Interviews From Toyota Indy 300

Cindy Zimmerman

HomesteadWe couldn’t be trackside in Homestead this weekend for the Toyota Indy 300, but as Ma Bell used to say long distance is the next best thing to being there so we got some on the phone reactions from a couple of major stakeholders in the IRL-ethanol future. One is veteran racer and team owner Bobby Rahal of Rahal Letterman Racing who says he is pleased with how his team qualified for the Sunday race. “The team has qualified well with Danica third, Buddy Rice sixth and Paul Dana ninth, which is by far the best qualifying he’s ever had and we’re very pleased for Paul and the ethanol car for that kind of qualification.”
Listen to Chuck’s 3:10 interview with Bobby here.
Another person who is watching the race this weekend is Wayne Mitchell, vice president of ethanol plant design and contruction company Fagen, Inc. Mitchell is also a board member of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council and he says there’s no better venue than the Indy Car Series to show how well ethanol performs. “I’m excited to be a part of the Indy Car Series and to have them embrace our fuel at the ten percent level and going to 100 percent next year. It’s going to give us some real visibility this year and a real opportunity to demonstrate the performance side of our fuel.”
Listen to Chuck’s 3:22 interview with Wayne here.
Keep your eye on #17 – the bright green and blue Team Ethanol car – during the race at 3:45 pm Eastern Sunday. Go Team Ethanol!

EPIC, Ethanol, Indy Racing

Good Day at the Races for Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

Indy Car All three drivers for the Rahal Letterman Racing team, sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council, qualified in the top ten for tomorrow’s Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway – the first of the IRL Indy Car Series races to use ten percent ethanol fuel. The 2005 Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick will start third in tomorrow’s race, 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice qualified for sixth, and rookie Paul Dana – driving the number 17 Team Ethanol car – qualified for ninth. Dana told us in an interview this afternoon, “It’s awesome to be qualified in the top ten in such a competitive field and it’s great for my confidence. I’m going for Rookie of the Year this year and it’s a real strong starting spot. But pay day is tomorrow.”
The top two qualifiers today broke the track’s previous qualifying record, set in 2004 by Buddy Rice, and as part of an ethanol industry-sponsored team Dana says he was pleased to see the ethanol-enhanced fuel perform well. “The cars are always going quicker year after year so it’s pretty normal to see a track record, but we’re certainly happy that ethanol could be a part of it.” Listen to Dana’s interview here.

Audio, EPIC, Ethanol, Indy Racing

Saab to introduce First Ethanol Hybrid

Cindy Zimmerman

SaabThe unveiling of the world’s first ethanol-electric hybrid car will take place next week at the Stockholm car show, according to this story from Forbes, which got the story from the online edition of Dagens Industri (DI).
Unlike the Toyota Prius which combines an electric motor with a petrol engine, Saab’s hybrid will combine an electric motor with an E85 Ethanol engine. Saab officials are not saying when the vehicle might be available for sale but it will likely be at least 2010.

Ethanol

JW Writes: EPA on Why Diesel is not Green

Cindy Zimmerman

JWI was searching a cool website by the EPA that categorizes various vehicles by their green factor, or by how efficient and clean burning their emissions are. I noticed that no diesel engines were listed among the vehicles and sent a note to ask why. This is the reply I got from the EPA.EPA

The reason why you are having trouble finding diesel vehicles is that there aren’t very many offered for sale in the U.S. Only one Mercedes Benz model and a couple of Volkswagen models have been certified to comply with EPA’s strict emission standards. Even though they may be fuel efficient, diesel vehicles have inherently higher levels of oxides of nitrogen, a lung irritant, and particulate matter, a likely carcinogen. These pollutants are particularly difficult to control in diesels, and most auto manufacturers have chosen not to produce them for sale in the U.S., since they are unable to comply with EPA’s strict “Tier 2” emission standards. Car companies are now working on improving the technology needed to control diesel pollution from vehicles, so we will likely be seeing more models in the next few years.

As they mentioned, there are some that meet the standards, and since they are only comparing gasoline versions, there’s no figures for engines burning biodiesel.
So while diesel engines weren’t that green initially, they are getting better and by burning biodiesel, you can vastly improve their environmental impact, and reduce emissions.

JW
www.mocommonsense.com

Biodiesel, Government

Ethanol To Make IRL History This Weekend

Cindy Zimmerman

EPIC indy The 2006 IRL IndyCar Series starts this weekend the Homestead Miami Speedway with tanks ten percent full of ethanol. Here’s a good story from Crash.net about the history making change and Rahal Letterman’s Team Ethanol. Includes this quote: “Team Ethanol and its key sponsors have made a significant impact on the IRL IndyCar Series in the last few years,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner and founder of Rahal Letterman Racing. “The leaders of Broin, Fagen and ICM have a vision on how they can positively affect the availability of fuel with ethanol that is a renewable resource.”

EPIC, Ethanol, Indy Racing

Hawaiian Ethanol Power Plans

Cindy Zimmerman

Heco Hawaii is still trying to figure out how to meet state government requirements for ethanol in gasoline and now the electric company wants to use it for power. The Hawaiian Electric Company, also known as HECO, made Pacific waves this week when officials announced they could use ethanol for a new power station on Oahu. According to this story in the Pacific Business Journal, “We would love to use locally produced ethanol in the new Campbell Industrial Park plant from day one of operation in 2009,” said Hawaiian Electric Co. President Mike May. Oahu Ethanol Corp., which already was preparing to produce ethanol next year, is at Campbell Industrial Park, next-door to the HECO power plant site. Oahu Ethanol President Dan KenKnight plans to produce ethanol initially from imported molasses and then get local growers to supply him with sorghum.
I have read several articles on this from Hawaii and I have to say I just don’t get it. Like this story in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, they say this “could help ethanol businesses that are just getting started in Hawaii.” Why do they need more help? The state is requiring that at least 85 percent of gasoline sold contain 10 percent ethanol, starting next month. However, there is currently NO ethanol produced in Hawaii. Seems like there is already a built-in market without the local power industry wanting to use any ethanol that is produced there and it’s not likely they can ever produce enough ethanol on the islands to meet that demand. I’m confused.

Ethanol

Biodiesel Living the Jeep Life

Cindy Zimmerman

We have a picture now to identify posts from contributing blogger JW.
JW jeepJeep has announced that their new Liberty CRD (Common-Rail Diesel) has surpassed 10,000 vehicles sold in just under 2 years on the market, doubling the estimated production. I was excited when I first heard about this vehicle, as I’ve known that a diesel engine is more efficient and powerful than their gas powered counterparts. With biodiesel becoming a popular alternative, people will continue to flock to todays more efficient diesel engines. The success of the Jeep Liberty CRD only supports that fact. Here is a link to the news release from the National Biodiesel Board.

JW
www.mocommonsense.com

Biodiesel

Thailand Government Subsidizing Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

The US is not the only country helping the ethanol industry. In Thailand, the government Energy Minstry is subsidizing “the local ethanol price in order to maintain a price difference between gasohol and premium gasoline at 1.50 baht per liter.” According to this story in the TNA English News, Although the ethanol price increases, the ministry will use the contributions given to Oil Fund to subsidize the price. The ministry reiterates that it has no policy to encourage the import of ethanol to offset local supply shortage, according to the minister.

Ethanol

Ag Secretary to Tour Northstar

Cindy Zimmerman

Northstar Minnesota ethanol is on the agenda for Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns this week. Johanns will hold a roundtable with area agriculture and agribusiness leaders in Mankato, Minnesota on Thursday morning, according to a press advisory. Then he will tour the Northstar Ethanol plant in Lake Crystal, Minnesota in the afternoon. That’s all I know about it, but I would assume he’ll be promoting the president’s alternative energy strategy – just a guess.

Ethanol, Government

Ethanol Helping Kids Breathe Easier

Cindy Zimmerman

check Sales of ethanol in Kentucky are paying for five kids to attend a special camp for children with asthma this summer. Jennie Stuart Medical Center received $5,000 dollars raised through the sale of ethanol-enriched fuel at Max Arnold & Sons’ Max Fuel during the month of February. A portion of the proceeds were also donated by local ethanol producer Commonwealth Agri-Energy, LLC. The money will be used to send five children to Camp SuperKids, which is a camp for children with moderate to severe asthma sponsored by the Kentucky Lung Association. According to a news release, Ethanol reduces tailpipe fine particulate matter (PM) emissions by up to 50 percent. These emissions pose a health threat to children, senior citizens and those with respiratory ailments. Particulate matter in the air makes it more difficult for everyone to breathe, especially those with asthma. Pictured are Philip Russo, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Max Arnold & Sons of Max Fuel Express, Mick Henderson, general manager of Commonwealth Agri-Energy and Lisa Behm, director of community relations, Jennie Stuart Medical Center

EPIC, Ethanol