Blue Bird First to Offer Ultra-Low NOx, Type-C School Bus Fueled by Compressed Natural Gas

May 16, 2019

Engine developed by ROUSH CleanTech is 90 percent cleaner than national emissions standard

FORT VALLEY, Ga. and LIVONIA, Mich. (May 8, 2019) — School districts and transportation contractors can now purchase buses fueled by compressed natural gas that are 90 percent cleaner than the national emissions standard, opening more opportunities for funding that supports reduced emissions.

“Our customers want bus innovations that are environmentally friendly and allow them to access emissions-based grant funding, and the Blue Bird Vision CNG bus delivers,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. “This is a huge step for Blue Bird and the school bus industry as we continue to be the first to bring the newest and cleanest engine technology into our lineup of buses.”

ROUSH CleanTech developed the technology using Ford’s 6.8L V10 engine. It’s the first high-volume production CNG Type-C school bus engine certified to California Air Resources Board’s optional low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions standard of 0.02 grams per brake horsepower-hour (g/bhp-hr). The CNG engines are 90 percent cleaner than the Environmental Protection Agency’s most stringent heavy-duty engine standard of 0.2 g/bhp-hr.

“After concentrating on reaching CARB’s optional low-NOx standards for our propane engine, we bring our Roush engineering success to the CNG engines by reaching the same ultra-low emissions levels,” said Ryan Zic, vice president of school bus sales at ROUSH CleanTech.

Nitrogen oxides are a group of gases known to contribute to acid rain, smog and other air quality issues. According to the EPA, exposure to NOx exhaust can cause negative health effects in children, including eye, nose, throat and lung irritations, headaches and fatigue.

As a low-carbon fuel, CNG is naturally much cleaner than diesel and gasoline. This certification will help school districts obtain funding that supports NOx-reducing projects, such as the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust.

More than 150 school districts operate about 5,500 CNG buses in the United States. CNG is an abundant, low-cost fuel, averaging about 65 percent lower in cost per equivalent gallon than diesel.

The new 0.02 ultra-low NOx option is now available to order for Blue Bird Vision CNG school buses.