March 24, 2008

Sandia’s Fleet Services Department exceeds DOE fuel and energy efficiency standards

Victor Cano-Linson of Sandia's Fleet Services fills up a government vehicle with E85, a green fuel composed of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
Victor Cano-Linson of Sandia's Fleet Services fills up a government vehicle with E85, a green fuel composed of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
(Photo by Randy Montoya)
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Sandia National Laboratories Fleet Services Department has exceeded fuel and energy efficiency standards set by the Department of Energy, one of a few organizations to do so in the nuclear weapons complex.

By making a conscious effort to reduce the use of petroleum fuels and increase the use of gasoline enhanced with ethanol and alternative fuel vehicles, Sandia has met — and even exceeded — requirements of Executive Order 13423. The order requires all government agencies to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a fixed date.

“We got on board early and have been working aggressively to meet the new standards, not just to be in compliance but because it is the right thing to do,” says Fleet Services Manager Mark Crawford. “Green fleet management is good for business and good for the environment.”

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory.

Falling under Sandia’s Fleet Services’ jurisdiction are 808 vehicles at all Labs sites, including cars, vans, pickups, and trucks. Ninety-eight percent of the annual replacement vehicles run on alternative fuel. This exceeds the Executive Order 13423 requirement that 75 percent of fleet replacements use alternative fuels.

Crawford says Sandia took seriously an earlier Executive Order (13149) that called for some of the same requirements as 13423. The department started about 14 years ago using compressed natural gas in vehicles. It then progressed to E85, a fuel composed of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. (Gasoline purchased at gas stations off base generally consists of 85 percent gasoline and 15 percent ethanol.)

Sandia vehicles use 1,300 gallons of E85 a week. Fleet Services fills the E85 tank once a week, but Crawford anticipates that soon it will be filled twice a week.

“Meeting the new requirements in 13423 was simple,” Crawford says. “All we did was continue what we were doing.”

In addition, Sandia vehicles that run on diesel use B20 — fuel made of 80 percent diesel fuel and 20 percent biodiesel fuel. Crawford says his department may soon experiment using B100, diesel fuel made of 100 percent biodiesel.

Sandia’s efforts in reducing use of petroleum products and increasing the use of alternative fuels and vehicles have been recognized both nationally and by the state of New Mexico. In 2006, Sandia’s fleet was one of several fleets in the nuclear weapons complex that helped DOE win the coveted White House Closing the Circle award in the category of “Green Fleet Team Fuel Reduction through Alternative Fuels.” Besides Sandia, the other organizations in the nuclear weapons complex that were part of the DOE nomination were Savannah River Site, Idaho National Laboratory, and Pantex.

Sandia’s fleet also won several Green Zia Environmental Excellence awards from the state of New Mexico.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact: Chris Burroughs, (505) 844-0948,