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Johnson College starts program to meet demand for CNG vehicle repair

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Ed Pompey, a 24-year-old Johnson College student, grew up in the heart of the Marcellus Shale boom in Susquehanna County.

Mr. Pompey is studying at Johnson College in Scranton to be a diesel mechanic. He thinks compressed natural gas, or CNG, will be the transportation fuel of the future.

"It's a great opportunity if I take advantage of it," he said.

 

Next semester, Johnson College will begin offering training in CNG fuel systems for its automotive and diesel technology students. The school plans to have a certificate program by 2015, said Katie Leonard, senior vice president of college advancement.

On Thursday, the college hosted an event boosting the use of CNG. Cabot Oil & Gas co-hosted the event, which drew a VIP list of politicians, state regulatory officials and industry representatives.

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Chris Abruzzo attended, in part to announce the Corbett administration's award of 33 alternative fuel incentive grants. On Saturday, DEP will begin accepting applications for the second round of grants.

A $135,461 grant went to Old Forge-based L.T. Verrastro Inc., to purchase 20 CNG vans, trucks and SUVs. The company has started building a CNG filling station. Vice President Leonard Verrastro told The Times-Tribune in May he plans to make the station available to the public.

CNG vehicles emit pollutants, but they emit less carbon dioxide than diesel fuel. According to data the U.S. Department of Energy compiled from California as part of the state's low carbon fuel standard, fueling heavy trucks with CNG releases 75 grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule of energy, while diesel emits about 95 grams.

The heavy-duty truck fuels with the lowest carbon dioxide emissions are landfill and dairy CNG, with about 13 grams, and biodiesel from waste grease, with about 16.

About two years ago, Johnson College's program advisory committee began advising the college to make CNG education a priority, Ms. Leonard said. Willie Hobbs, program adviser for the college and a service manager with Kenworth Trucks' dealership in Dunmore, estimated sales have increased 40 to 50 percent since the Marcellus Shale boom began.

"Basically, it was the gas companies moving into the area," Mr. Hobbs said, explaining what sparked the committee's interest in CNG.

Contact the writer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , @bgibbonsTT on Twitter

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Guest Friday, 22 September 2017

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