Victor La Rosa (center) with GLS students and the hydrogen fuel-cell truck
“They both say that the programs have helped them understand the terminology of the industry and get exposed to different fields,” La Rosa said, adding that a number of TTSI employees have also graduated from the GLS program. Nick was hired by Eagle Marine after he graduated from MTOP. “They put every employee through an 18-month training program, and they have a very sophisticated interview and testing process at the end. Nick said he probably wouldn’t have made it through and passed the test without the MTOP program,” La Rosa said. “He joined Eagle Marine because the MTOP program exposed him to all the facets of marine terminal life, and he felt he had a major advantage by going through the CITT programs.”
During the presentation, La Rosa said that TTSI started using cleaner diesel fuels, which cut down on their carbon footprint but still produced emissions. “Then we moved to liquid natural gas, which has about 25 percent less carbon output than diesel, but you’re still creating an emission because you are combusting a natural gas,” he said. “So the only way to get to zero emission is with an electric system, and we felt most comfortable with the fuel-cell version. This puts us in a truly electronic environment and gives us the flexibility to keep the truck running, because you don’t have to plug it in to recharge the batteries.”
La Rosa said that “going green” is important to their company for many reasons, including reducing the cost of fuel (natural gas can be domestically supplied and is not subject to the fluctuations of the oil markets), reducing the amount of maintenance on their vehicles (the brakes on the hydrogen truck regenerate and the electric engine is built to last 30 years), and the inherent benefit to the environment. “If I have zero emissions coming from my tailpipe and I’m delivering products to a Target or Lowe’s in your neighborhood, your area will greatly benefit from the reduced pollution,” La Rosa said.
“This new technology will definitely create jobs,” La Rosa added. “We want to assemble these trucks in southern California, and there will be a requirement to retrain people who are currently classified as mechanics to be able to work on these vehicles, so there are definitely job opportunities,” he said. “We are also trying to source as many of the components as possible from the United States.”