Literally and figuratively, vehicles are driving the U.S. economy. Vehicles transport 11 billion tons of freight annually, which is about $35 billion worth of goods each day, and Americans drive more than 3 trillion vehicle-miles per year. As the transportation sector continues to grow, diversified affordable solutions will ensure resiliency and affordability, while meeting increasing energy demands. Natural gas is poised to play a key role as a versatile, low-emission fuel and is an increasingly attractive alternative to conventional diesel fuel.
To help advance natural gas vehicle technologies, the U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), California Energy Commission, and South Coast Air Quality Management District have partnered to launch a research effort to drive past technical barriers to the increased use of natural gas for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles.
As part of this effort, NREL issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to award up to $11 million for projects that focus on: (1) reducing the cost natural gas vehicles, (2) increasing vehicle efficiency, and (3) advancing new innovative medium- and heavy-duty natural gas engine designs. This RFP builds on the lessons-learned from the partners’ broad experiences in natural gas vehicle technologies.
Projects selected through this solicitation will complement Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) research started in FY 2017 to improve the performance, reliability, durability, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency of natural gas vehicles. VTO’s work and the RFP announced today build are informed through stakeholder outreach and workshops to identify key research needs. Cost-effectively achieving diesel-like efficiency in natural gas engines, while meeting emissions standards, will improve the viability of natural gas fueled medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
For more information about the RFP, please visit. https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DOE/NREL/NR/RHQ-8-82305/listing.html
 Bureau of Transportation Statistics, DOT, Transportation Statistics Annual Report 2017, Table 3-1. https://www.bts.gov/bts-publications/transportation-statistics-annual-reports/tsar-2017 )
 Transportation Energy Data Book 36th Edition, ORNL, 2017. Table 3.7 Shares of Highway Vehicle-Miles Traveled by Vehicle Type, 1970-2015.