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Innovation & Startups

CCAC offers the first alternative fuel training center in the state

The state's first Alternative Fuel Training Center is revving up for a fall opening on the West Campus of the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC).

Thanks to a partnership between CCAC and Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities (PRCC), the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) will offer alternative fuel classes on servicing and operating hybrids. Mechanics interested in the training previously had to drive to West Virginia, the headquarters for NAFTC, the center for alternative fuel vehicle and advanced technology vehicle training in the U.S.

The initiative is just the beginning of Clean Cities' push to put infrastructure in place to support the growth of alternative fuel transportation in the region, says Jan Lauer, president.  Local companies-- Giant Eagle, Cellone Bakery, Schwan's--are preparing to switch their fleets to alternative fuels. Providing service centers and mechanics to maintain these fleets is the logical next step, expanding the industry and creating jobs in the region.

In addition, PPRC is working with several area companies to establish slow-fill compressed natural gas (CNG) stations.  EQT and Giant Eagle both have plans to open public stations. A Propane Powered Vehicle Expo was held at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Regional Office in New Stanton this week. PPRC has also partnered with Eaton on electric vehicle demonstrations. 

"The region is going to see a big charge forward in CNG and electric this year, especially if the EPA changes the conversion laws," says Rick Price, executive director of PPRC. "A lot of things are going to start happening."

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Jan Lauer, Rick Price; PPRC

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