South Carolina School Commits to Alternative Fuel Fleet

The University of South Carolina recently unveiled its "Genesis 2015 Initiative"to create a college campus with 90 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions from its fleet of vehicles within five years.

The plan puts Carolina among the nation’s first campuses committed to reducing its dependence on petroleum by introducing alternative fuels to power the buses, cars, trucks, motorcycles and maintenance vehicles needed at the university.

The comprehensive plan is ambitious, but doable, said University President Harris Pastides. "Today, we are making a commitment that will drive Carolina into a new era of environmental responsibility. This is another important initiative supported by our faculty, staff and students to create a campus that will be climate neutral.” The university has about 400 vehicles that are used for business, maintenance and transportation of students, said Derrick Huggins, associate vice president for transportation.

Within five years, all vehicles on the Columbia campus will be powered by ethanol, biodiesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), electricity or hydrogen fuel cells. A hydrogen hybrid bus will become part of the university’s shuttle service in January.

"We have 156 vehicles that we can convert to alternative fuel right away,"Huggins said. "This plan underscores the fact that the University of South Carolina is a leader among colleges and universities in sustainability efforts, including transportation, which is a key source of carbon emissions."

Michael Koman, the university’s director of sustainability, said Genesis 2015 will reduce Carolina’s carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 2,000 tons. "This is a major initiative to have cleaner air and to develop a clean fuel-supply system,"he said.

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