Students Raise the Green Flag for Algae

5217a9d137b67.preview-300Students and professors at Utah State University are raising the green flag for algae with a record breaking small engine dragster. Earlier this month at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the Aggie A-Salt Streamliner clocked in at 73.977 miles per hour – beating the current record in their division of 72.102. The team hopes to set additional records with their algal-biofueled dragster during the World of Speed taking place in Utah’s west desert this week.

“The big benefit, once the price is brought down to where it’s competitive with regular diesel fuel, is that it would be a totally renewable fuel,” said USU Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Lance Seefeldt in an article in the Cache Valley Daily. “It would come from CO2 and sunlight. Then when you burn it, it turns back into CO2 again.”

The team of students is racing with algae biodiesel fuel that they are researching, producing and testing themselves. Graduate student Rhesa Ledbetter said that a benefit of using algae is that other resources are not being burned up.

“Producing fuel from things like corn and soybeans, things that we actually use as food products, that’s a major concern. We are taking something that’s food and using it as another resource. It can also start driving up costs,” said Ledbetter. “So if we can use something like algae that’s naturally present, I think people are much more open-minded.”

5217a979e8f83.preview-300A year ago, the dragster set a land speed record while running on yeast biodiesel fuel. Seefeldt says the big difference is that yeast biodiesel fuel comes from cheese waste while algae captures carbon dioxide out of the air and uses energy from sunlight to turn it into usable fuel.

The multi-department project began six years ago and has been featured in such places as the National Biodiesel Board’s annual conference where attendees were fascinated to learn about both the research and the racing.

“This is super exciting because many of the other schools working on this don’t have what we have in our hands,” said Research Assistant Mike Morgan who is also the driver of the dragster. “It’s the opportunity to raise the flag for everybody else and show that it’s doable.”

Jam the Stands

Jam at the StandsThe “Jam the Stands” racing series continues on Sunday, July 28, 2013 at the Granite City Speedway in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota. During the event, fans will enjoy a free evening of high octane stock car racing and learn about biofuels. Gates open at 2:00 pm and racing begins at 5:30 pm.

The Biofuel Mobile Education Center will be at the Speedway, thanks to the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, which is sponsoring the “Jam the Stands” racing series across Minnesota. The Biofuel Mobile Education Center gives race fans the opportunity to learn more about ethanol fuels using touch screen computers, educational displays, videos, and flex fuel station locaters.

The American Lung Association in Minnesota will also be in attendance to help share the clean air benefits of E85. Some fans who drive flex fuel vehicles will receive a coupon for $2 off a tankful of E85 at the Short Stop Quick Mart at 4725 Quail Road, Sauk Rapids. The event also features a $50 Visa cash card giveaway as well as a Husqvarna equipment give away from Mimbach Fleet.

Propane’s Message Hits Track with ROUSH CleanTech

RoushCleanTechford1Alternative fuel vehicle technology leader ROUSH CleanTech is getting out the message about the beauty and performance of propane with some recent big victories and upcoming milestones on the NASCAR racetrack. Roush Fenway Racing’s (RFR) Trevor Bayne won a dramatic victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) at Iowa Speedway; earning Ford’s 200th win in the NNS. And now the No. 6, ROUSH CleanTech-bedecked Ford Mustang is shooting for Ford’s 1,000th NASCAR win at the Michigan International Speedway this week.

“I haven’t run a Nationwide car at Michigan since they repaved it, but the Sprint Cup cars are unbelievably fast,” said Bayne.

“We are thrilled to have ROUSH CleanTech’s message of clean and economical propane autogas hit the track with Trevor as he hopefully continues his winning streak,” said Joe Thompson, president of ROUSH CleanTech. “Across the nation, a growing number of fleets operate on this readily available and domestically produced alternative transportation fuel.”

ROUSH CleanTech officials point out that propane autogas is the most commonly used alternative fuel in the nation, operates school buses, trucks, vans and taxis.

Good luck on Saturday in Michigan!

Iowa Biodiesel Board Applauds Peck Motorsports

NASCAR driver Todd Peck of Peck Motorsports made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at the Iowa Speedway in Newton this past weekend.

The day before the race, Peck filled up with B15 at Love’s Travel Center near the track and took part in a pump promotion there. Area fans came to the event to learn about biodiesel and meet Todd Peck (center) who signed autographs. Peck is pictured with Grant Kimberly of the Iowa Soybean Association (left) and Randy Olson of the Iowa Biodiesel Board (right).

“Peck Motorsports is dedicated to be environmentally clean leaders in NASCAR,” said Peck. “Fueling our team transporter full of biodiesel has been a part of that process. We can’t thank the Iowa Biodiesel Board enough for joining our efforts in Iowa this race weekend in making our journey as ‘green’ as possible.”

Based in Pennsylvania, Peck Motorsports, with help from Renewable Engineered Systems, has outfitted its race hauler with solar panels on the roof, which power the newly installed LED lights and equipment. The team’s goal is to drive to and from races using biodiesel blends. He has has used up to 50 percent biodiesel when filling up.

“We commend Peck Motorsports for taking the initiative to use biodiesel, and would be thrilled to see more NASCAR teams follow suit,” said Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. “NASCAR’s popularity as a spectator sport presents a great opportunity to raise public awareness on biodiesel, and I’m proud that Iowa biodiesel is helping to kick off this team’s racing series.”

Fill Up on Biodiesel & Meet NASCAR Truck Driver Today

Fill up on biodiesel and meet a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver today in Newton, Iowa at 4 p.m. at Love’s Travel Stop, 4400 S 22nd Ave. East, (I-80/East 44th St. South).

Meet driver Todd Peck of Peck Motorsports. Peck, a NASCAR racing team from Pennsylvania, is committed to going green. The Peck race hauler has been outfitted with solar panels on the roof which power the newly installed LED lights and equipment, and the goal is to drive to and from races using biodiesel blends. The hauler runs on up to B50, 50 percent biodiesel.

Today, Peck will fill up the race hauler with 15 percent blend biodiesel and sign autographs for local fans. The team makes its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at the Iowa Speedway on July 14.

Marco Andretti Pumps Ethanol Across Iowa Today

Fans of Marco Andretti, the 2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 winner, have the opportunity to meet him today (Mon., June 4) at E85 pump promotions across Iowa. Andretti will be pumping fuel and signing autographs with fans at the locations listed below. E85 will also be sold for 85 cents per gallon during the promotional times. Limit 30 gallons per customer.

Locations include:
Cedar Rapids- Kum & Go, 30 SW Four Oaks Drive,
from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Mason City- Kum & Go, 1920 Federal,
from 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Sioux City- Kum & Go, 1925 South Lakeport, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Council Bluffs- Kum & Go, 4443 S. 84th St., from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The pay it forward statewide pump promotions are a way to celebrate the IZOD IndyCar shift to E85, a fuel that Iowans can find at more than 170 flex fuel pumps across the state. Plus, Iowa Corn is partnering with Marco Andretti and Andretti Autosport™ in advance of the 2012 Iowa Corn Indy 250 race that will be held on Saturday, June 23 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton.

“It’s an awesome track and an awesome event,” said Marco Andretti. “Last year, I started 17th and was able to work my way to the front, which was a lot of fun. This year, we have one goal at Iowa: win again. This time, we’ll do it with the Iowa Corn logo on the No. 26 RC Cola car.”

In 2012, the Series will be showcasing E-85 at top-notch speeds and at professional venues across the world.

NCGA Highlights NASCAR Program at ACE Event

During the American Coalition for Ethanol Conference this past week in Des Moines, Iowa, the attendees were treated to a presentation on green NASCAR initiatives including their use of ethanol, by Bart Schott, the president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). During the session, Schott highlighted the media attention that has been focused on the Series’ use of E15 as as well as how its American Ethanol alliance partners have used the sponsorship as a springboard to communicate the benefits of domestically produced corn-based ethanol.

American ethanol became a NASCAR sponsor in order to reach its 80 million plus fans. As such, the league switched the fuel used by all three series to Sunoco Green E15 during the 2011 season. Scott said this has become a platform for both the ethanol industry as well as NASCAR to highlight the environmental benefits of ethanol, as well as its performance and security benefits. In addition its an opportunity to promote the role American farmers play in the movement toward biofuels.

“An average size ethanol plant adds $275 million dollars to the state economy annually,” said Schott. “Furthermore, it creates 1,540 jobs, both directly and indirectly, in rural America at a time when increasing employment opportunities in our heartland is critical. With ethanol we avoid sending oil dollars overseas and actually create job opportunities for hard working Americans.”

Scott said that through the end of June, positive messages about ethanol were delivered to nearly 6 million NASCAR fans through the televised races. This exposure equates to more than $7.5 million. This is important audience because NASCAR fans are three times more likely to purchase products and services from sponsors than non-fans.

“In addition to more traditional advertisements aired by NASCAR to promote ethanol, television coverage of races has emphasized the importance of ethanol in a multitude of ways,” said Schott. “From in-car cameras and mention by announcers to the placement of the American Ethanol logo on the fuel port of every car, this initiative generated an additional $2.8 million dollars in broadcast exposure media by the end of June, when the season was only half over.”

He concluded by stressing that the need for ethanol is too great and the opportunities too boundless for the nation to maintain the status quo.

Biodiesel Speed Record Set

Several races have been taking place in Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and last week Hajek Motorsports broke two land-speed records for biodiesel and diesel trucks. The team competed with a Ford F250 Super Duty truck and set the first record on August 16 using biodiesel made from soybeans. The team, owned by Brent Hajek, also broke the diesel speed record and both were achieved using the new 6.7 Power Stroke V8.

Using regular diesel, the team reached the top speed of 171.123 mph and 182 mph on a B20 biodiesel blend. The regular diesel record was achieved on athe first attempt and solidified in the second run. Then the team drained the diesel and switched to biodiesel. The biodiesel land speed record was broken at 130.64 mph.

Hajek is a soybean farmer from Ames, Oklahoma and owns the Hajek Motorsports Museum in Ames where the record-breaking pickup will be on display.

“There are a lot of soybean farmers in this area trying to promote soy products and keep some of the diesel money in Oklahoma, where they are grown,” said Hajek in an interview with Enid News and Eagle.

Hajek is a biofuels enthusiast – two years ago he set a land speed record with Mustang using E85 and reaching 254 mph. His next goal is to reach speeds of more than 200 mph using biodiesel.

ICM to Sponsor Ethanol Fuel for US Auto Club Racing

Ethanol plant design-builder ICM, Inc. is partnering with National Biofuels Distribution (NBD) to supply and support the United States Auto Club (USAC) with the high-performance ethanol racing fuel called Ignite. The switch to Ignite was announced just recently by USAC.

The USAC includes more than 600 race teams and 250 annual USAC-sanctioned races, including the Silver Crown Series, National Sprint Car Series, National Midget Series, and Traxxas TORC Series. USAC racers are expected to use about 2.5 million gallons of the ethanol racing fuel annually. According to ICM, research this year on Ignite E90 ethanol fuel will provide performance data for a consistent ethanol blend, a standard expected by racing industry experts. ICM anticipates the expansion of Ignite Racing Fuel into additional racing series in 2012 and 2013.

Dan Schwartzkopf of ICM, former owner of Renova Racing’s six-car team, will be offering his past experiences, knowledge, and contacts to the effort. “ICM views the Ignite Fuel/USAC agreement as a valuable platform to provide education about the superior performance and low emissions of ethanol, both on track and off,” Schwartzkopf said.

Schwartzkopf has a 20-year, six-series racing background, including helping other racing series adopt the use ethanol, and he will lend his experience to the ICM team providing technical data and expertise to Ignite Fuel.

Domestic Fuel interviewed Schwartzkopf a couple of times in the early years of the Indy series switch to ethanol. You can listen to them here and here.

U.S. Auto Club Endorses Ethanol

The U.S. Auto Club (USAC) made a surprise announcement at the Lucas Oil Raceway last week when they announced they are switching to “Ignite High Performance Ethanol,” an ethanol racing blend distributed by National Biofuels Distribution (NBD). USAC President & CEO Kevin Miller said during his presentation that his organization is “excited to take this direction toward environmentally-friendly fuel usage.”

Ignite High Performance Ethanol has proven during tests to have a 40 percent reduction in consumption, which translates to savings for our participants, while not compromising performance,” continued Miller. “It’s great to have an alternative which not only serves the environment but also the budgets of our competitors and offers a safer racing atmosphere.”

Several years ago NBD began offering ethanol racing blends in response to increased demand for the fuel. It’s been used on IndyCar Series’ tracks, American Le Mans Series’ courses, drag strips and more and as it demonstrated success word spread and popularity grew. In 2010, Ignite High Performance Ethanol became the title sponsor of the ARCA West Champion Stock Car Series with distribution in 42 states.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with USAC on this fuel produced by Indiana farmers,” said Jay Berry, NBD co-founder and vice president.  “I’m confident that their drivers will like the added power, increased mileage and safety. And we’re looking forward to showing the performance side of ethanol as a high-performance fuel, rather than just as an additive.”

The ethanol racing fuel is available in three blends – E98 and 108 and 114 octane.

Berry added, “Surprisingly, many people either still don’t know much about ethanol or have misconceptions about it. With USAC tracks spread all over the country, this will really give us a ‘grassroots’ opportunity to educate people what ethanol can do from a purely performance standpoint, which is a story that really needs to be told.”

Racing Boats on Ethanol

All of the more than 50 boats that raced in this past weekend’s National Boat Racing Association (NBRA) “Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Nationals” had to prove they were using 10 percent ethanol fuel in order to compete for prize money in the race sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

“We have fuel testing to make sure we’re running ethanol because of the contingency prize money,” said NBRA president Dan Crummett. “We are testing all the fuel before the race and then the top three entries in any class are tested when they come in to make sure they are running ethanol.”

The simple fuel test is done with a vial marketed by Mercury Marine that uses water to allow the ethanol to come out of suspension with the fuel to be measured. Most of the racing fuel is purchased at local gas stations since regular unleaded in most areas contains 10 percent ethanol.

The NBRA races include a number of different classes with light, single person boats than run as fast as 96 miles per hour. “We race stock and modified outboards with hydroplanes and runabouts,” said Crummett. Ethanol is a sponsor for all the NBRA races being held around the country this year to show its performance in marine engines. Crummett says most of the issues that boaters experience when using ethanol-blended fuel are maintenance related. “Any fuel will degrade over not a long period of time once the oil is mixed in it,” he says, which is why it’s so important for boaters to avoid leaving fuel in the tank for an extended time without running the engine.

Listen to my interview with Dan Crummett here and watch him demonstrate the ethanol test in the video below: NBRA President Dan Crummett

See photos from the race here: NBRA Ethanol Boat Race

American Ethanol Car Driver Wins Truck Race

American Ethanol will dominate the Kansas Speedway track on Sunday, but the driver who will pilot the American Ethanol car during the the Sprint Cup Series STP 400 race dominated the track on Saturday, winning his first Camping World Truck Series race of the season.

The win was a big deal for Clint Bowyer, who is from Emporia, Kan., as it was his first NASCAR national-series victory in his home state.

“This place means a lot to me. I watched this place being built. I dreamed of being able to race here in anything, and to be able to roll into victory lane … is pretty cool.” Bowyer, however, has unfinished business at his home track. “I want to win a Cup race here bad,” said Bowyer, who will start 27th in Sunday’s STP 400 Cup event.

Just like the Nationwide and Sprint Cup, ethanol is part of the NASCAR truck series, as all vehicles are fueled with Sunoco Green E15. In addition, American Ethanol, which is a partnership between Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association, provides weekly prize money for eligible competitors in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series based on finishing position.

On Sunday, race fans will see the American Ethanol logo and paint scheme on Clint Bowyer’s No. 33 Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series STP 400, as well as the American Ethanol logo along the backstretch wall of the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway that will draw attention to the partnership between ethanol and NASCAR.

“It’s truly an honor to have American Ethanol on the No. 33 Chevrolet this weekend,” said Bowyer. “Born and raised in Kansas, I support American farmers as they strive to develop energy independence for our country and I look forward to representing American Ethanol both on and off the track this weekend at Kansas Speedway.”

Domestic Fuel has been providing on-site coverage of the Nationwide Series STP 300 at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend in Illinois and will be covering the Kansas race as well.

NASCAR Family Farmers/Marquis Energy Car Update

This is why we’re out here at NASCAR this weekend. Every car on the track here at Chicagoland Speedway and tomorrow at Kansas Speedway will be sporting the American Ethanol name around their gas cap. A fifteen percent blend of ethanol will be fueling these cars to help show consumers that the fuel is perfectly safe in their cars and is also good for performance.

It’s race day here in Joliet. I’ll be attending the Illinois Corn Growers/Iowa Soybean Association hospitality area midday and then back inside the track for the afternoon’s activities. I’ll be posting some interviews and final results too. The STP 300 doesn’t start until 7pm tonight!

Although ethanol is in all these cars I’m paying special attention to Kenny Wallace in the #09 Family Farmers/Marquis Energy car. In the final practice last night he had the best 10 consecutive lap average speed of 169.577 mph. Not bad Kenny. We wish you and all the drivers a safe race today.

STP 300 Nationwide Series NASCAR Weekend Photos

American Ethanol Heads to Texas

American Ethanol is heading to Texas this weekend for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway on April 8th beginning at 8:30 pm EST on ESPN2. While the ethanol logo is on all the race cars, eyes will be on the No. 9 Toyota Camry driven by Kenny Wallace, who is sponsored for the season by the ethanol industry in partnership with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

“It is an honor to be chosen as an American Ethanol spokesperson,” said Wallace who drives for RAB Racing. “I am very passionate about this subject and excited to spread true knowledge about American Ethanol throughout the United States. I’m proud and excited to go to Texas with new sponsor American Ethanol, and most of all I’m looking forward to getting my 10th NASCAR Nationwide Series win.”

During the entire 2011 season, all three of NASCAR’s national touring series will be racing on Sunoco Green E15, a blend of 15 percent corn-based ethanol and 85 percent racing fuel.

NCGA President Bart Schott noted, “Having Wallace as the driver is a great benefit. The RAB Racing team is racing very competitively this season and they are proving to be great proponents for Sunoco Green E15. Kenny understands the important economic and environmental contributions of the nation’s ethanol producers and family corn farmers. As a passionate and media-savvy spokesman, he is helping us reach millions of driving consumers with a positive message about domestic ethanol.”

As gas prices continue to rise across the nation, the ethanol industry stresses that ethanol is a commercially-viable alternative that America currently has to strengthen the nation’s energy independence. Studies have shown that for every $1 sent overseas for oil, $1.55 leaves the U.S. economy. The industry is using NASCAR as a platform to expose 80 million people to the benefits of ethanol while linking millions of American farmers with the sport of NASCAR.

“We’re proud that American Ethanol’s partnership with the RAB Racing team will help educate NASCAR fans about ethanol’s benefits for our nation’s environment, economy, and energy security,” concluded Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “There’s no sport more American than NASCAR and there’s no fuel more American than ethanol.”

Kenny Wallace & RAB Racing Partner With American Ethanol

American Ethanol has officially become an associate sponsor of RAB Racing with Brack Maggard. The No. 09 Toyota Camry driven by Kenny Wallace will feature the American Ethanol logo on the hood of its car for the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide season beginning this weekend with the Feb. 26, BASHAS’ SUPERMARKETS 200 race at the Phoenix International Raceway. In Phoenix the American Ethanol logo will be displayed alongside “Family Farmers.” Family Farmers is a multi-state coalition of farmers and agribusiness that will be sponsoring Wallace and the No. 9 can in five Nationwide races this season.

“Getting to know the hard working family farmers of this country has been a fantastic experience for me,” Wallace said. “I’m so excited to be a spokesperson for them, sharing true knowledge about what they do and the products and food that are made from their crops. The best part is that I’ve come to understand that our nation’s farmers are just like you and me. They want what’s best for their families, just like us. And like me as a NASCAR driver, they are responsible for their own work and take that responsibility very seriously. I’m humbled that they’ve chosen me to be an advocate for them with dedicated racing fans.”

The agricultural and ethanol industry joined together with NASCAR to further the message of ethanol’s benefits – a message that is expected to reach more than 80 million people throughout the season.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kenny Wallace as an official spokesman for American Ethanol on behalf of America’s green, clean alternative fuel component. Kenny is one of the most visible and popular drivers in Nationwide,” said Bart Schott, National Corn Growers Association president. “He comes from Missouri and truly appreciates the important role of corn farmers in providing consumers with a domestic fuel choice.”

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy added, “RAB Racing with Brack Maggard and Kenny Wallace are great additions to the American Ethanol team. His enthusiasm for ethanol is obvious so he is a great spokesperson to carry ethanol’s positive messages of creating American jobs, cleaner air, and strengthening our national security by making our nation more energy independent.”