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NEXTENERGY HELPS MICHIGAN SCHOOL BUSES GO GREENER.

NextEnergy, Michigan's alternative energy accelerator, in partnership with the State of Michigan, is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to decrease diesel exhaust exposure by thousands of Michigan's school children, through the EPA Clean School Bus USA program. NextEnergy is implementing a new program to purchase and install 58 EPA approved diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC) on qualifying school buses in key Michigan school districts.

"NextEnergy's primary emphasis is in the advancement of technologies to reduce our nation's dependence on fossil fuels. Accelerating the market adoption rates of commercially available emissions control technologies allows us to improve the environment today while we advance the development of tomorrow's technologies," said Jim Croce, CEO, NextEnergy. "This program will positively impact the health of more than 18,000 total students in the proposed districts who are potentially exposed to diesel emissions everyday."

NextEnergy is receiving $95,000 in EPA funding for the project. School districts and technology suppliers will provide $20,000 in match funds, making for a combined total of $115,000 in funding that will enable the purchase of diesel oxidation catalysts to be retrofitted into school buses. NextEnergy is working with Hamilton Community Schools, Hartland Consolidated Schools, Howell Public Schools, and Edwardsburg Public Schools on this project.

The retrofitted school buses, in combination with the use of cleaner fuels will reduce particulate matter, ozone, and diesel exhaust that school children are exposed to everyday. "We are pleased about the opportunity to partner with NextEnergy to provide safer transport for thousands of Michigan children who ride school buses every day," said Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Steven E. Chester.

In letters to the EPA, the Michigan Association of School Boards and Michigan Association of School Administrators pledge full support to NextEnergy's initiative, stating, "Reducing school bus emissions is a critical element to lessening our children's and the general public's exposure to diesel exhaust and emissions."

EPA data indicates that each DOC installed can reduce particulate matter pollution anywhere from 20-90 percent per bus. Following are additional benefits of the Clean School Bus USA program:

* Short-term benefits: Increased understanding gained by school personnel and the general public of the environmental and economic effectiveness of the use of technologies such as diesel oxidation catalysts.

* Intermediate benefits: Districts and drivers will have an increased knowledge of methods to help reduce emissions. This may include decisions to reduce idling or purchase additional emission reduction technology.

* Long-term benefits: A significant reduction in nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and air toxins. Public health benefits, especially for children in the funded districts, include decreased emissions from and exposure to diesel exhaust, improved air quality, and reduced risk of asthma aggravation.

NextEnergy collaborated with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, a Clean School Bus USA grant partner, as well as Okemos Public Schools to gain valuable resources from past grant projects to determine target fleets and best practice information.

About the EPA Clean School Bus USA program

EPA initially launched the Clean School Bus USA in 2003 with the goal of upgrading the nation's entire school bus fleet to low emission buses by 2010. Clean School Bus USA will help ensure that school buses are the cleanest possible transportation for this generation of school children. This program encourages policies and practices to eliminate unnecessary public school bus idling; retrofits buses that will remain in the fleet with better emission control technologies and/or fuels them with cleaner fuels; and replaces the oldest buses in the fleet with new, less polluting buses.

For more information on the EPA Clean School Bus USA program, visit http://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus.

About NextEnergy Center

NextEnergy, Michigan's alternative energy accelerator, is a non-profit corporation founded to enable the commercialization of energy technologies that positively contribute to economic competitiveness, energy security and the environment. NextEnergy drives energy technology collaborations, market development, and new business venture support to position Michigan as a leader in the emerging alternative energy industry.

For more information, visit http://www.nextenergy.org or call 248/304-1424.
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Publication:Industrial Environment
Date:Feb 1, 2007
Words:668
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