Ohio State to construct compressed natural gas fueling station

University President Michael Drake speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for Ohio State’s new, $3 million compressed natural gas fueling station. Credit: Courtesy of the Office of Administration and Planning

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday for a compressed natural gas fueling station on Ohio State’s campus.

The $3 million station, to be located just north of the Service Building Annex on Kenny Road, is the first of its kind on an Ohio college campus, according to a university press release. It is expected to be completed by early 2017.

The university’s Campus Area Bus System will use the facility to fuel the portion of its fleet which can run on CNG, which is cleaner than other fossil fuels. OSU currently operates four CNG buses and will add six more by October 2017, according to the release.

“Our long-term goal is to transition all CABS buses as well as other (OSU) fleet vehicles to alternative fuel models,” said Nicole Holman, a spokeswoman for the Office of Administration and Planning, in an email.

The university’s Department of Transportation and Traffic Management will pay $2.5 million, Holman said, with the remaining $500,000 to be covered by a grant from the OSU Sustainability Fund through the President and Provost’s Council on Sustainability.

The city of Columbus will also have an opportunity to use the fueling station, and state agencies and central Ohio municipalities are also encouraged to collaborate in its use. The city of Columbus already has CNG busses and fueling stations for COTA busses, so the university hopes the station will be a point of collaboration.

“This project invests in the future of sustainable transportation services on campus and in the City of Columbus and we are excited to begin construction,” said Jay Kasey, Ohio State’s senior vice president of the Office of Administration and Planning, in the release.

The university used the event to highlight other environmental initiatives it’s undertaking.

“The initiative aligns with Ohio State’s continued efforts to advance sustainability across campus and throughout the community,” the release said, highlighting other OSU efforts such as the university bike-sharing program, which debuted last year, and Ohio Stadium’s 96.35 percent waste diversion rate averagefor the 2015 season.

The groundbreaking ceremony also offered a glimpse toward the future of OSU’s sustainability efforts.

“Resource stewardship is a critical part of our quest to be a global leader in sustainability,” said university President Michael Drake in the release. “I’m proud of this step forward to a more economical alternative fuel for our bus system, and I look forward to exploring how the rest of our university fleet, including cars and vans, can be powered by CNG.”