The Secretary's Office of Environment
MDOT Submits Nominations for Alternative Fuel / Electric Vehicle (EV) Corridors
On August 22nd, MDOT TSO submitted a nomination to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA’s), Department of Transportation (DOT) solicitation for alternative fuel corridors to be designated under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. MDOT’s nomination package included the following corridors in priority order: I-95, US 50, I-270 and I-70 / I-68.
In addition to submitting the Maryland nomination, MDOT coordinated with the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) to develop a regional, multi-state EV corridor nomination that was submitted by the Vermont Agency of Transportation. That nomination included Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and support for the individual nominations submitted by Connecticut Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania.
There are currently over 7,000 plug-in electric and plug-in hybrid EVs registered in Maryland and over 960 publicly available charging outlets. Obtaining the Alternative Fuel / EV Corridor designations will assist Maryland as the state continues working towards establishing a reliable and accessible EV charging network.
Maryland Existing Publicly Available Charging Stations and EV Density by Zip Code
MDOT and EVs at the Maryland State Fair
In collaboration with the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), MDOT TSO hosted a booth at the 2016 Maryland State Fair to promote electric vehicles (EVs) and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). MDOT’s goal was to reach out to the general public by providing educational materials and administering surveys designed to gauge the public’s understanding of EVs and EVSE. MDOT was able to reach out to 505 individuals and obtain feedback. In general, people were surprised to learn about the availability of state and federal incentives and of existing charging stations, which can alleviate range anxiety (fear that a vehicle has insufficient range to reach its destination).
MDOT will use information learned from this event to better target future outreach and marketing efforts to alleviate concerns over the perceived barriers to EV ownership. MEA, MDE, and MDOT TSO are currently planning future outreach events that focus on workplace charging, where a large percentage of EV charging takes place outside of the home.
Project Highlight: MPA's Algal Flow-way Technology Project Update
In 2014, The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) received a first place award for its Algal Flow-way Technology (AFT) from the Chesapeake Stormwater Network in the category of Innovative Best Management Practice. The AFT pilot unit is in operation at the Port of Baltimore’s Dundalk Marine Terminal.
MPA; U.S. Department of Transportation; and researchers from the University of Maryland, Maryland Environmental Service, and Anchor QEA, LLC seek to build upon the award-winning AFT pilot project (which currently reduces nutrients in tributaries that feed the Chesapeake Bay) by using the incorporating biogas generation as feedstock to a fuel cell as part of a demonstration project. If successful, this innovative system will provide waterfront industries, such as ports, a sustainable method for producing electricity while improving the water quality of Chesapeake Bay tributaries and reducing emissions.
Harvesting Algae and Producing Electricity
The AFT pilot project currently harvests algae at rates between 20 and 90 grams dry weight per meter squared per day or 100 lbs. dry weight per week, depending on location, solar intensity, and ambient temperatures. The algae is harvested manually once a week and allowed to air dry to reduce its water content before being sent to a landfill.
Instead of sending the algal waste to a landfill, MPA would transfer the harvested algae to a digester to generate biogas. The algal digester will be coupled with a biogas collection and storage system. Biogas from algae is typically 30 to 45% carbon dioxide and 55 to 70% methane, with up to 0.5% concentration of hydrogen sulfide. The biogas will be used as a supplement fuel to a natural gas fuel cell. Electricity from the fuel cell will power the circulations pumps for the AFT.
Goals and Innovative Elements of the Demonstration Project
This experimental project will attempt to demonstrate the ability to couple the algal digester, biogas collection and storage system, and fuel cell for continuous operations; the ability of the algal digester to effectively produce biogas at consistent quantities and quality for use in a fuel cell; and the ability of the fuel cell to run relatively maintenance free off a natural gas/biogas feedstock thus closing the energy loop for the AFT.
Through this innovative project, MPA hopes to showcase sustainable elements of the project including:
- cleaning surface waters of nutrients while producing a biofuel;
- demonstrating the ability to design and operate an innovative and sustainable solution for nutrient removal from surface waters that reduces air emissions and uses a self-contained energy source;
- demonstrating cost effective technologies for water treatment of surface waters; and
- exploring closed loop sustainable treatment technologies for water treatment.