History of the NAFTC
Under contract with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, West Virginia University (WVU) started the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) in late 1992 to address the urgent need for training and support of alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) technicians in the field. WVU worked closely with the natural gas industry in conceiving the program. A Train-the-Trainers approach was adopted, and courses were developed to teach alternative fuel vehicle technology to trainers who then return to their institutions to conduct training. After receiving their initial training at WVU, these trainers are supported with updated training, technical materials, training aids and online information through the NAFTC’s website. The audience for the program includes vo-tech instructors, four-year college and community college faculty, fleet managers and technicians, instructors, government agency personnel, military support personnel, utility technicians, and anyone involved in alternative fuel vehicle development.
In 1995, WVU announced the addition of six technical training centers to the program to enhance dissemination of alternative fuels training materials and public education and awareness programs. Since that time, the program has expanded and also includes affiliate members in a formal training network now known as the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC). The NAFTC currently operates through a network of National Training Centers (NTCs) and Associate Training Centers (ATCs) across the country. More than 10,000 technicians have been trained from industry, academic, and governmental organizations. The U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Air Force, U.S. DOE Clean Cities Programs, and private fleets are example users of training materials from the NAFTC.
The NAFTC is headquartered at WVU and conducts business under the auspices of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy. The NAFTC headquarters and the National Alternative Fuels Training Laboratory are located in Morgantown, West Virginia.
To foster its mission, the NAFTC seeks the involvement of educational institutions; fuel providers; equipment and parts manufacturers; industry partners; federal and state agencies; and professional, educational, and training associations.
The basic NAFTC Train-the-Trainers courses include classroom time to learn fundamentals, videos, discussions, pre- and post-tests, and lab/shop activities. When in Morgantown, West Virginia, a multi-bay automotive lab is used during training for demonstration, skills training, diagnostics, emissions testing and maintenance issues. A Repair Grade (RG) Dynamometer is used to demonstrate important automotive concepts as they relate to alternative fuels. New modules are developed to address specific topics in the evolution of the AFV industry.
The NAFTC programs tap the capability of its member NTCs and colleges and departments at WVU, including the expertise of WVU’s College of Education and Human Services, College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, the land-grant university Extension Service, and the National Research Center for Coal and Energy.