The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

Pennington Gas Service buys a diesel/electric hybrid truck 2009.06.24

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

There’s always a Pennington Gas Service truck in Morenci’s Town & Country Festival parade and there will be again this year. pennington.hybrid.jpg

But the vehicle that will be entered Saturday morning is like none other in the country.

This marks the first time that Eaton Corporation’s diesel-electric hybrid  drivetrain system has been used in a hazardous material delivery vehicle.

Signature Truck Systems of Clio, Mich., built the Freightliner Business Class M2e truck for Pennington—an effort by three Michigan companies to move toward green technology, said Pennington Gas partner Keith Pennington.

Pennington said he attends a truck trade show every couple of years to keep abreast of changes in technology, particularly those that could apply to the propane industry. The hybrid got his attention.

The 60 horsepower electric motor can power a variety of commercial truck needs while the main diesel engine is shut down. In the propane business, that means the truck can be shut off while a customer’s tank is filled. The five- to 10-minute pumping operation can be handled by the electric motor. An entire stop at a customer’s house can take up to 20 minutes—all with the diesel shut off.

“This will improve safety, air quality and noise levels while making deliveries near homes or other buildings,” Pennington said.

The electric motor also assists the diesel engine while driving down the road. Pennington anticipates a reduction of at least 30 percent in diesel burned, which will both save money for the company and reduce the amount of emissions into the air.

Pennington ordered a smaller engine than usual for the truck, expecting the electric assist to fill the gap.

The electric motor also assists in the truck’s “launch” every time it starts from a stand-still position.

The electric motor is powered by energy generated during braking action and stored in large lithium-ion batteries.

Pennington looks forward to studying the data collected on diesel used to evaluate the validity of the system for the propane industry.

“It can’t make only environmental sense,” he said, “it has to make economic sense if it’s going to gain widespread use.”

The truck has been displayed at three propane industry events and Pennington said the response is split between those who give him a slap on the back and those who say “you’re crazy.”

“We’re a company that does things to see if they’re going to work,” Pennington said. “What we intend to do this summer is put it on the road to all of our local branches.”

The company wants customers to know about the truck because awareness and interest in green technology is growing. Ten years ago only a small percentage of Pennington Gas customers would have had much interest in the hybrid truck, Pennington believes, but that’s not the case today.

“People are concerned, and rightfully so, about the imported fuel that we rely on,” he said.

He would like to see propane emphasized more as a motor fuel and to convince Eaton there’s a market for propane-fueled trucks.

For now, it’s the diesel model that’s the focus of attention. Freightliner and Eaton will both be keeping close tabs on the performance of the vehicle to help Pennington Gas determine if it’s a good fit for the industry.

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