Cellulosic Ethanol to Debut at Sebring

LeMansIn a technological breakthrough for both renewable fuels and racing, cellulosic ethanol will be used for the first time in motor sports this year, paving the way for the biomass fuel to be used commercially.

KL Process DesignKL Process Design Group of South Dakota will supply the American Le Mans Series with cellulosic E85 racing ethanol for the 2008 season. The fuel, produced from waste wood, will be used for the first time during the season opener — Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 15. Corvette Racing will be the first team to use the cellulosic-based flex-fuel ethanol in competition.

Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “The American Le Mans Series was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the only motorsports entity to meet the criteria for ‘green racing’. Introducing cellulosic E85 racing ethanol to our series with one of our most noted championship teams does nothing but reinforce our commitment to be the global leader in green racing.”

EPIC E85Through the marketing partnership with the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC), the American Le Mans Series will drive awareness of ethanol among consumers through its use of both E10 and E85 ethanol.

“This is an exciting time for the ethanol industry,” said Reece Nanfito, senior director of marketing for EPIC. “Consumers want more choices at the pump, and although challenges remain, cellulosic ethanol is no longer a dream, but a reality.”

Corvette Racing on E85

Corvette will continue its legacy of being a platform for introducing and developing new technology this year as Corvette Racing will be powered by E85 in the 2008 American Le Mans Series.

E85 CorvetteDuring the announcement at the North American International Auto Show earlier this month, Chevrolet general manager Ed Peper said, “Like the Corvette Z06 E85 concept car that will pace the 2008 Indianapolis 500, the use of E85 ethanol fuel by America’s premier production sports car racing team in a high-profile, high-tech racing series like the ALMS shows that Chevy is continuing to lead by example.”

“By showcasing the capabilities of E85 ethanol before an audience of knowledgeable and technically astute race fans, we can demonstrate the benefits of a renewable fuel that helps to reduce dependence on petroleum, helps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and helps to create greater diversity in energy supplies,” Peper said. “Of course, performance is what counts in racing, so E85 ethanol’s higher octane rating than gasoline wasn’t overlooked by the Corvette Racing engineers.”

Corvette Racing has formed a technical partnership with the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) to spotlight E85 in the ALMS.

2008 Could Be Year of E85

e-podcast 2008 is shaping up to be the “Year of E85.” Ethanol Promotion and Information Council Marketing Director Reece Nanfito was at the media preview for the big auto show in Detroit this week where big announcements were made regarding ethanol and ethanol-powered vehicles.

The “Fill up, Feel Good” podcast is available to download by subscription (see our sidebar link) or you can listen to it by clicking here (6:30 MP3 File):

The Fill Up, Feel Good theme music is “Tribute to Joe Satriani” by Alan Renkl, thanks to the Podsafe Music Network.

“Fill up, Feel Good” is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

Grant for E85 Outreach

NEVCThe Clean Fuels Development Coalition, the Clean Fuels Foundation, and the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition have teamed with the Nebraska Ethanol Board and received a grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and the Nebraska Rural Development Commission that was announced here today.

NE EthanolCFDC and NEVC will work with ethanol producers and E85 distributors and marketers to conduct a series of workshops covering a variety of subjects that will improve opportunities for direct E85 marketing. As the prime recipient of the grant, the Nebraska Ethanol Board will administer the project. One-day workshops, expected to begin in the second quarter of the year, will cover EPA storage requirements, fuel tax incentives, ethanol safety and handling training, and E85 brand awareness.

Auto Show Highlights Ethanol Powered Concept Cars

FerrariIt is easy being green this year at the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

Reece Nanfito, Marketing Director for the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council, is there and he reports that “the whole place is buzzing about alternative fuels.”

Ferrari is showing a Biofuel Ferrari for North America that is all about being green. The Associated Press picked up on the story that Ferrari is experimenting with ethanol to help its luxury sports cars produce lower emissions and improve fuel economy.

Ferrari said Monday it developed an engine for an F430 Spider to run on E85, an 85% ethanol blend. The automaker said it produces 5 percent less carbon dioxide emissions and boosts horsepower by 10 percent.

MazdaNanfito was especially impressed with the Mazda Furai, which he says is an amazingly futuristic car. “Apparently E98 is the fuel of the future, because that is how they designed the car,” said Nanfito. “Our logo is on it, along with BP, and it is getting a lot of attention.”

CNN Money headlined the “E100 Powered Furai Concept” reporting that “the Furai looks as if it’s straight off the race track and features an “air fin” on top to help keep the engine cool.”

Check out the NAIAS show cam for more photos.

American Le Mans to Offer E85

LeMansE85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, will make its appearance in 2008 as a fuel alternative in the American Le Mans Series.

EPIC E85According to the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council, two automotive manufactures will run E85 during the 2008 season, Corvette Racing and Aston Martin Racing.

“This is the first time a racing series has made a commitment to E85, the highest performing fuel available to consumers with flex-fuel vehicles,” said Reece Nanfito, senior director of marketing for EPIC. “In addition to the Series making E85 available, EPIC will have a direct sponsorship of the two E85-fueled Corvette Racing entries. Having such an American icon racing on E85 will go a long way to demonstrate and promote E85 use nationwide.”

Team Chevy“By showcasing the capabilities of E85 ethanol before an audience of knowledgeable and technically astute race fans, we can demonstrate the benefits of a renewable fuel that helps to reduce dependence on petroleum, helps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and helps to create greater diversity in energy supplies,” Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper said. “Of course, performance is what counts in racing, so E85 ethanol’s higher octane rating than gasoline wasn’t overlooked by the Corvette Racing engineers.”

One Million Gallon Milestone

Flex-fuel vehicle owners in Oshkosh, Wis. have purchased over one million gallons of E85 at the Renew fuel station located at Highway 76 and 41. Consumers took 830 days to purchase one million gallons of E85 and are well on their way to purchasing more. This marks the first time a Wisconsin gas station has sold more than a million gallons of E85.

Ethanol Promotion and Information Council
(EPIC) Interim Executive Director Robert White congratulated the station and the ethanol industry for reaching that historic mark. “The industry reached a milestone when the Renew station sold its millionth gallon of E85. Consumers are sending the message that the demand for E85 is rising and more E85 stations and flex-fuel vehicles are needed,” said White.

RenewRenew, an independent brand of fuel stations based in Oshkosh, has offered E85 since the station opened on September 26, 2005. The company expects Oshkosh station customers helped save approximately 43,500 barrels of oil by choosing E85 over straight gasoline. Jay Stoflet, Director of Retail Marketing for Renew explains, “While there is no perfect solution for immediately reducing our country’s dependency on oil, E85 is a great first step that is helping make a change. These customers are really making a difference, one gallon at a time.”

MO Governor Pushes More Ethanol

MO Governor Matt BluntMissouri Governor Matt Blunt is serious about making the Show Me State a renewable fuels leader.

As of January 1, the state became only the third in the nation to implement a statewide 10 percent ethanol standard. Now the governor has proposed several initiatives targeted at promoting the use of and expanding access to E85 in Missouri.

At the Missouri Governor’s Conference on Agriculture Monday in St. Louis, Blunt told reporters that he supports tax incentives for retail outlets to install E85 pumps. “Only about two percent of our gas stations sell E85,” said Blunt. “E85 is a cleaner burning fuel, good for the environment, helpful to Missouri farmers, and from a national security perspective it makes a lot more sense to buy fuel that’s produced right here in the Midwest rather than in the Mid East.”

Blunt’s proposals will be considered by the Missouri legislature during the 2008 session which begins on Wednesday.

Listen to Blunt’s comments in response to questions from Domestic Fuel reporter Chuck Zimmerman.

Missouri Governor Unveils Incentives for E-85 Pumps

blunt.jpgMissouri Governor Matt Blunt has unveiled a plan to provide $2 million in tax incentives to fuel retailers who install E-85 ethanol pumps.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, there are only 92 gas stations capable of pumping E-85 out of the more than 4,300 stations in the state. These tax credits would help offset the cost of installing or modifying pumps and tanks to dispense E-85, estimated to cost between $3,000 and $40,000. The proposal comes on the heels of the January 1st E-10 mandate in Missouri:

“We have made several policy changes that make Missouri more energy efficient, environmentally-friendly and a leader in alternative fuel use, such as requiring gasoline to be blended with 10 percent ethanol,” Gov. Blunt said at the Claycomo (near Kansas City) Ford Assembly Plant, home of the Ford Hybrid Escape. “The creation of the Missouri Renewable Fuel Standard was a major step we took to position Missouri as a leader in ethanol production and use, but we can do more. I am proposing we further promote alternative fuel use and better protect our air quality by expanding access to E-85 and provide tax incentives for Missourians who purchase hybrid vehicles.”

The proposal also calls for a $1,500 tax break for those who buy a flex-fuel vehicle, such as the Ford Escape Hybrid, capable of operating on blends of fuel containing as much as E-85. In addition, individuals who buy E-85 could get a $500 a year tax break.

The measure would have to get lawmakers’ approval, and Blunt plans to make it a priority for the coming legislative session that begins next Wednesday (January 9th, 2008).

Indy Vettes

Indy VettesHistory will be made at the 2008 Indianapolis 500 when not one, but two distinctive vehicles will serve as the official pace cars.

Chevrolet and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials gathered at the Indianapolis Auto Show Thursday to make the announcement.

One of the pace cars is a customized Corvette Z06 E85 concept that runs on E85 ethanol fuel that will be driven during the race’s pace lap by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

The other official pace car is a black-and-silver commemorative edition that marks the 30th anniversary of the celebrated 1978 pace car – the first Corvette to pace the field at the Indianapolis 500. Chevrolet will produce a total of 500 pace car replicas in both coupe and convertible form, each signed personally by Fittipaldi at the Corvette’s Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant.

“Although not a production FlexFuel vehicle, the Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is a high-performance example of Chevrolet’s gas-friendly to gas-free initiative, demonstrating viable fuel solutions,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “As an ethanol refiner in his native Brazil, Emerson Fittipaldi is the fitting Chevrolet champion to help support GM’s efforts with E85 and celebrate 30 years of the Corvette pacing the Indianapolis 500.”

Ethanol on Ice

E95 ZamboniA new message accompanies the ice resurfacing machine at University of Minnesota hockey games. The new “E85 Zamboni” debuted this month during a game between the Gopher Men and the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

“The message is as “black and white” as we can make it. We hope you agree,” said Tim Gerlach of the Minnesota E85 Team. “This consumer education project was made possible with support from the Minnesota E85 Team, for which we are grateful. Thank you, also, to Portage Marketing for their assistance.”

The Minnesota E85 Team consists of the American Lung Association of Minnesota, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, Clean Cities and General Motors.

See more E85 Zamboni pictures here.

Educating NC about FFVs

NEVC NCThe National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, along with General Motors, CleanFUEL Distribution and Clean Fuel Advanced Technology, traveled the state of North Carolina this month in an effort to educate retailers and marketers regarding the potential of E85 and flexible fuel vehicles.

“The event allowed North Carolina gasoline marketers the chance to learn more about E85 and the use of alternative fuels for the almost 140,000 FFVs in the state,” noted NEVC Deputy Director Michelle Kautz. “We would like to thank GM, CleanFUEL Distribution and CFAT for the opportunity to present on the national perspective.”

Author Outlines “Energy Victory”

Energy VictoryAn aerospace engineer and author thinks the country needs a new direction in energy policy to “break the economic stranglehold that the OPEC oil cartel has on our country.”

Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Astronautics, a private company that does research and development on innovative aerospace technologies, and author of several books including his most recent, “Energy Victory,” in which he advocates Congress passed a law requiring that all new cars sold in the USA be flex-fueled.

“If we create the market by mandating that the cars be flex-fueled, it will break the monopoly,” Zubrin says. “Right now the only fuel that American consumers can buy is what the enemy is selling.”

Zubrin believes the American public is getting tired of being beholden to foreign oil interests. “This has gone on long enough. In 1973, we were 30 percent dependent on foreign oil, now we are 60 percent dependent. At the same time, Brazil – which has had an ethanol policy – went from 80 percent to zero. This is the most important issue affecting our national security and our economic well-being.”

Listen to some of Dr. Zubrin’s comments from an interview here.

Biofuel Producer Honored as “Great Oregonian”

sequential.jpgSeQuential Biofuels, maker and seller of biodiesel and ethanol, has been honored as one of five recipients of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski’s Gold Awards, recognizing “greatness in Oregonians.”

This story from the Portland (OR) News says the award was handed out recently at the Oregon Convention Center:

SeQuential, which opened the nation’s first biofuels station in 2006 on McVay Highway in Eugene, will open additional stations in Portland and Eugene in 2008. The company sells biofuel blends for every vehicle, with no engine conversion required. SeQuential’s products include E10, which can be used in every gas vehicle and decreases carbon dioxide emissions by about seven percent. Its E85 bioethanol, for use in Flex Fuel Vehicles, decreases carbon dioxide emissions by 59 percent. B99 biodiesel is suitable for most diesel vehicles and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent. SeQuential also sells reduced-carbon B5 and B20 biodiesel blends suitable for any diesel engine.

In addition to reducing carbon dioxide and other toxic emissions into the environment, these biofuels directly displace foreign petroleum. In 2007, Oregon consumers avoided using more than 360,000 gallons of petroleum by using SeQuential biofuels.

The company, which was founded in 2002, also operates the largest biofuels retail network in the region with more than 35 biofuel pumps at independent retailers and 5,000 loyal customers. It is a partner in the SeQuential-Pacific biodiesel production facility in Salem, which will expand capacity from one million to five million gallons in 2008.

SeQuential is in pretty good company with this award. Previous winners include Intel and Nike. Check out the SeQuential crew below. Congrats guys!

Swedish Bio-Fuel Sports Car

“The Future of Things” has a feature on a future bio-fueled sports car called CCXR.

Future CarThe elite Swedish sports car manufacturer Koenigsegg has created a new bio-fuel powered sports car named CCXR. This Limited Edition CCXR is the first homologated car currently in production to reach over 1,000 Brake horsepower, and a top speed of over 400 km/h (250+ mph). In addition, the CCXR is environmentally friendly, as it runs on E85 (bio-fuel). Keonigsegg plans on displaying the new edition CCXR at the Geneva International Motor Show scheduled for March, 2008.

According to Keonigsegg, the CCXR’s performance is even better than that of the standard CCX thanks to the bio-fuel, “the ethanol in bio-fuel has the positive side effect of cooling the combustion chambers, as well as a higher octane value, well over 100 RON, which gives the high power.” The company explains that for this reason, the power reaches up to 1018 hp at 7200 rpm, and the torque can reach up to 1060 nm at 6100 rpm.