U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., visited the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) Feb. 24 to learn more about how the West Virginia University (WVU) program supports increased use of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles throughout the nation by providing training and outreach and education on the vehicles.

“The NAFTC was honored and excited to host Senator Manchin,” said NAFTC Executive Director Al Ebron. “We appreciate that the Senator recognizes the importance of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and was interested in seeing how our consortium has been busy developing curricula and providing outreach and education regarding these next generation cars and trucks.”

Manchin in classroom

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin discusses the advantages of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles with NAFTC officials during his visit Feb. 24. Credit: NAFTC

The work of the NAFTC caught the senator’s attention Feb. 16 when one of his staff members met Ebron at “The Compelling Case for Natural Gas Vehicles” workshop in Charleston.

Founded in 1992 as an organization that focused primarily on training technicians to service and maintain natural gas vehicles, the NAFTC now offers curricula, training workshops and outreach and education opportunities on all alternative fuels, such as biodiesel, ethanol, propane and hydrogen, and advanced technology vehicles like hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery and fuel cell electric vehicles.

“We at the NAFTC are excited to see the renewed interest and advancements in natural gas production, especially in our home state of West Virginia,” Ebron noted. “West Virginia and WVU are at the forefront of the energy industry with the increased production of natural gas and usage of electric vehicles. We are proud to see that West Virginia’s natural gas reserves will power alternative fuel vehicles, while the coal industry will benefit from providing electricity to advanced technology vehicles.”

During his visit, Manchin greeted the NAFTC staff, thanking them for the work they are doing to increase the use of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.

Accompanied by WVU Interim Vice President of Research Fred King and WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy Director Richard Bajura, NAFTC Assistant Director of Operations Bill Davis made a brief presentation about the consortium’s programs and activities. Manchin also viewed and drove the NAFTC’s Chevy Volt, an extended range electric vehicle, and refueled the organization’s natural gas Honda Civic.

Manchin in Volt

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin sits in the driver’s seat of the NAFTC’s Chevy Volt, ready to take the extended range electric vehicle for a drive around Morgantown Feb. 24. Credit: NAFTC

“The work that is being done right here in Morgantown is absolutely incredible and so important to achieving energy independence for this great nation,” Manchin said. “We have so much natural gas and so much reliable and affordable electricity from coal—which will remain our chief energy resource for decades to come. Our country could save so much money by converting our state fleets to natural gas, and the engineers at WVU are on the forefront of advancing critical alternative fuel technology for both natural gas and electric vehicles that will continue to rely on West Virginia’s abundant resources.”

Manchin with Volt and Bill

NAFTC Assistant Director of Operations Bill Davis, left, and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin talk about the environmental and economical advantages of driving a Chevy Volt. Credit: NAFTC




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