NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Some students in the San Fernando Valley will soon be boarding school buses powered by propane, and School Transportation of America maintenance staff and drivers located at the company’s North Hollywood yard were scheduled to begin receiving training on how to use a new fueling station installed at the company’s new facilities located just off the Hollywood Freeway.
STA, propane distributor Delta Liquid Energy and the Propane Education Research Council held an open house on Wednesday for LAUSD, local business and clean air groups, and members of the media to showcase a 15,000-gallon fuel tank. The propane system will fuel 77 new Blue Bird Type C Vision buses with 8.1 L GM liquid propane injected engines for school district activity trips. Representatives from Delta Liquid Energy began providing end-user and train the trainer training today at the STA yard.
“The auto-start on these things is quite similar to filling up a diesel tank,” said Pete Dykstra, Delta Liquid Energy’s head trainer.
Dykstra added that the fueling station is equipped with a SkyTracker Monitor that automatically transmits liquid tank levels via satellite so LAUSD, STA and Delta Liquid Energy can remotely monitor tank levels and schedule new propane shipments when necessary. Levels can be monitored on a Web site and can also be sent as cell phone text messages and as email.
“It keeps us efficient and makes sure they don’t run out of gas,” he said.
Ted Olsen, the project manager for Delta Liquid Energy, said his company currently delivers propane to 20 Atlantic Express school buses that operate for LAUSD near downtown as well as for school buses at Moreno Valley Unified School District near Riverside, at William Hart School District in Santa Clarita and at Aqua Dulce School District in Bakersfield. Additionally, he said LAUSD has expressed interest in purchasing another 90 propane school buses.
For LAUSD and other districts, propane could soon be available for small buses as well. William Platz, president of Delta Liquid Energy and soon to be the next chairman of the Propane Education Research Council said a propane-powered, 6-liter engine for a GM cutaway chassis is currently in development.