Local & Regional
2:43 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

TPS Fires Up New Natural Gas Compressor to Fuel Buses

Tulsa Public Schools' new natural gas compressor will be running in time for the start of school next week.
Tulsa Public Schools' new natural gas compressor will be running in time for the start of school next week.
Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Public Schools expands its use of compressed natural gas in buses for the new school year.

TPS won a $60,000 Bellmon Award grant that’s going toward a new natural gas compressor. The machine can fill up to 30 buses at once, and Corey Williams with Sustainable Tulsa said there are many benefits to TPS using CNG.

"The fuel burns cleaner, which is better for the children on the bus and better for the environment. That is also a quality of life piece," Williams said. "Additionally, you'll hear the savings for TPS on their bottom line is over $500,000."

Superintendent Keith Ballard agreed the compressor will help TPS contribute to conservation efforts, but those savings are important.

"And while those are very important, let me tell you, it's pretty important that we're talking about a project today that's going to save us half a million dollars," Ballard said. "We have a lot of needs in Tulsa Public Schools, and if we can save half a million dollars on transportation costs, that is a big deal."

Most of the savings will come from using more compressed natural gas, which is typically cheaper than diesel. The compressor will allow TPS to expand its CNG fleet, which the district says is already the largest in the state.