Florida State University (FSU has embarked on research that it hopes will enhance American’s view of natural gas cars, leading to improved acceptance and reduced dependence on foreign oil. Kirby Kemper, the Robert O. Lawton Professor of Physics and vice president for Research at FSU says that though compressed natural gas (CNG) cars aren’t new technology, they are the “right” technology to help the university decrease its environmental footprint.
The vehicle selected is a Honda Civic Natural Gas sedan. It will serve as a research tool and will be used by Florida State Office of Research staff on university business. In keeping with its research theme, the car’s Jan. 30 public unveiling at the university’s Materials Research Building included an educational experience for students and faculty, who got to hear about the technology directly from Honda CNG experts.
FSU’s purchase of the vehicle reflects a commitment to a larger, campus-wide environmental effort — the Sustainable Campus Initiative — that launched last year. Staff members who drive the CNG car will keep logs of gas mileage and compare them to those from other university vehicles.
“Florida State’s new CNG-powered vehicle is a great addition to our fleet,” said Elizabeth Swiman, the university’s director of campus sustainability, who spoke at the car’s unveiling. “This car truly is an example of research in motion and how each unit of this university can be a part of the overall vision for a more sustainable future.”
Compared with vehicles fueled by conventional diesel and gasoline, natural gas vehicles produce significantly lower amounts of harmful emissions such as nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and toxic and carcinogenic pollutants, as well as the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
Kemper believes the United States must diversify its energy usage. “While buses in big cities in the United States are using compressed natural gas, it hasn’t caught on as much with cars,” Kemper said. “Through this effort, we are hoping to help change that type of thinking.”
(This article compiled using information from an FSU press release)