General Motors Executive Calls for More Ethanol Pumps

2010 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

The vice chairman of Global Product Operations for General Motors told attendees of the 15th Annual National Ethanol Conference that his company will keep putting more flexible fuel vehicles on the road, but more ethanol pumps are needed to fuel them.

Tom Stephens said GM is committed to making more than half of their vehicle production flex fuel capable by 2012. “GM is spending about $100 million a year adding flex fuel capability to our vehicles,” he said. “We can’t afford to leave this capital stranded.”

He noted that the majority of flex fuel vehicles are in highly populous areas, especially the east and west coasts, while the majority of E-85 fueling stations are located in the Midwest. He advocates the use of blender pumps to allow retailers to put both mid and high level blends in the pumps so consumers can choose the right fuel for their vehicles.

However, when it comes to increasing the blend level to 15 percent ethanol, he added a note of caution. “We believe it’s critical to complete the planned testing of mid level blends to understand the impact on light duty fleet, off-road vehicles, boats and other equipment,” he said. “Until the results of these comprehensive durability tests are fully understood, we remain concerned about customers using fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol. If ethanol gets a bad name, it will be bad for everyone.”

You can listen to or download Stephen’s speech in the player below and watch part of his talk here:

Growth Energy Works With Ricardo to Optimize Fuel Economy

growth energyEthanol advocacy organization Growth Energy will be working with automotive technology provider Ricardo to optimize flexible fuel vehicles with ethanol boosted direct injection (EBDI). The ten month project will use Ricardo’s EBDI flex fuel engine, developed from a production V6 gasoline engine, to re-power two GMC Sierra 3500 HD pickup trucks to demonstrate how highly optimized engines fueled on ethanol can provide a cost-effective, low-carbon alternative to fossil fuel.

growth energyMaking the announcement at the Washington Auto Show Tuesday morning were Ricardo President Kent Niederhofer (left) and Growth Energy Co-Chairman (Ret.) Gen. Wesley Clark, pictured here with the engine. “EBDI engine technology offers a uniquely American solution for a wide range of vehicle applications, combining extreme optimized flex-fuel engine technology offering high fuel economy, low emissions and uncompromised performance using a source of renewable fuel produced here in the United States,” said Niederhofer.

Clark added, “Through this project with Ricardo we aim to be able to put potential customers in the driving seat and demonstrate to them that with EBDI technology, ethanol can deliver performance and fuel economy and offers an attractive and sustainable transport solution using an American produced renewable fuel. Consumers should have a choice at the pump – and domestic ethanol should be one of those options for fuel.”

Read more from Growth Energy.

Sioux Falls Gets Ethanol Blender Pumps

Motorists in Sioux Falls, SD now have more fuel choices at the pump with the installation of four new ethanol blender pumps at a Kings Mart gas station in the city.

BYOThrough a joint effort between the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council (SDCUC), the station now offers a variety of fuel blends including unleaded gasoline and E10, and E30 and E85 for Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs).

“This is the first location in Sioux Falls to offer a blend of 30 percent ethanol for FFV owners,” said Ron Lamberty with ACE. “The important investments made by the owners of King’s Mart, and the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council with the assistance of ACE and the “Blend Your Own Ethanol” campaign, have provided consumers with another ethanol fueling option in Sioux Falls.”

The BYO Ethanol campaign was launched last year as a partnership between ACE, the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association and leading corn-producing states such as South Dakota. The campaign works to show gas station owners the benefits of blending ethanol and using blender pumps to provide choices for motorists.

The Sioux Falls blender pump location joins 40 other locations across South Dakota and around 150 nationwide. ACE offers an on-line map of blender pump sites.

Growth Energy Introduces Market Development Newsletter

fyi-newsletterThis week, the Growth Energy Market Development Team introduced the first edition of a new bi-monthly electronic newsletter. This newsletter will focus on issues associated with E85, flexible fuel vehicles and blender pumps. The E85 FYI Newsletter was first introduced by the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) over ten years ago, and has been recently adopted by Growth Energy as the Market Development FYI Newsletter.

growth_energy_supportlogoThe first issue of the Market Development FYI Newsletter includes the following articles: Big Oil Letting Go of Retail Outlets; MSDS Sheets for Ethanol Blends; Missouri Opens First Blender Pump; Blender Pump Tax Fix Sought; States Offer Additional Infrastructure Tax Credits; E85 Makes Inroads on Cost and Availability; Dresser Wayne Promotes Blender Pumps; Member Spotlight and much more.

To sign up for the newsletter, click here.

NE Family Wins Growth Energy Ford FFV

A Nebraska family has been named the lucky winners of a flex fuel (FFV) Ford F150 from Growth Energy.

truckgiveawayRoger and Margie Johnson of Exeter, Nebraska (seen far left) were the grand prize winners in the Growth Force sweepstakes. The prize was awarded on Thursday to the winners by Wayne Hoovestol, Chairman of Green Plains Renewable Energy and a member of the Growth Energy Board of Directors.

“We are very proud to drive a Ford Flex Fuel Vehicle. If we’re ever going to secure our nation, we need to do it with domestic fuels like ethanol. Ethanol creates jobs here in the U.S., and it gives our farmers market certainty, but just as important is the fact that every gallon of ethanol we make in the U.S. means one less gallon of fuel from overseas,” the Johnsons said.

The giveaway was conducted as part of the campaign launching Growth Force, the individual membership for Growth Energy, a coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters. People who signed up for Growth Force became eligible to win the truck. Growth Force sign-up drives were held at two of the nation’s largest farm shows: the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois and the Husker Harvest Days show in Grand Island, Nebraska.

“As a member of Growth Energy, we are pleased to award this Flex Fuel Ford F150 truck to the Johnsons,” Hoovestol said at the truck giveaway. “In a short period of time, ethanol has become the third largest supplier of fuel in the U.S. behind imports from Canada and ahead of fuel imports from Saudi Arabia and Mexico. We congratulate the Johnsons.”

More than 13,000 people have joined Growth Force since its inception this summer.

Hummer Goes Green and a Few Other Colors for 2010

2010-hummerHummer has always been known as a gas guzzling vehicle that was anything but eco-friendly. Well, it’s nearly 2010 and times are a changin’! HUMMER announced today that updates to their 2010 HUMMER H3 and H3T midsize all-terrain vehicles will be flexible fuel and include new exterior colors.

“In 2007, HUMMER committed to offer a biofuel powertrain in every vehicle by 2010 and follows through on that promise with the addition of a new 300-horsepower, E85 Flex Fuel capable 5.3L V8,” says James Taylor, HUMMER CEO. “This is just the first step in HUMMER’s evolution to offer responsible, yet highly capable all-terrain vehicles. Future models will be lighter, more efficient and will continue to offer the best blend of off-road capability and on-road performance.”

According to Hummer’s press release, the new 5.3L V8 Flex Fuel engine is standard in all 2010 Alpha series’ models. The Hydra-Matic 4L60 electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission has a 5.3L engine. Flat towing is enabled on all H3 and H3T models.

The new colors available will include Red Rock Metallic, Silver Stone Metallic, and Canyon Metallic. The 2010 HUMMER H3 and H3T should arrive in in dealerships by next month.

2010 FFV Purchasing Guide Now Available

2010 Purchasing Guide coverThe 2010 Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) Purchasing Guide is now available through Growth Energy. The 16-page, full color guide contains detailed information regarding which vehicles are offered to run high level blends of ethanol by automobile manufacturers.

The FFV Purchasing Guide has been available since 2003, offering frequently asked questions regarding high level blends of ethanol and the availability of FFVs. This issue provides all the latest information about 2010 Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota trucks and cars with E85 compatible engines.

The Purchasing Guides are available in bulk for giveaway items at trade shows or blender pump/E85 station grand opening events. They can be ordered on-line here.

MN Vikings Work with ALAMN to Promote E85

mn-vikingsThe Minnesota Vikings along with the American Lung Association of Minnesota (ALAMN) are working together to promote E85. Drivers of flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) can receive a free parking space in the Gold Lot at 401 4th Street South in downtown Minneapolis during Viking’s home games. The free parking is open to the drivers of the first 25 FFVs in the lot during the eight home games this season — those arriving after the 25 free parking passes are gone will have to pay the usual $40 charge for the premium parking spot near the Dome.

ala-mnVolunteers from the ALAMN will be at the two Gold Lot entrances to identify FFVs and distribute the free passes. The ALAMN supports the use of cleaner-burning E85, and has partnered with the Minnesota Vikings to raise awareness and use of the ethanol-based fuel, sold at more than 350 stations in Minnesota. The first 25 FFV drvers in the Gold Lot will receive coupons for 10 cents off per gallon of E85 at the downtown station.

Also, a trip for two to Soldier Field in Chicago is being given away to watch the Vikings play the Bears on December 28th. Fans can register to win the “Vikings Road Trip, Fueled By E85″ contest by clicking here.

Florida to Hold FFV Rally

ffv-clubA flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) rally is being held tomorrow, October 8 beginning at 10:30 a.m. The driver education campaign will begin with a press conference at the Midway U-Gas location at 210 NW 79th Avenue in Miami, Florida. After the press conference, E85 will sell for 85 cents per gallon from 11 a.m. until noon.

The educational rally was announced in July at the Florida Farm-to-Fuel Summit by Charles Bronson, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Florida Governor Charlie Crist. The Clean Fuels Foundation and the FlexFuel Vehicle Club of America are the organizers of the campaign.

unicaThe campaign will help locate, educate, and motivate FFV owners to use higher blends of ethanol so the U.S. can meet the goals of the national renewable fuel standard (RFS) and pave the way for 2nd generation biofuels in Florida. Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) is sponsoring the upcoming series of IndyCar Race related events which is the next phase of the driver education campaign.

Two free IndyCar Race Tickets and special parking/FFV Corral passes will be given to the first 50 FFV owners to purchase E85 at the Rally tomorrow. IndyCar Race Driver Mario Moraes will be available for autographs from 11 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.

Growth Energy Launches Driving Ethanol Website

Growth Energy has launched a new, re-designed version of the former Ethanol Promotion and Information Council website, DrivingEthanol.org.

“DrivingEthanol.org is a one-stop shop to learn more about the remarkable benefits of high-tech, homegrown ethanol,” said Tom Buis, Growth Energy CEO. “We hope consumers and retailers alike will visit DrivingEthanol.org to learn more about the promise of ethanol.”

Driving EthanolThe online resource is designed to help consumers learn more about the benefits of ethanol for America’s environment, economy and national security and includes answers to many frequently asked questions about the ethanol industry.

DrivingEthanol.org also contains retail information such as E85 and blender pump locations, uses of ethanol and a listing of the Flex-Fuel Vehicle models on the market today. The site offers resources for prospective ethanol retailers including information on tax incentives, pump installation and conversion, as well as ethanol purchase.

The website domain was originally launched about four years ago by EPIC, prior to that ethanol organization becoming part of Growth Energy last year.

Green Fuels from Grass and Leaves

ArgonneA newly proposed collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and the City of Naperville, Illinois would convert “landscape waste”—essentially, grass and leaf trimmings—into one of several different environmentally friendly fuels, including ethanol, bioelectricity and hydrogen.

This new partnership, known as the “Green Fuels Depot,” provides “a golden opportunity for Argonne to be associated with one of our neighboring communities in promoting new technologies that we have pioneered here at the laboratory,” said Glenn Keller, manager of vehicle systems in Argonne’s Center for Transportation Research.

The depot will use a gasifier from Packer Engineering to convert grass, leaves, branches and other biomass into syngas, a gas mixture that contains carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The syngas can then be used to create cellulosic ethanol, bio-electricity or hydrogen. Although the proposal calls for trying all three fuel types, Keller said it would be more practical to concentrate on producing just one fuel when the depot is built.

Because Naperville’s official vehicle fleet currently includes flex-fuel vehicles that run on both gasoline and ethanol, any cellulosic ethanol produced by the depot could be quickly put to use. Although the pilot project will use only 3 percent of the annual landscape waste collected by the city, if all 48,000 cubic yards of Naperville’s landscape waste were used in a full-scale Green Fuels Depot, it would be enough to fuel all 300 vehicles in the city fleet.

BYOethanol: Press Conference

Unless you haven’t been reading our coverage of the 22nd Ethanol Conference & Trade Show hosted by the American Coalition for Ethanol, you’ve heard by now the news regarding the new blender pump program called BYOethanol. Pronounced “bio,” Blend Your Own Ethanol is a joint campaign between ACE, RFA and NCGA to bring 5,000 blender pumps online throughout the United States in the next three years.

You can learn more about this unprecedented program in my last post. You can also watch the announcement unfold in my video. Interested in seeing what else you missed? Check out our Flickr photo album.

ACE & RFA Launch National Mid-Level Blend Campaign

From left to right: Ron Lamberty, ACE; Darrin Ihnen, NCGA; and Robert White, RFA

From left to right: Ron Lamberty, ACE; Darrin Ihnen, NCGA; and Robert White, RFA

The 22nd Ethanol Conference & Trade Show in Milwaukee kicked off with an announcement of the largest ever consolidated effort to install 5,000 mid-level blend, or blender pumps, throughout the country: BYOethanol. I know many of you are envisioning bringing your own ethanol to the upcoming college football tailgate party, but it really means, Blend Your Own Ethanol.

The partnership with the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), is aimed at reaching retailers about the competitive benefits of installing blender pumps and the program will assist them with questions and issues they have including helping them with funding opportunities.

I spoke with Ron Lamberty and asked him to expand on how the program will work. “It’s a program that the American Coalition for Ethanol, and the Renewable Fuels Association are working on together taking the resources of the National Corn Growers Association and several state corn grower associations to get out and inform petroleum marketers about the value of being able to see E85 adn other blends of fuel using a blender pump.”

Robert White, Director of Market Development for RFA expanded on his answer by explaining, “We’re throwing the whole kitchen sink at this one. The strongest piece will be information dissemination.” As part of the program, they will be at petroleum trade shows and conferences, they will advertise in their magazines and will launch their own magazine aimed at retailers.

Darrin Ihnen, a corn farmer from South Dakota and incoming president of NCGA beginning October 1, 2009, noted that NCGA was involved in this ethanol industry program because they, “need to take it (promoting ethanol) to the next level beyond just the E15 campaign. This blender pump program shows that you can use a higher percentage of ethanol in our motor vehicles.”

This three-year program has an initial funding base of nearly $1 million dollars and is significantly funded by NCGA as well as by several state groups including the Kansas Corn Commission, the Kentucky Corn Promotion Council, the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, the Nebraska Corn Board, and the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council.

The website, www.byoethanol.com, will launch in September but in the meantime, people can visit ACE’s or RFA’s website for more information. You can see pictures from the conference in our Flickr photo album.

BYO Ethanol Initiative Launched

Corn growers and the ethanol industry are uniting to provide consumers with more choices at the pump, gas station owners with more product flexibility, and the nation with the ability to achieve its renewable fuels targets with a new campaign to increase the number of ethanol blender pumps nationwide.

BYOThe campaign is a partnership between leading corn-producing states, the American Coalition for Ethanol, and the Renewable Fuels Association, with the goal of installing 5,000 blender pumps nationwide over the next three years.

The “Blend Your Own Ethanol” campaign – or BYOethanol (pronounced “bio”) – will offer a single source of ethanol information and technical expertise for petroleum marketers looking to upgrade equipment or begin offering more choices to their customers. By serving as a central clearinghouse for renewable fuels infrastructure incentives, the “BYOethanol” campaign will bring blender pumps to key areas of the country, and from there they will spread as neighboring gas stations see the benefit and want to remain competitive.

The announcement was made today at the opening of the 22nd Ethanol Conference & Trade Show in Milwaukee. Domestic Fuel reporter Joanna Schroeder will have interviews and photos from the event coming soon.

FFV Campain Announced at Farm-to-Fuel Summit

farmtofuelAccording to the Clean Fuels Foundation, a national consumer awareness campaign aimed at owners of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) was officially launched at the Farm-to-Fuel Summit. The project is a cooperative effort between key Florida state government interests, gasoline/E85 distributors, ethanol companies, and several nonprofit environmental and energy advocacy groups.

The Florida Farm-to-Fuel Summit provided the forum for Charles Bronson, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to announce that the state would be taking a proactive role aimed at increasing the use of higher blends of renewable biofuels, like ethanol, in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). “Our state has developed a comprehensive strategy to become more energy independent with clean, sustainable, and affordable fuel sources,” said Governor Crist. “Today’s announcement is one more step that our state can take in the effort to become better stewards of our natural resources.”

“The FFV Awareness driver education project is designed to locate and encourage drivers of FFVs to try higher blends of ethanol when they are available. This will help Florida meet its goals of reducing the cost of and reliance on imported oil, improving air quality, and creating economic development opportunities – all while reducing greenhouse gases. This is a Win-Win-Win for Florida drivers, the state government, and the nation,” said Douglas A. Durante, Director of the Clean Fuels Foundation.

There are currently thirty E85 stations in the state, with a majority of them located in the South Florida market.

ffv-clubThe Clean Fuels Foundation and the FlexFuel Vehicle Club of America are the project organizers in cooperation with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The lead sponsor for the pilot project is the Renewable Fuels Association. Other project supporters include General Motors, Verenium, Protec Fuel Management, Urbieta Oil, Florida Biofuels Association, and the USDA Office of Energy Policy and New Uses.