81st LRS takes action to conserve energy

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Thirteen vehicles from the 81st Logistics Readiness Squadron were selected to have propane kits installed in December 2016, a first for Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi.

This was part of a year-long study to determine the environmental effects of using propane instead of gasoline in vehicles.

Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and Mountain Warfare Training Center, California, were also selected to participate in this pilot program to have propane kits installed in their vehicles.

“The Defense Department is always looking into ways to preserve resources and to have better options for the environment,” said Tech. Sgt. Guillermo Gutierrez, 81st LRS fleet management and analysis NCO in charge.

According to Marc Sharp, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences project manager, using propane as an alternative fuel option is better as the concern for carbon dioxide emissions increase.

“Propane is easier on the engine because it burns cleaner than gas does,” said Gutierrez. “When that happens, the vehicle produces fewer emissions that negatively impact the environment. So when you have a source of energy that burns cleaner inside the engine and produces fewer emissions, it is always going to be an advantage to the environment.”

In addition to being $1.50 cheaper per gallon than gasoline, Sharp explained more benefits of using propane.

“Vehicle fleet managers integrating propane as the primary fuel for their fleets have seen significantly lower operating costs while experiencing improved maintenance efficiencies, fewer fuel-related maintenance issues and improved vehicle availability,” said Sharp.

The 81st LRS sends monthly reports to Sharp who compiles how much propane and fuel is being used to calculate the carbon dioxide emissions and the cost savings.

At the end of the study, the NCMS will build a final report and submit it to Office of the Secretary of Defense to determine whether to extend this pilot program to more vehicle fleets across the DOD.

“With the current emphasis of DOD energy efforts focused on identifying alternatives to traditional fuel, there is a unique opportunity to evaluate existing alternative fuel technology to find the best options for future evaluation and potential integration into DOD vehicle fleets,” said Sharp.