WVU-based alternative fuel training consortium nets $6.9 million ARRA grant

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10 August 2009 –

Morgantown, W.Va. – The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), headquartered at West Virginia University’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy, has been awarded a $6.9 million grant through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) to spearhead educational outreach initiatives related to the manufacture and deployment of electric vehicles, batteries, and components.

The award was one of 48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects that will receive $2.4 billion in funding under ARRA. The projects were selected through a highly competitive process by the U.S. Department of Energy and are intended to accelerate the development of U.S. manufacturing capacity for batteries and electric drive components as well as the deployment of electric drive vehicles.

“This award comes as a result of years of hard work and dedication within an industry that continues to change,” said Al Ebron, NAFTC Executive Director. “It creates a great opportunity to expand our partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and expand our network of national training institutions and work with other industry partners.”

The NAFTC funding is for education and workforce training programs to train researchers, technicians, and service providers, and to conduct consumer research to accelerate the transition towards advanced vehicles and batteries.

“We are extremely excited about this project,” Ebron added. “The project will allow us to provide education and outreach to the general public, secondary school students, pre-service and in-service automotive technicians, instructors and others to promote the use of advanced electric drive vehicles across the U.S. The announcement of this award illustrates the Government’s dedication to the adoption of advanced technology vehicles, and the need for education and outreach to promote their widespread acceptance and use by the public.”

The DOE awards were announced in locations throughout the U.S. Wednesday by President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

WVU’s NAFTC is the only nationwide training organization dedicated to improving air quality and decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign oil by promoting, supporting, and expanding the use of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. It develops and disseminates curricula for in-service and pre-service auto technicians, fleet managers, automotive trainers, and others in the AFV field.

Presently consisting of 40 National Training Centers, the organization provides Training with Impact through its experienced instructors and real-world shop facilities. The NAFTC produces the nation’s largest non-profit consumer education program, National AFV Day Odyssey, designed to create public awareness and enthusiasm for alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.

The NAFTC offers training in the form of classes and workshops on a wide array of topicsNAFTC car such as biodiesel, ethanol, hybrids, hydrogen, fuel cells, natural gas (CNG cylinder inspection, LNG, and light- and heavy-duty vehicles), battery-powered electric vehicles, and propane. Courses on transient emissions testing and AFV applications for forklift and material handling are also available. Previous audiences have included automotive technicians, employers, fleet operators, training institutions, public interest groups, and private entrepreneurs.

Founded in 1992, the NAFTC is headquartered at West Virginia University and consists of National Training Centers spanning the country from Maine to California. Numerous other members from secondary schools, small businesses, government, and industry also support the NAFTC’s mission to provide the training infrastructure for implementing the widespread use of alternative fuels, alternative fuel vehicles, and advanced technology vehicles. Additional information on the NAFTC can be found at www.naftc.wvu.edu.

DOE’s news release is available here: http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/daily.cfm/hp_news_id=192 (Link no longer active.)

Posted August 10, 2009