuels Conference.
In 2017 and 2018, ORNL's Fleet received the Government Green Fleet Award. This award was presented for our success in "greening" the ORNL Fleet by using alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, emission reductions, long-range planning, and staff education and involvement. We improved our ranking from 29th in the nation to 20th in only one year. We intend to replace light-duty diesel trucks with more efficient models that use alternative fuels. Diesel vehicles develop problems when they are used for short trips, are driven low speeds, and are driven in stop-and-go circumstances. We also continue to analyze and study benefits of other fuel types and new vehicle technologies.
Fleet Petroleum Consumption
By FY 2016, ORNL and other federal facilities were challenged to reduce annual petroleum consumption by 20% relative to an FY 2005 baseline and then maintain a 20% reduction thereafter. Fuel data for FY 2016 showed that ORNL nearly tripled the cumulative target of 20% decrease in petroleum consumption by achieving a cumulative decrease of 54.6% compared with the baseline. Of the low-speed vehicles (LSVs) used on campus in 2016, 22% were EVs. Under the auspices of Sustainable ORNL, two diesel-powered LSVs from the ORNL fleet were evaluated on the vehicle dynamometer in the Fuels, Engines, and Emissions Research Center to benchmark their fuel economy and emissions. Results showed excellent fuel economy of 22 to 36 miles per gallon, much higher than expected for this type of nonroad vehicle and much higher than would be expected from light-duty sedans or pickup trucks used in similar service.
As funding is provided, appropriate approvals are granted, and the mission dictate, ORNL will continue to replace inefficient vehicles with alternative-fuel vehicles (AFV) and hybrids; replace heavy-duty vehicles with units that have smaller gross vehicle weight ratings; and, when possible, replace gasoline LSVs with electric LSVs. Other planned fleet measures include the following:
- Zero waivers for using petroleum fuel in AFVs.
- Promotion of lab-wide E85 alternative fuel use.
- Zero missed opportunities for fuel AFVs with alternative fuels.
- Replacement of older vehicles with AFVs and hybrids as funding allows.
- Continued emphasis of initiatives that will decrease idling practices by personnel.
- Procurement of hybrid vehicles to provide the on-site taxi/shuttle activity with fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Continued reduction of vehicle use (e.g., through teleconferencing, trip consolidation, use of mass transportation).
Fleet Alternative Fuel Consumption
Contributing to reduced petroleum consumption at ORNL is the continued introduction of alternative vehicles and fuels, including the gasoline-ethanol blend E85 and biodiesel blend B20. DOE's goal for federal facilities is to increase annual alternative fuel consumption by 10% by 2015 relative to an FY 2005 baseline and to maintain 10% thereafter. ORNL not only reached the 10% with ease by FY 2007 but also recently achieved a 331% increase over the 2005 baseline in FY 2016.
ORNL currently has on-site three alternative fuel pumps and a fueling truck that dispenses B20 biodiesel fuel to equipment and vehicles. An outside fuel test laboratory frequently tests the E85 fuel to determine the ethanol content. Any interruptions in the availability or quality of alternative fuels could quickly lead to reduced alternative fuel and increased petroleum use, which would set back our progress toward DOE goals. After the vehicle purchases were made for FY 2016, 63% of the ORNL fleet is made up of flexible-fuel vehicles. In addition, 86% of the vehicles, including recently purchased PHEVs, can use alternative fuel.
ORNL continues to be a leader in the Southeast for alternative-fuel fleet use and remains involved in alternative fuel outreach through partnerships with the local DOE Clean Cities program (East Tennessee Clean Fuels) and by providing experts at local public outreach and education events. Such events highlight ORNL's experience and expertise in alternative fuel use. ORNL's educational outreach efforts help the public make informed decisions regarding both the benefits and challenges of alternative fuel use.
Future Fuels: E85 Pump Upgrades
Since FY 2005, ORNL has cumulatively decreased its petroleum consumption by 48.6% and has enhanced its alternative fuel use by 331%, exceeding DOE targets and demonstrating early commitment to sustainable transportation. This commitment persists for further development of vehicles and fuels. In September 2016, for example, a project called "Right at the Pumps" was carried out to promote E85 fuel use. The project incorporated a makeover of the fuel station and pumps on campus with improved signage, including brightly colored "Fuel up with E85" graphics for heightened awareness.
AFV Fleet and Infrastructure Expansion
ORNL remains a leader in the southeast and among national labs in the use of alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. In 2017, ORNL was awarded honorable mention by The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas (Johnson 2016). The lab is expanding use of AFVs, including plug-in electric vehicles (PEV), to help meet ORNL goals and those set forth in the EO for reduced use of petroleum-based fuels and increased fleet fuel economy. One goal was that 75% of light-duty vehicle (LDV) acquisitions must be for AFVs by 2016 and ORNL exceeded this goal with 100% of ORNL LDV acquisitions being AFVs. Another goal was that 20% of newly acquired passenger vehicles must either be PHEVs or produce zero emissions by FY 2020, working towards a goal of 50% by FY 2025. ORNL supported both of these DOE goals by adding one Ford C-Max Energi and two Ford Fusion Energi PHEVs to its fleet in 2017, bringing the number of PEVs to five.
Via telematics, ORNL collects data on use, battery charging, and fuel economy of one fleet PHEV and one fleet non-PHEV. In FY 2016, ORNL purchased four additional telematics devices with advanced capabilities. By applying ORNL's expertise in PHEV data analysis, the laboratory can monitor for problems and quickly provide solutions, it can also aid in decisions of where to best use PHEV and charging infrastructure as more PHEVs are added to the fleet.
Transportation Efforts in Research and Employee Sustainability Options
The Sustainable ORNL team continues to actively engage in regional and local planning for sustainable transportation as well as outreach activities for the enhancement of sustainable transportation in the entire southeast region. We have coordinated with state and regional transportation programs to help create more effective, efficient, and affordable regional transportation and commuting options. Staff members are active in participation in local and regional organizations, including service on the Board of Directors of East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, focusing on regional sustainable transportation options. These meetings are important in interactions with regional stakeholders, including Knoxville Area Transit, the City of Knoxville, and Smart Trips. ORNL remains committed to coordinating with local, state, and federal telecommute and rideshare initiatives.
Special efforts include:
- Promotion of the University of Tennessee (UT), Pellissippi State Community College (PSCC), ORNL bus route
- Encouragement of Smart Trips participation by ORNL employees
- Collaboration with the local DOE Clean Cities coalition and regional stakeholders
- Participation in the Southeast Alternative Fuels Conference
- Annual Reporting through the TN Workplace Charging Challenge in partnership with the DOE nationwide Workplace Charging Challenge