The US Department of Energy announced that it will invest $22 million to support research, development, and demonstration of new plug-in electric vehicles. These vehicles will possess direct injection propane engine technologies.
In addition to supporting the lastest developments in plug-in vehicles, industry publication Energy Manager Today reports that the government agency will also support community-based projects that are aimed at adopting light, medium, and heavy duty vehicles that use fuels like biodiesel, electricity, E85, hydrogen, natural gas, and propane. It will also help with research and development of initiatives like refilling stations to help support such vehicles.
In the United States, the ability to access renewable energy depends on the region, and solutions that work for one area may not work for another. For this reason, the agency wants to accelerate fuel diversification focusing on both local resources and needs.
According to Clean Technica, these latest efforts are part of the agency’s goal to reduce petroleum use in the transportation sector.
Considering that propane is used by more than 60 million people in the U.S., innovations that improve propane efficiency can greatly improve our environmental impact and mobility.
One challenge faced by the U.S. Department of Energy is the development of energy-efficient vehicles that can both operate on renewable fuel and be driven at highway speeds. Currently, the agency is looking to propane as an alternative to conventional transportation fuels currently used today.
“Propane has a lower carbon content,” stated department researchers. “When used as a vehicle fuel, propane can offer life cycle greenhouse (GHG) emissions benefits over conventional fuels, depending on vehicle type, age, and drive cycle. In addition, using propane in place of petroleum-based fuels may reduce some tailpipe emissions.”
Currently, electric vehicles only make up about 3% of the market. For those who purchase electric vehicles, the federal government offers up to a $7,500 tax credit.