Goods delivered by Rochester-Hills-based healthcare supplies provider Wright & Fillippis are getting to their destinations on propane power as the company converts 25 percent of its fleet to this clean form of fuel.
That means 12 of Wright & Fillippis' trucks and vans will run on propane as they deliver goods in Michigan. About half the vehicles have already been converted and are on the road and a propane station is up and operating at the company's headquarters.
"They're hoping to convert the entire fleet eventually," says Matt Sandstrom, mobility division manager for the Clean Energy Coalition, an Ann Arbor-based non-profit that steers companies through the process of converting to alternative fuels, whether for transportation or building.
The Wright & Fillippis
fleet conversion came out of a partnership with the coalition through a $15 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Wright & Fillippis and the Clean Energy Coalition
worked with Roush CleanTech
, a Plymouth Township company that designs and manufactures liquid propane autogas fuel systems for a variety of light and medium Ford vehicles. The technology, which reduces vehicle operating costs and vehicle emissions, is available to consumers through authorized Ford dealerships.
The Wright & Fillippis project is one of several clean-fuel conversions being directed by the coalition through a $40 million agreement with the Department of Energy, says Sandstrom.
Of all the clean fuel projects, about a third are propane, he says. The others are compressed natural gas, electric, and hydraulic hybrid, he says. The type of fuel used depends on the type of fleet and uses of the vehicles, and the coalition guides companies through the learning process to select what's best for them.
Companies working with the Clean Energy Coalition include Frito-Lay, which is converting 90 of its vehicles, about half of its Michigan fleet, to propane, and U-haul, which is converting 30 vehicles.
"It should be very clear that this is not R&D. This is a deployment of these technologies… They've already been true and tried," Sandstrom says.
For Wright & Fillippis, propane autogas will result in the use of 48,000 fewer gallons of gasoline, the elimination of 931,200 pounds of carbon dioxide released, and a savings of $3,000 per converted vehicle, or $36,000 total thus far.
Source: Matt Sandstrom, mobility division manager, Clean Energy Coalition
Writer: Kim North Shine