Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool Webinar (Text Version)

This is a text version of the video for theĀ Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool webinar presented on Sept. 18, 2012, by Witt Sparks, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

COORDINATOR: Welcome and thank you for standing by. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. During the question-and-answer session, please press star 1 on your touchtone phone.

Today's conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. And now, I would like to turn the meeting over to Ms. Sandra Loi. Ms. Loi, you may begin.

SANDRA LOI: Thank you, Kat. Good morning, good afternoon, everyone, depending on where you're calling us in from. As the operator said, I'm Sandra Loi, and I'm a project leader at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory supporting the Clean Cities program.

Today, we have a Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool webinar for you. We're going to provide you with a demo of this tool. It's not a new tool, but it has been updated. And for those who may not be familiar with Clean Cities, Clean Cities has been around since 1993. Its ultimate mission and goal is to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector.

And one aspect of the work that we do is to provide tools and resources that help you make those vehicle decisions for your fleet for converting—for the use of alternative fuels and other advanced technologies. And today, I have Witt Sparks. He's our project leader here. He's been with NREL for five years, and he's going to walk you through—do a demonstration of the tool.

And then we will open up the lines at the end for questions, so jot down some notes as he's speaking, and then we'll allow you to jump in and ask some questions at the end. And without further ado, I'll let Witt go ahead and get us started today.

WITT SPARKS: Great. Thanks, Sandra. As Sandra mentioned, this is not a new tool. It's an update of an existing tool that's been around for a while. The new features in the new tool are the ability to calculate greenhouse gas emissions as well as petroleum reduction.

And we've also added support for some of the new electrified vehicle technologies that have come out in the last few years. I have the Alternative Fuels Data Center home page up on my screen right now. There's a number of ways you can get to the Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool from here.

There's actually the little scrolling image here. The next time it scrolls past it will have a link to the PREP tool. I can also go up to the tools page here and get to it from there. And there's a link right here to the Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool.

So I click on that link, and the tool comes up. It is somewhat similar to the old tool. So if you've used the old tool, you might find it familiar. We have—we're hoping that it's going to be a lot easier to use and a lot more user friendly than the old tool was.

So let me just jump right in. Basically, if you haven't used this tool before, it allows you to explore various options for reducing petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. And the important thing to note is that it's not an inventory-based tool. So you're not going to go into this tool and enter all of your vehicles and then start making changes.

It's really more for exploring specific changes. And if that doesn't make sense, when I actually start using the tool, hopefully, that will become clear. So let's just go ahead and get started. First of all, the main area that you're going to interact with is this area of the screen down here where it says "Savings Methods."

And there's various things that you can do to your fleet to reduce your petroleum consumption. Replacing vehicles, using alternative fuel in existing vehicles, et cetera. So if I want to get started, let's say I want to explore using—let's say I want to explore replacing some mid-sized gasoline cars that I have with some smaller diesel vehicles—and maybe using some biodiesel in those vehicles.

So what I'm going to do is I'm going to look for the savings method that applies to that. And in this case, I want to replace vehicles. So I'll click the "Add to Plan" button to do that. And I'll get a screen that comes up—a form to fill out—that allows me to describe my current vehicles and fuel, and the new vehicles and fuel that I'm going to replace those vehicles with.

So I'm going to put in that I have 10 mid-sized gasoline cars. That provides a default fuel economy for me. I can override that if I want to if I know the fuel economy of my existing vehicles. And it also provides a default VMT, or vehicle miles traveled, which I can also override if I want to.

So over here in the new vehicles and fuel, I'm going to get rid of those 10 gasoline cars, and I'm going to get 10 compact diesel vehicles. And the power train dropdown I'm going to skip over for now. We'll talk about that in a minute. And I'm going to say that I know first of all that my vehicles drive—do a lot of highway driving. And I know the kind of vehicle that I'm going to purchase. So I'm going to put in 40 miles per gallon.

And then if I click "Add to Plan" now, you'll see a new row shows up here in this table. It says, "Replace 10 mid-sized gas cars with 10 compact cars using diesel." And if I look through here, I can see what's my—what my petroleum reduction is, what my greenhouse gas reduction is, what my fuel cost savings is.

I can also—I can edit this plan. Let's say I wanted to explore: Well, what would happen if I used some biodiesel in those vehicle? So I can edit the plan, and I can come down here and change the fuel type of these vehicles to B20. And you'll see a new field showed up here.

I'll put in my 40 miles per gallon. And I'll say that I'm actually going to use B20 100% of the time. I'll click "Update." And now you can see that my petroleum reduction changed as did my greenhouse gas emissions and my fuel cost savings.

So one thing to note here is that you can do this multiple times for each savings method. So let's say I wanted to compare: What if I replaced those 10 mid-sized gasoline cars with some plug-in hybrid electric vehicles? So I'm going to say "Add Another." And I'll go in, and again I'll put—I'll use the same cars that I did before. And then I'll say I've got 10—going to replace those with 10 compact.

Now, the fuel type here, I'm interested in plug-in hybrid electrics. So under fuel type, I'm going to put gasoline. So that's my liquid fuel in those vehicles. If this was a purely electric vehicle, I would put electricity as my fuel type. But I'm going to choose gasoline because it is a plug-in hybrid.

Now, under power train, here's where I tell it that it's a plug-in hybrid. So here's a—this is a hybrid electric vehicle. This is a PHEV-10, which means a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with 10 miles of all-electric range. A PHEV-20 and a PHEV-40—so I'm going to say I'm going to get Chevy Volt, just as an example. So I'll say a PHEV-40.

And here it gives me my fuel economy. So this is my fuel economy when running on gasoline, the 40 miles per gallon. And this is my, essentially, electricity fuel economy—so 36 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles. I'll add that to my plan.

And now you can see that I've got both of these in my plan. I've got replacing the mid-sized gasoline cars with diesel vehicles. And I'm replacing them with PHEV-40. So this is a way that you can use the tool to compare two different approaches. So I can compare the greenhouse gas reduction, the petroleum reduction, and the fuel cost between both of those options.

So I'm going to—so next, I'm going to say, "Okay, well, I like the biodiesel option better." So I'm going to delete my PHEV-40, and it removes that from the plan.

So let's now explore some of the other savings methods that are available. So okay, so let's say I've got some—let's see, what was my next—let's say I've got the medium-duty trucks. And I wanted—the medium-duty diesel trucks. And I want to explore using biodiesel in those instead of straight diesel. So I'm going to click "Add to Plan" next to "Use Alternative Fuel in Existing Vehicles."

So these are vehicles that I already own. And I'm just going to change the fuel type that I use. So these are medium-duty diesel trucks. And again, it populates the fuel economy and the miles traveled. I'm going to say that I know that I don't drive them 14,000 miles. I drive them 9,500 miles.

And let's say instead of diesel, for my new fuel type, I'm going to use B20. And I'm going to do that 50% of the time. So I'll add that to my plan. And you can see that shows up down here along with the numbers.

Just to explore some other—and I can do that as—another thing that I can do here if I click "Add Another"—let's say I've got some gasoline pickup trucks, and I want to use E85 in those 100% of the time. I can do that as well. And I let that sit at one vehicle.

Reduce idling—so let's say I have a plan to reduce my idling—my vehicle idling. Let's say I have five heavy-duty trucks. My current idling time is an hour a day, and my duty cycle is 200 days per year. And I'm going to institute something to reduce that to, you know, let's say a half an hour a day.

Now, there's a number of ways that—this doesn't specify how I'm going to do this. This could be using truck stop electrification instead of idling to maintain, you know, climate in your cab. This could be an education program to modify driver behavior.

This doesn't make any assumptions about how you're going to do this. If you click the "Learn More" link down here, that'll take you to a page on the AFDC that will describe various approaches to idle reduction. So I'll go ahead and add that to my plan as well.

So now you can see I'm building up a number of different options here—a number of different things that I can do to my fleet. And now I can sort of compare the impact of those various changes that I'm making.

So over here on the graph, you can see that my biggest impact was the use of—was switching out those 10 midsized gasoline cars to diesel vehicles. Or actually, sorry, the biggest impact was using diesel in my medium-duty trucks and E85 in that large pickup. Swapping out my midsized cars is reflected here in the orange bar.

And then my idle reduction is up here in the red bar. So you can see what impact each of those changes has on your plan. There's a couple of more—there's a couple of other approaches that are available. There's—I can reduce my VMT. So I can just say I'm going to dive some vehicles less than I do currently.

Or I can also drive more efficiently. So if I were to introduce a training program or something like that, that I think I can get a 5% improvement just in fuel economy on some of my existing vehicles, I can explore that through both of these approaches. So mileage reduction—these are both very simple. I just tell it what my current vehicle does, and, you know, then I'd put in here—well, instead of traveling 12,000 miles a year, I'm only going to travel 7,000 miles a year.

I can add that to my plan. And then again, on "Driving Efficiently", again, it's very similar. Describe the vehicles that I'm using—the improvement that I expect to get. Add that to my plan. And again, those are reflected in the bar graphs over here on the left.

So once you've got this built up—once you've got a plan built up, you might want to save it. So if I go over here to "Log in to save/view plans," I can. So if you don't have an account, you can click this "Create Account" link. And that will allow you to create an account. But I'll log in to my existing account.

Okay, so now you can see I'm logged in. And if I want to save my plan, I can give it a name up here. I'll save it. And now if I go over here to "View Plans," I can see all the petroleum reduction plans that I've created as part of this account. And I can compare them, you know. I can see which one is giving me the most petroleum reduction or the most greenhouse gas reduction or whatever.

And then if you click on the title of one of these, it'll take you back in to that plan. Oh, one thing that I did neglect to point out: You'll notice under "Use Alternative Fuel in Existing Vehicles" in both cases I ended out with a negative cost savings. And that's just because the cost of the alternative fuel ended out being more on a per GGE basis, a per gasoline gallon equivalent basis, than the fuel that I was replacing.

And so what this is telling me is that, you know, using biodiesel is actually going to cost me an extra $314 a year versus using straight diesel. There are a couple other things you can do here. I can set a petroleum reduction goal. So if I say that my current annual petroleum use is 50,000 gallons and I have a 10% petroleum reduction goal, it'll put this little dot on here on the graph.

And it'll say, okay, this is my goal, and I can see how close I am to meeting that goal. We're just about—we've just about gone through everything here. If I want to—if I want to print this report, I can click "Printable Version" right up here at the top, and it'll reformat it a little bit so that it fits on the page a little bit better. The graph will show up down here at the bottom. And I can print that.

And then if you're curious about the calculations and things like that that went into this report—or went into this tool—you can click the "Assumptions" button here. And that will take you to a page that describes all of those calculations and the methodologies and some of the data sources that we've used.

So that pretty much covers everything that I had. If anybody has questions, please—you're welcome to ask those now.

SANDRA LOI: Okay, great. Kat, can we go ahead and open up the phone lines for questions, please?

COORDINATOR: Certainly. Thank you. If you would like to ask a question at this time, please press star 1 on your touchtone phone. Please unmute your phone and record your name when prompted. To withdraw your question, press star 2. Once again, please press star 1 to ask a question. One moment please.

SANDRA LOI: Great, thank you. While we're waiting for the first question, Witt, I was just wondering if you recommend that folks set a goal before they start kind of tinkering with the different options? Or does that not really matter? What do you recommend?

WITT SPARKS: Yes, as far as the tool is concerned, it doesn't matter at all. You can do it at any time. If you do have a specific goal in mind, you know, you can certainly set that at the beginning, and then it'll give you an idea if you're, you know, if it's going to be easy to meet that goal or if that's going to be a difficult goal to meet as you're building your plan.

SANDRA LOI: Okay, great. Thank you.

COORDINATOR: And we do have a few questions that have come in. Thank you, our first one comes from Tim Taylor. Your line is open.

TIM TAYLOR: Yes, I had two questions. One was—is, without seeing the actual assumptions, is the greenhouse gas benefit based on a well-to-wheels analysis, or just a tailpipe analysis?

And the second question is on the bar graph where you showed the—excuse me, on the screen where you showed the bar graphs of the multiple tests—is it possible to get the data output so you could do your own graphs of, say, Test 1, Test 2, Test 3 of a given fuel right next to each other? So in other words, can you get—can you export the data?

WITT SPARKS: So to answer your second question, you can't. There's no way to export the data itself, you know, into a spreadsheet or something like that. As far as the greenhouse gas emissions, they are well-to-wheel. And it's all based on the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Model.

TIM TAYLOR: Thank you.

WITT SPARKS: Thank you.

COORDINATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Bill Zeller. Your line is open.

BILL ZELLER: Good morning. Does the tool correct for the energy difference between biofuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol?

WITT SPARKS: Yes, it does.

BILL ZELLER: It does? Okay, thanks.


SANDRA LOI: Thank you.


WITT SPARKS: Yes, that's actually a good point. If I go in here and, you know, under my new vehicle, if I'm choosing a diesel vehicle, it's asking me for the fuel economy on diesel. So if I put B100, right, the vehicle's going to get slightly less fuel economy on B100 than it would on diesel. So what it's asking me here is—it's asking me for the fuel economy of this vehicle running on regular petroleum diesel. And then it accounts for the lower energy content of biodiesel behind the scenes.

And sort of the same thing if I pick propane as my fuel type—here it's actually asking me for the fuel economy of the vehicle running on propane, so MPG, LPG. So it does account for all those—all that energy difference in the calculations.

SANDRA LOI: Great, next question?

COORDINATOR: Thank you. Jeff Malander, your line is open.

JEFF MALANDER: Hi, I was wondering how often the numbers behind the fuel cost and everything are updated and kept up to date in the system?

WITT SPARKS: Those are based on the Alternative Fuel Price Report that's published on the Alternative Fuel Data Center. That's updated quarterly. Is that right?

SANDRA LOI: Correct.

JEFF MALANDER: Okay, great.

COORDINATOR: Thank you. And once again, to ask a question, please press star 1. One moment please.

SANDRA LOI: Thank you.

COORDINATOR: Beth Baird, your line is open.

BETH BAIRD: Hi, I have a question on the fuel cost savings, also. I'm assuming based upon what you just said those are average numbers?

WITT SPARKS: Average in terms of what?

BETH BAIRD: Well, across the country.

WITT SPARKS: Oh, yes. Yes.

BETH BAIRD: So is there an option to actually go into the spreadsheets, into the assumptions, and put in local information as to cost?

WITT SPARKS: Not at this time. That's something that we're considering for a future update.

BETH BAIRD: Okay, thanks.

COORDINATOR: Thank you. And once again, please press star 1 to ask a question. One moment please.

SANDRA LOI: Okay, thank you.

COORDINATOR: And I am showing nothing further at this—oh, one moment please. David Tucker, your line is open, sir.

DAVID TUCKER: Yes, thank you. I just wanted to ask if you all have considered for future editions of the PREP tool adding in the emissions reductions that can come in other areas. You know, like criteria pollutants.

WITT SPARKS: Yes, that is something that we have considered. And we're going to be—like I said, we're going to be doing an update of the tool this year. And so we've got a number of things on the list. And we'll go through those and figure out which ones we were able to implement.

DAVID TUCKER: Thank you.

SANDRA LOI: Thank you.

COORDINATOR: Thank you. And if you did just press star 1 to ask a question, your line is open. You may go ahead. Please check your mute button. If you did have a question, your line is open. Please check your mute button.

WOMAN: Hello?

COORDINATOR: Yes, go ahead, please.

WOMAN: Hi there. I have a question about the—I guess to define the—what's the definition of a heavy-duty diesel truck. Is that a Class A truck? Is that a refuse truck? I mean, what's the criteria for that?

WITT SPARKS: So the only thing we have—so it's basically—it's based on weight. And we've got a few categories here. You know, we've got a 14,000-lb truck, a 26,000-lb truck. And then the heavy-duty truck would be a Class A.

Really, really these—the only thing selecting this vehicle type does is to provide a—it lets us provide a default fuel economy, and it tells us what fuel type the vehicle uses. So if there's a vehicle in here that you're not seeing, for example, a refuse truck or a transit bus or something like that, you can sort of—all you need to do is pick the right fuel type.

So I could say, okay, I've got some transit buses. So I could pick any of these diesel trucks. And if I know their fuel economy, you know, I can put that in here. And now you're just—all you're modeling is a diesel vehicle with a fuel economy that you provide. And so it doesn't really matter what—whether you tell it that it's a medium-duty truck or a heavy-duty truck, or whatever. Because the only thing the tool cares about is that it's a diesel vehicle and that it gets a certain fuel economy.

WOMAN: Okay, great. Thank you. Yes, I just didn't know if there was a logarithm that defines the greenhouse gas emission based on the engine efficiency or whatnot. Thanks.

WITT SPARKS: No, the greenhouse gas emissions are all based on quantity of fuel used.

WOMAN: Okay, thank you.

SANDRA LOI: Thank you.


COORDINATOR: And once again, please press star 1. And our next question comes from Ron Crowe. Your line is open.

RON CROWE: Hi, I just had a quick question about the Class A truck. Is there a variation between both fully loaded Class A truck and then an unloaded? Or, you know, variations since, you know, box truck or a flat bed, you know, could do great distances over time, you know, with and without a load?

WITT SPARKS: Yes, that's something that you—no, the tool does not account for that. And that's something that you could model, again, by just figuring out what your average fuel economy is. If you've, you know, if you've taken fuel economy numbers on your vehicle and you know that it's different than what our default value that we provide is, based on, you know, you're traveling a lot when it's unloaded. You can put that number that you know into the tool, and it'll improve the accuracy based on that.

RON CROWE: Okay, thank you.

SANDRA LOI: Thank you.

WITT SPARKS: Thank you. While we're waiting for the next question, I did pull up the assumptions page. And so you can see, you know, it talks about the different savings methods and the assumptions used behind those, and then the values that go into the different fields, and then the calculations that actually produced the numbers.

SANDRA LOI: Any other questions, Kat?

COORDINATOR: No, I'm showing nothing further at this time.

SANDRA LOI: Okay, great. Witt, is there anything else you wanted to add before we end the webinar today?

WITT SPARKS: No, I don't think so.

SANDRA LOI: Okay, great. Well, thank you, everyone, for joining us. And we will be posting the recording of this webinar up on the Clean Cities website. And if you have any other additional comments on the tool, you can feel free to send them to myself. I just put up my email, And if you want to be included on future announcements for Clean Cities webinars, send me an email as well, and I'll add you to our list.

Thank you to Witt for taking time today to walk us through the Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool. And like I said, if you have any additional questions, feel free to send them my way, and I can share them with our team here. Thank you all for participating today. And we'll talk to you soon. Have a great week. Thank you.

COORDINATOR: Thank you. And thank you for your participation. Again, you may disconnect at this time.