The City of Las Vegas, Nevada
has taken a giant leap forward in its efforts to promote alternative energy sources by running 1,350 of its 1,500 vehicle fleet – ninety percent- on sources other than gasoline.
Las Vegas began this effort in order to improve public awareness of the viability of alternative fuel sources, and operates vehicles on everything from hybrid technology to biodiesel, compressed natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells. The city’s decision to convert their fleet to alternative energy proves to the public on a daily basis that these fuel sources are not only effective, but safe as well. “There was a great deal of fear associated with hydrogen and CNG. Many thought they were sitting on a ‘bomb’ and that they would explode,” said Dan Hyde, the Fleet and Transportations Services Manager for the city of Las Vegas, “Since we built the world’s first hydrogen energy station
in 2002 — where the entire hydrogen fueling site operated independently of the electrical power grid due to a state-of-the-art, standalone 50Kw fuel cell — there was a great deal of resistance from the City’s Fire Marshall, building inspectors, and electrical engineers to authorize its construction, especially since there were no building codes associated with hydrogen as a transportation fuel at the time.” The facility was eventually completed after three years of planning and construction, and now operates with complete safety. “We have already done the hard part in proving alternative fuels work, and we know how to get a hydrogen facility built,” said Hyde.
The City of Las Vegas hopes that its efforts will persuade other cities to go green with their fleets. Dan Hyde thinks that “using [the city of Las Vegas as a model] will bypass delays like those we encountered, because we can tell fleets how to avoid the mistakes we made.”
Photo courtesy of ideowl under the Creative Commons License.