Visit to National Grid’s Compressed Natural Gas station is high-tech and high-voltage
|National Grid Fleet Services Manager Larry Reisigl, right, fuels a National Grid CNG vehicle while talking with students Heather Pickett and Michael Wilson. Reisigl is an alumnus of Career & Tech's diesel technician (now medium/heavy duty truck repair) program.|
Clean energy, efficient transportation and power-full career opportunities were the lessons of the day on May 10, when 27 students, along with their educators and staff from the Capital Region BOCES Career & Technical School, visited National Grid’s Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station and vehicle maintenance facility in Albany.
The students are enrolled in classes at Career & Tech's Schoharie campus, including residential & commercial construction/heavy equipment operation, automotive trades technology, and power sports equipment technician. To prepare for the field trip, they studied how CNG vehicle technology might be used in their fields of study and CNG’s impact as a cleaner, greener energy source. When not at Career & Tech, the students attend the following high schools: Berne-Knox-Westerlo, Cobleskill-Richmondville, Duanesburg, Middleburgh, Schalmont, Schoharie and Sharon Springs.
John Gilbrook, National Grid’s transportation project manager, talked to the students about how CNG is transported, stored and handled at the Albany facility, as well as its impact on vehicle efficiency, the economy and the environment.
National Grid uses CNG vehicles because they present a direct financial, environmental and economic advantage. On average, CNG vehicles release 25 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than their gasoline or diesel counterparts, as well as virtually eliminating harmful emissions.
“As a transportation fuel, compressed natural gas can be purchased at roughly a 35 percent discount to gasoline and diesel. Finally, natural gas is produced domestically, therefore every gallon equivalent consumed directly benefits the U.S. economy,” added Gilbrook.
Larry Reisigl, National Grid's fleet services manager and an alumnus of Career & Tech's Diesel Technician program (now known as medium/heavy duty truck repair), fueled a CNG vehicle and brought the students under lifts in the garage to show them the inner workings of CNG-powered trucks. He also talked about career opportunities and spoke highly of the education and training he received at BOCES. Reisigl said he stayed in touch with his Career & Tech teacher after he graduated, consulting with him about tools and techniques. He praised National Grid as an employer that provides a modern and safe workplace, benefits and the opportunity for him to grow professionally by learning about new technologies.
After learning about CNG technology and vehicles, the students viewed a demonstration by National Grid power transmission line experts on live electrical wire dangers, accidents and safety procedures. In a cavernous warehouse, they watched as 7,000 volts of electricity traveled from live wires on a trailer-mounted set of three utility poles through a downed wire and fence, an aluminum ladder, a fire hose, a glove, a model of a squirrel, a car bumper, and even a hot dog, which cooked itself from the inside-out.
The students also learned about the use and care of highly specialized clothing and protective gear used by power line workers, as well as the years of training and ongoing education involved in such positions. They were additionally advised on what workers in various career fields, such as construction, should consider when working around overhead and buried utilities.
Commenting on the students' trip to National Grid, Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Charles S. Dedrick said that, “experiences like this are why career and technical education (CTE) is so important. CTE connects our students to real-life opportunities to learn about where our local work force is headed and gets them excited about things like clean energy and the job prospects within that field that they might not have known about otherwise.”
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