The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has enhanced its Alternative Fuels Data Center website in order to give fleets and other stakeholders more detailed information and strategies related to alt-fuel vehicles.
NREL, which operates under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy, says the first enhancement to the site is a new feature called the Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool. This option enables fleet managers to evaluate the transportation-related benefits of natural gas, propane autogas, biodiesel, ethanol and electrification, as well as non-fuel strategies such as idle reduction and fuel economy improvements.
‘From a single web page, a fleet manager can explore multiple strategies and know what the energy and environmental impacts will likely be before making any substantial investments,’ explains Witt Sparks, a project manager with NREL.
The tool allows fleet managers to create ‘what-if’ scenarios – e.g., ‘What if I convert my pickup trucks to run on natural gas or propane?’ – that ultimately help establish ‘a set of measurable objectives to meet desired goals.’ Charts and tables display annual reductions in emissions, petroleum use and fuel costs, and plans can be adjusted as needed and saved for future use.
The Alternative Fuels Data Center overall has been refined to include a large library of maps and data that users can view and customize, NREL says. Featured data sets cover a range of transportation topics, including alternative fuel use trends, driving habits, hybrid vehicle availability, biofuels production, transportation regulations and incentives, and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.
Also, the site's updated Alternative Fueling Station Locator application has been enhanced to allow users to embed the locator into their own websites.