New version tool launched to evaluate alternative fuels performance


Despite the potential benefits of alternative fuel vehicles, being one of the first businesses or individuals to embrace a new product or technology can be daunting. That is why the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory is releasing an updated version of its AFLEET tool to reflect the latest advances in alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies and updated emissions data.

Mainly designed for managers that purchase and maintain a fleet of vehicles, AFLEET stands for the Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation Tool. The free, publicly available tool provides users with a roadmap for assessing which types of vehicles and fuels, including Autogas, are right for them. The 2016 AFLEET Tool and user guide are available online.

Through case studies conducted by AFLEET developers, the tool has evaluated the environmental benefits of vehicles under a range of circumstances — from fleets of Chicago-based, propane-operated bakery delivery trucks, to propane-fuelled school buses in Texas and Virginia.

In each of the propane-operated vehicle case studies, use of propane displaced well over a thousand gallons of diesel fuel per vehicle annually on average, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by several tons per vehicle annually.

“There really is not a tool out there to look at alternative fuels and advanced vehicles in this way,” said Andrew Burnham, Argonne principal environmental scientist. “We are 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.”