The Clean Air School Bus Program supports projects to help school buses operate more cleanly, reducing the air pollution our children are exposed to. NYSERDA works with school bus fleets to fund the installation of emission reducing technologies and technologies that provide supplemental heat for preheating the engine coolant and passenger compartment, reducing the need to idle buses on cold mornings. Additionally, the program funds alternative fuel school bus purchases. Eligible applicants include municipalities, school districts, private contractors (in certain counties only), and State agencies, departments, and public authorities. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until December 30, 2014 or until funds are exhausted.
Diesel particulate filters, diesel oxidation catalyst, and closed crankcase filter systems decrease emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and toxic air pollutants by as much as 50 percent, and emissions of particulate matter by as much as 90 percent. Diesel-fuel fired coolant heaters can reduce fuel use by 100 gallons or more each year and reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxides by as much as 90 percent compared to idling a bus’s diesel engine. Alternative fuel school buses have lower emissions than diesel school buses and save school bus fleets money by switching to cleaner, cheaper fuels like propane and natural gas.
Applicants can apply for a project grant to have their currently operating school buses retrofitted with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or California Air Resource Board (CARB)-certified/verified, emission-reducing technology or New York State Department of Transportation-approved diesel fuel-fired coolant heaters that provide supplemental heat for preheating the engine coolant and passenger compartment. Emission-reducing technologies include oxidation catalysts, crank-case ventilation filters, flow-through filters, and particulate traps or filters and NOx controls. Applicants can also apply for a project grant to support the purchase of an alternative fuel bus.
The program funds can be used to cover 100 percent of the cost, up to a set amount per device, for emission-reducing technologies and idle-reduction technologies, including installation of the equipment on an existing bus. Funds can also be used to cover up to 100 percent of the difference in cost between an alternative fuel school bus and a comparable diesel or gasoline school bus. Caps per device are as follows:
- CARB Level 1-verified devices and EPA-verified devices achieving 20% to 40% PM reductions, i.e. diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs): $2,150
- CARB Level 3-verified devices and EPA-verified devices achieving at least 85% PM reductions i.e. diesel particulate filters (DPFs): $10,500
- Closed crankcase ventilation filters (CCVs): $1,000
Idling Reduction Equipment
- Diesel fuel-fired coolant heaters (DFCHs): $3,400
Alternative Fuel School Buses
- Propane, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Electric, and Hybrid Electric School Buses: $7,500
Since its inception, the Clean Air School Bus Program has awarded over $9.5 million to over 150 school bus fleets to reduce emissions from more than 3,500 school buses.