Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City Community College Develops CNG-Vehicle Technician Training Class

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City Community College Develops CNG-Vehicle Technician Training Class

Article excerpt

Oklahoma City Community College has developed a new class to train technicians to work on compressed natural gas vehicles.

The class was developed because of an expected increase in demand for compressed natural gas vehicles by consumers and for fleets, said Rich Steere, automotive technology professor at OCCC. With more natural gas vehicles on the road, demand for technicians to repair the cars, trucks and buses will increase.

"There is a big drive for vehicle fleets to be running at a level that is super-clean," Steere said. "The only way to do this is by using CNG. It's also more cost-effective to use this type of alternative fuel, and it reduces our dependence on foreign oil."

The weeklong Oklahoma State Certified Alternative Fuel Technician class is scheduled for the week of Sept. 7.

The class is not for OCCC's degree-seeking students.

"This is for full-time technicians," Steere said.

He expects students in the first class to be employees for companies and government agencies with CNG vehicles.

OCCC is converting a laboratory for the class.

"We have a lab dedicated to alternative energy," Steere said.

The curriculum will include natural gas fuel theory, vehicle conversion, system troubleshooting and federal and state laws and standards. Curriculum was developed to prepare students for state certification to work on CNG vehicles offered by the Oklahoma Department of Central Services. The weeklong class will end with an assessment for certification by the department.

The class and curriculum were developed because of anticipated increased demand for certified technicians as the use of CNG vehicles increases.

"There is a need for infrastructure before the public sector gets excited about compressed natural gas vehicles," he said.

Fueling infrastructure has been increasing in the state.

Oklahoma has approximately 30 public-access CNG fueling outlets, said Yvonne Anderson, Clean Cities program manager for the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments. A public-access CNG station opened earlier this month at NW 49th Street and N. Western Avenue in Oklahoma City. The station operated by Stillwater-based OnCue Express includes five CNG dispensers.

Fueling infrastructure also is being added for fleets and the state is offering incentives.

Houston-based Apache Corp. opened its first CNG refueling station in May at the company's district office in Elk City. The station has the capacity to refuel 100 vehicles per day and is being used initially to fuel more than 40 Apache field vehicles equipped to run on CNG.

Last week, Oklahoma House Speaker Chris Benge was in Elk City with Apache Corp. Chairman G. Steven Farris to promote state incentives for using natural gas for transportation.

The Tulsa Republican filled up his compressed natural gas-fueled Chevrolet Impala at the new CNG fueling station. …

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