Argonne Lab Rolls Out New Version of Alt-Fuel Analysis Tool


The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has released an updated version of its AFLEET tool to reflect the latest advances in alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies and updated emissions data.

Sponsored by the DOE Clean Cities program, “AFLEET” stands for the Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation Tool. The free, publicly available tool provides users with a road map for assessing which types of vehicles and fuels are right for them. The 2016 AFLEET Tool and user guide are available online.

According to Argonne National Laboratory, the latest version includes the following: gaseous hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, state-based (rather than national-based) fuel pricing, private station fuel pricing and fueling infrastructure costs.

Updates to existing inputs include new light-duty vehicle costs; vehicle air pollutant emission factors derived from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions modeling system; and petroleum use and greenhouse-gas and relative air pollutant emissions from the 2015 GREET model.

“There really isn’t a tool out there to look at alternative fuels and advanced vehicles in this way,” says Andrew Burnham, Argonne’s principal environmental scientist. “We’re bringing the unique expertise Argonne has in vehicle and fuel life-cycle analysis to provide environmental information, like petroleum use and greenhouse-gas and air pollutant emissions, as well as cost analysis, so users have as much information as possible.”

In case studies conducted by AFLEET developers, the tool has evaluated the environmental benefits of vehicles under many circumstances – including fleets of Chicago-based, propane-operated bakery delivery trucks; propane-fueled school buses in Texas and Virginia; and refuse trucks running on compressed natural gas (CNG) in Milwaukee; Chicago; and Boise, Idaho.

In each of the propane-operated vehicle case studies, AFLEET found the use of propane displaced well over 1,000 gallons of diesel per vehicle annually on average. Case study results on CNG refuse trucks showed even higher averaged gallons of displaced diesel, at more than 7,000 gallons per vehicle annually.

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