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August 06, 2013  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

Missouri district to transition fleet to CNG


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Superintendent Dr. David McGehee discusses Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s lease-purchase initiative, which will include 149 Thomas Built school buses powered by compressed natural gas.

Superintendent Dr. David McGehee discusses Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s lease-purchase initiative, which will include 149 Thomas Built school buses powered by compressed natural gas.

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — In a 10-year lease-purchase agreement, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District will replace its diesel fleet with 149 Thomas Built school buses powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).

Officials touted the move as the nation’s largest school bus transition to CNG and said that it will reduce fuel costs while benefitting students and the environment. The district’s program also includes a shift toward CNG-powered facility maintenance trucks and continued use of all-electric delivery trucks.

Lee’s Summit R-7 officials said that a portion of the estimated $11 million in overall savings from the 10-year initiative will be used to purchase technology infrastructure and equipment that will benefit all Lee’s Summit schools and facilities.

"We are making changes within our district that will benefit students for years and years," Superintendent Dr. David McGehee said. "With the conversion to environmentally friendly school buses and district vehicles, we are able to use the savings generated in this area to purchase much-needed technology infrastructure and equipment that will provide students with access to increased technological resources."

The overall lease-purchase plan is being funded through district savings, redirected resources and capital funds along with state, federal and business partnerships and grants.

Lee’s Summit R-7 will convert the following vehicles to CNG over the next few years: 149 buses, a refrigerator truck used for food delivery and about 46 vehicles used by facility maintenance and custodial employees. For the 2013-14 school year, 106 CNG-powered buses are being delivered; the remainder will be delivered over the next five years.

Along with Thomas Built Buses, the district’s partners for the project include CNG supplier Clean Energy and school bus distributor Midwest Bus Sales.

Savings from the vehicle transition will fund a district-wide technology upgrade. Officials said that improved and updated infrastructure will provide students and staff with a robust, reliable and secure network, including switches, wireless access points and server upgrades.

Long-term fuel and maintenance savings are estimated at approximately $11 million, with outside resources for the initiative totaling close to $3.5 million.

The initiative includes construction of a CNG filling station near Lee's Summit R-7’s transportation department. The facility will serve district vehicles while providing the community with a public CNG filling station. The district will receive a royalty on retail CNG sales.

As part of the lease-purchase initiative, Lee's Summit R-7 purchased 1.5 acres next to its current transportation department and facilities department buildings.


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Read more about: alternative fuels, CNG, cutting costs, emissions, Missouri, Thomas Built Buses

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A 2012 analysis by the Clean Air Task Force compared 2012 CNG to 2012 clean diesel buses. This is a significant comparison because modern clean diesel buses (post 2007 model year)have reduced NOx and PM emissions by 98% and ultra-low sulfur diesel has reduced sulfur emissions by 97 percent. The reality is new clean diesel technology is very competitive with CNG – in a much more cost-effective manner. 2012 Clean Diesel Bus - 2012 CNG Bus Emissions Comparison To 2000 Diesel Bus (compared to a 2000 diesel bus) Nitrogen Oxide Particulate Matter Hydrocarbon 2012 Diesel Bus -94% -98% -89% 2012 CNG Bus -80% -99% -100% (Source: Clean Air Task Force - “Clean Diesel versus CNG Buses: Cost, Air Quality, & Climate Impacts”) An analysis by the Clean Air Task Force entitled “Clean Diesel versus CNG Buses: Cost, Air Quality, & Climate Impacts” (2012) found: “Both new diesel and new CNG buses have significantly lower emissions of NOx, PM, and HC than the older diesel buses that they replace. According to EPA’s MOVES emissions model a 2012 model year diesel bus emits 94% less NOx per mile, 98% less PM, and 89% less HC than a model year 2000 (12-year old) diesel bus. A model year 2012 CNG bus emits 80% less NOx, 99% less PM, and 100% less HC than a model year 2000 diesel bus. Emissions Reductions Per 10 Replacement Buses (compared to 2000 diesel buses) Nitrogen Oxide Particulate Matter Hydrocarbon 2012 Diesel -4,953 kg -275 kg -429 kg 2012 CNG -4,197 kg -279 kg -471 kg (Source: Clean Air Task Force - “Clean Diesel versus CNG Buses: Cost, Air Quality, & Climate Impacts”) “Replacing 10 older diesel buses with new diesel buses will reduce annual NOx, PM, and HC emissions by 4,953 kg, 275 kg, and 421 kg respectively. Replacing 10 older diesel buses with new CNG buses will reduce annual NOx, P

Steve Hansen    |    Aug 07, 2013 08:02 AM

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