With the award of a recent grant, Lawson State Community College, an NAFTC National Training Center member, may soon be the first community college in Alabama to have an on-site Compressed Natural Gas fueling station. The Department of Post-Secondary education and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development informed Lawson State officials of the $120,000 award on August 13, and they have been moving forward with plans ever since.
The grant will allow the College to purchase CNG conversion kits for training, equipment for a state-of-the-art classroom and an on-site fueling station where training vehicles can be refueled.
Tommy Hobbs, Business and Industry Liaison at Lawson State, said, “This grant gives us the opportunity to offer a full line of CNG training classes. Now we can convert some of the donated vehicles on campus, and we don’t have to borrow vehicles and equipment for classes. We’re completely in house now.”
CNG is already being used to fuel some of the buses in Birmingham. According to the Birmingham Business Journal, Lawson State and a number of other organizations, including the city of Birmingham, are hoping to receive more federal funding in order to build a public CNG fueling station in Alabama.
Joining the NAFTC less than two years ago, Lawson State trainers have been active in the pursuit of increased alternative fuels training, and they hope to see more of these developments both at the college and the state levels.
Hobbs said, “We created an alternative fuels billboard that had the NAFTC logo on it, and we received a great response. A number of people contacted us who wanted more information about the programs.”
This may be the beginning of many achievements for Lawson State’s Bessemer campus as more students are attracted to the area to learn about alternative fuel vehicles. Hobbs said that he would like to see them implement a full alternative fuels training center that incorporates propane, electric, and biodiesel vehicles and more. This grant is a big step toward reaching that goal.
Hobbs said, “By the next time we have an NAFTC meeting, we’ll be off the ground and running, and hopefully we can help others to do the same.”