College of Engineering and College of Agriculture Receive Grant
Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012
Ryan Bosworth, assistant professor of applied economics at USU. Bosworth and Kevin Heaslip have been awarded a grant to study what the implications of lower natural gas prices will be for the transportation industry.
Kevin Heaslip and Ryan Bosworth, assistant professors at Utah State University in Civil Engineering and Applied Economics respectively, have been awarded a grant to study what the implications of lower natural gas prices will be for the transportation industry.
Funded by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the project began in May 2012. Initially, $100,000 was awarded by WSDOT for researching the economics supporting the shift to natural gas as a fuel. The Mountain Plains Consortium then awarded and matched the amount giving Utah State University a total of $200,000.
USU won this grant in a nationwide competition, which attracted proposals from major research universities across of the country. It was the interdisciplinary approach taken by Heaslip and Bosworth that gave USU the edge over their competition.
The goal of the research is to increase understanding of the implications of an increase in natural gas availability in Washington State and how it will affect their transportation system. The research effort is designed to help transportation planners understand under what conditions natural gas will be an economically viable alternative transportation fuel.
“Part of the reason for that is the lower price of natural gas,” said Heaslip. “Because it is being used more, the question we are hoping to have answered is; what are the implications of natural gas fuels going to be?”
WSDOT is interested in the possibility of making natural gas more readily available as a transportation fuel and what impact that will have on state tax revenues. Approximating the changes in green house gas emissions is another concern that will be addressed by this research.
“Currently, natural gas is less expensive than gasoline per gallon equivalent,” said Bosworth. “However, natural gas vehicles are more expensive to purchase. There are other drawbacks to the use of natural gas as a fuel for passenger cars as well, such as reduced fuel capacity and fewer fueling stations.”
These factors, in addition to the infrastructure constraints, will influence the number of people who operate natural gas vehicles.
“This project will help us establish, through interdisciplinary actions, an alternative,” said Heaslip. “Working with electric and natural gas vehicles is what we do here at USU engineering and we are really focusing on building a name for USU through completion of this project.”
For more information contact Ryan Bosworth 435-797-0594, firstname.lastname@example.org.