A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust

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Dave Heineman, Governor

Board of Trustees

District I
District II
District III

Agency Directors

Trust Staff

August 2013

In This Issue:

  1. Executive Director's Corner
  2. Trust Announces Geo Points for 2014 Grant Cycle
  3. Lewis & Clark Grant
  4. CNG FAQ's
  5. Upcoming Events
  6. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on YouTube

 

Executive Director's Corner

I can tell fall is coming and summer is winding down.  Local schools have started, Husker football and volleyball are just around the corner, the State Fair is fast approaching and we can once again open the windows at night and enjoy the cooler temperatures.  We have been busy meeting with, replying to e-mails and phone calls from grant applicants getting their last minute questions answered before the September 3rd Trust grant deadline.

We are getting our roadshow ready with the State Fair coming up August 23-September 2; Husker Harvest days September 10-12; Ponca Outdoor Expo September 21 and 22; and World of Water Festival September 7.  If you attend any of these events, stop by and see us.  Sheila Johnson and I are the most likely to be at the booth, but other staff or board members might be at the State Fair or Husker Harvest Days.  At the State Fair we will be in the Exhibition Hall with the ag groups (first building inside the west main entrance, with the quilt exhibits).  At Husker Harvest Days we will have a booth inside the Pheasants Forever and Game and Parks building.  At the Ponca Outdoor Expo being held at Ponca State Park we will be in the main building.  At the World of Water Festival we will be in the main building at the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources office at 8901 S. 154th street (just north of the Sapp Brothers truck plaza at I-80 exit 440, on Wehrspann Lake).

Have a safe fall.  Go Big Red!

Mark A. Brohman
Executive Director

 

Trust Announces Geo Points for 2014 Grant Cycle

In a continuing effort to support natural resource projects across Nebraska, the board of the Nebraska Environmental Trust will award bonus points to 2014 grant applicants in only one of the seven geographical areas across the state. The geographical map of Nebraska showing the seven districts can be seen on the Trust website at: www.environmentaltrust.org .

Projects based in District 6 (North Central) will be eligible for 20 bonus points in the 2014 grant cycle.

By law, the Nebraska Environmental Trust is required to ensure a geographic mix of projects over time. Geographic bonus points allow the Trust board to evaluate which areas are in need of Trust grant funds and provide an incentive to increase applications from deficient areas. District 6 has received $16,066,060 since Trust grants began in 1994.

 

Lewis & Clark Grant

The Lewis and Clark NRD(LCNRD) will be cooperating with the UNL Conservation and Survey Division (CSD) to implement a grant awarded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET).  The long-term goal is to define the groundwater flow system below the LCNRD.  In order to accomplish this test holes will be drilled, sampled and logged by CSD geologists. Then 2.5-inch wells will be designed using this information to monitor discrete intervals of this system. Beneath some of the proposed drilling sites there are multiple aquifers; therefore, there may be up to 3 wells at each site, monitoring water from different depths.

Once the monitoring wells are installed the depth to groundwater can be measured and groundwater samples can be obtained for laboratory testing. In order to efficiently measure the depth to groundwater they will use pressure transducers, which are placed in the well to a known depth approximately 60 feet below the water level.  When the transducer is activated it senses and records the weight and temperature of the water above the unit.  A computer program calculates the depth to groundwater using known measuring points and the weight of water.  Water levels will be recorded every 8 hours, documenting seasonal and long-term variations in water level changes.

Groundwater samples will be collected using small diameter submersible pumps. The wells will be pumped until fresh water is flowing from the discharge hose and then the sample bottle will be filled and placed in a cooler.  Samples will be sent to a laboratory for analysis of nitrate, chloride, sulfate and other groundwater components.  Samples will be taken monthly for the first year to assess the seasonal variations in water quality. If there is only a small amount of variation in concentrations the wells will be sampled on annual or semiannual basis in order to assess long-term water quality trends.     

The grant will be implemented over three years, with first year of work focused in Cedar County, the second in Knox County and the third in Dixon County. This work conducted with NET funds will improve identification of the geologic characteristics and groundwater resources in the Lewis and Clark NRD.  Knowledge of the aquifers which provide the majority of our drinking water and irrigation water will be significantly improved, making it possible for the LCNRD staff and Board of Directors to monitor and manage our groundwater resource.

The Nebraska Environmental Trust has awarded $103,500 to complete the first year of work and tentatively approved additional funds of $86,000 for years two and three.  The total cost to define the hydrogeologic framework of the District and to develop a monitoring well network is $421,500. 

drill

Test-hole drilling with UNL Conservation and Survey Division Geologist sampling rotary cuttings for NRD monitoring well network in Northeast Nebraska. 

 

 

Thinking of opting for a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Vehicle?

mud

CNG Frequently Asked Questions - A submission by the Metropolitan Utilities District:

Vehicles

1. What vehicles are available or can be converted to CNG?

There’s a growing variety of light and medium-duty vehicles available.  Most are full-size work trucks, vans and SUVs but there are some sedans and mid-size vehicles.  Most are after-market conversions but many of those can now be ordered directly through dealerships and there are several original equipment manufacturer (OEM) options as well (Honda, Chrysler, and GM).  The best list of available EPA Certified vehicles is at: http://www.ngvamerica.org/about_ngv/available_ngv.html .   This list is updated frequently as more vehicles are added.  Contact MUD at 402-504-7185 for assistance.

2. What’s the difference between Dedicated and Bi-Fuel CNG vehicles?

Dedicated vehicles are designed to run strictly on natural gas.  Dedicated OEM vehicles are built from the manufacturer to run only on natural gas while dedicated conversion vehicles have the gasoline or diesel fuel system removed or de-activated.  Bi-fuel vehicles can run on either natural gas or gasoline.  Dedicated vehicles generally run slightly more efficiently when running on natural gas than do bi-fuel vehicles because the engines are adjusted to run solely on natural gas.
Dedicated vehicles are limited by the range of the particular vehicle and work very well for local fleets that return to a fueling site regularly or commuter vehicles that do not require an extended range.  Bi-fuel vehicles work well for vehicles that need to travel beyond the range of fueling stations.  Conversion costs for dedicated or bi-fuel vehicles are typically about the same but Bi-fuel vehicles can often have smaller CNG fuel tanks installed resulting in cost savings.  Most of the available vehicle incentives are only for dedicated vehicles.

3. How much do CNG vehicles cost?

The “incremental CNG cost” is the additional cost to have a CNG system installed or to order a new vehicle already equipped with a CNG system.  It varies from vehicle to vehicle and depends on a number of factors including vehicle year, make & model, what CNG system is installed, and the amount of fuel tank capacity needed. 

Most full-size pickups and vans have an incremental CNG cost of $8,000 to $12,000.  The factory-built Honda Civic Natural Gas model has an incremental cost of about $5,500 over the same model in a gasoline version.  Specialized vehicles and heavy-duty trucks can have in incremental cost of $15,000 up to $60,000. 

While the up-front costs can be significant, high fuel-use vehicles can recover these costs in a reasonable time period, often two years or less, through fuel cost savings.  The fuel savings over the vehicle lifetime can often recover the entire cost of the vehicle.  There are also a variety of incentives available which can help offset the incremental cost. 

 4. Where can I purchase a new CNG vehicle locally?

For an updated list of local CNG vehicle dealers and converters contact M.U.D. at (402) 504-7185 or email Mike Corrigan at mike_corrigan@mudnebr.com. CNG vehicles are relatively new to most local dealerships and it helps to contact the proper person at each dealership to get accurate information on their vehicle offerings.

New Vehicles
Several local dealerships now stock and/or take orders for new CNG vehicles including:

Atchley Ford                         Baxter Ford                           Gregg Young Chevrolet
Husker Auto Group             O’Daniel Honda                   Omaha Truck Center
Pro Chrysler Jeep RAM      Woodhouse Chrysler         

                After-Market Conversions
Omaha Truck Center/Truck Center Companies Fuel Solutions now offers conversions on light and medium-duty vehicles in Omaha using systems from BAF Technologies and IMPCO Automotive.  They also offer Freightliner heavy-duty CNG and LNG trucks equipped with Cummins Westport Natural Gas Engines.
Fuel Conversion Solutions of Grain Valley, MO now has a conversion shop in Gretna, NE.  They offer light and medium-duty conversions using systems from several manufacturers including IMPCO Automotive, AutoGas America and Baytech Corporation
The MUD Marketing Department (402-504-7185) can provide details on other available vehicles and is working with local car dealers to establish additional local sources.

Fueling

5. How is CNG measured and priced? 

Compressed Natural Gas is sold in GGEs or gasoline gallon equivalents.  A GGE has the same energy content (124,800 BTUs) as a gallon of gasoline.   The District’s CNG rate for July 2013 at the public station is $1.97 per GGE.  The July 2013 rate for private fueling with compression done by the customer is $1.22 per GGE.  These rates include all State and Federal road taxes.

6. Where can I fuel in Omaha?

MUD has two public, fast-fill stations in Omaha, one at the I-80 Fuel Station, 5318 “L’ Street and the other at 2415 S. 64th Ave.  Both are open 24/7 and accept Visa, MasterCard, Voyager and Wright Express cards.  A third public station in West Omaha is being developed.
There are also options for private fueling for fleets and individuals.  Private fueling can be sized to meet the needs of small or large fleets and is also available for residential applications.  Private fueling qualifies for a lower rate per GGE and can also save significant labor costs as drivers do not need to travel to stations.  Private fueling equipment is available locally through Midwest Energy Solutions of Platte City, MO (816) 532-4750, www.mwes4u.com.

7. Where can I fuel outside of Omaha?

New CNG stations are being announced frequently throughout the Midwest.  There are currently two public stations in Lincoln and a third is expected to be open this fall.  There are also stations in Des Moines, St. Joseph, MO, Overland Park, KS, and Topeka, KS.  There are several CNG Station Locator web sites including:
 http://www.afdc.energy.gov/locator/stations/
http://www.cngnow.com/stations/Pages/information.aspx
http://www.cngprices.com/station_map.php

Incentives

8. What incentives are available for CNG vehicles?

MUD offers rebates on a case-by-case basis for fleet vehicles depending on projected fuel use.

The Nebraska Energy Office offers low-interest loans for dedicated CNG vehicles and fueling equipment.  Details are at http://www.neo.ne.gov/loan/index.html and the application form is at http://www.neo.ne.gov/loan/pdf/form7.pdf.  MUD can assist with the loan process.

MUD is also administering a grant through the Nebraska Environmental Trust which provides rebates for 50% or more of the incremental CNG cost of dedicated CNG fleet vehicles in Omaha.  Applications are being accepted for remaining funds in the “Driving Omaha Natural” CNG Fleet Program.

 

 

Upcoming Events

- August 23 - September 2, 2013 - Nebraska State Fair, Grand Island.

- September 3, 2013 - 2014 Grants Deadline

- September 7, 2013 - World O Water Festival, Omaha.

- September 10-12, 2013 - Husker Harvest Days, Grand Island

- September 21-22, 2013 - Ponca Outdoor Expo, Ponca State Park

 

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