Corn Grower & Shop Manager

Chuck Zimmerman

Grand Island Welcome CrewThe Grand Island/Hall County Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomed us to our fuel stop yesterday with bottled water and candy bars. Thank you.

I interviewed the Travel Center of America shop manager, Bill Buettner (left) and found out that he’s also a corn grower and ethanol enthusiast.

Bill says that since they’ve labelled their pumps and blended ethanol he hasn’t really had much feedback from customers. He assumes that’s because consumers accept it more now than they used to.

Here’s my interview with Bill: Listen to MP3 Bill Buettner Interview (2 min MP3)

Domestic Fuel coverage and participation in the AASHTO Interstate 50th Convoy is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

Audio, Ethanol, Interstate Highway

North Platte Press Conference

Chuck Zimmerman

North Platte News ConferenceOur first stop on the highway Wednesday was North Platte, NE. Here’s our stage at the press conference at the truck weigh station.

One of the speakers was local transportation enthusiast, Eric Seacrest. Eric describes the original convoy trip in 1919 by Lt. Col. Eisenhower. He also talks about the challenges and opportunities presented by the interstate system in Nebraska. One of those challenges is related to the truck traffic and the strain they put on the highway.

Listen to Eric here: Listen to MP3 Eric Seacrest Remarks (8 min MP3)

When I met Eric after the press conference he said he was glad to see ethanol represented since he’s an investor in a local ethanol plant.

Domestic Fuel coverage and participation in the AASHTO Interstate 50th Convoy is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

Audio, Interstate Highway

Follow The Leader

Chuck Zimmerman

Follow The LeaderIt has been a long day on the interstate. I have some more to post for you but it’s too late at this point. This picture shows how we follow the leader in the convoy. The truck I’m driving is in the reflection of the truck in front of me.

A group of us broke away today to swing through Denver and Kansas City before re-joining us in Iowa.

Tomorrow we’ll be at events in Omaha before heading on over to Des Moines on Friday.
Domestic Fuel coverage and participation in the AASHTO Interstate 50th Convoy is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

Interstate Highway

Ethanol Car Wins European Fuel Efficiency Contest

Cindy Zimmerman

Eco-Car A group of French high school students proved that ethanol can be fuel-efficient. According to Environment News Service, an ethanol powered car engineered by French high school students has achieved the best fuel efficiency at the European Shell Eco-marathon 2006, winning the race at the Nogaro auto racing circuit in southwest France. It also took the Climate Friendly prize for producing the least greenhouse gas emissions in the process. The futuristic little car beat out the favored hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to get the energy consumption equivalent to traveling 2,885 kilometres (1,792 miles) on a single litre of gasoline, equivalent to 8,136 miles per gallon.

Ethanol

Manure Powered Ethanol Production

Cindy Zimmerman

Bion An ethanol facility powered by renewable energy from dairy waste is planned for a large Indiana dairy farm. Bion Environmental Technologies and Fair Oaks Dairy Farms have announced a joint venture that will enable environmentally sustainable expansion of animal agriculture in concert with ethanol production. According to the news release, Bion’s technology platform provides sufficient renewable energy from the associated animal waste stream to produce ethanol absent any outside fuel source such as natural gas or coal, while it directly addresses the growing long-term risk to distiller grains revenues as those markets become increasingly saturated by the continued expansion of U.S. ethanol production.
That’s a pretty technical way of saying they intend to use cow manure to generate the power required for ethanol production. Bion’s research indicates they can create sufficient renewable energy to support one million gallons of ethanol for every 1,000 dairy cows The joint venture will start with a research center to determine the economic and environmental sustainability of utilizing sand bedding in conjunction with Bion’s technology platform. Based upon that evaluation, Stage Two will include a Bion treatment system for Fair Oaks’ dairy herd and potentially other local dairy herds, along with an ethanol plant of a size to be determined by the number of participating dairy animals.

Ethanol

Two Ethanol Companies Merge

Cindy Zimmerman

Alternative Energy Sources, Inc. has completed a stock-to-stock merger with Beemer Energy, led by CEO Mark A. Beemer and Chief Operating Officer Lee Blank, both former executives of Archer Daniels Midland Company, the largest producer of ethanol. According to a news release, Beemer is a privately held Delaware corporation engaged in the development of “green-field” ethanol sites, the conversion of existing industrial facilities to ethanol production and the management of ethanol businesses. The merger resulted in Beemer Energy becoming a publicly traded company, and Beemer’s management and board of directors have assumed operational control of Alternative Energy. Beemer and Blank bring extensive management and leadership abilities to Alternative Energy Sources.

Ethanol

Then And Now

Chuck Zimmerman

FFV & Model AJust before we got to Cheyenne this afternoon a group of old model cars joined our caravan.

Here’s the GM flex fuel E85 Avalanche next to a 1928 Leatherback Model A Ford. Quite a contrast on this convoy stop.

Pictured are Bill Newman, Wyoming Ethanol and Lloyd Harris, Oak Spokes Antique Auto Club.

Domestic Fuel coverage and participation in the AASHTO Interstate 50th Convoy is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

Ethanol, Interstate Highway

Meet Merrill Eisenhower Atwater

Chuck Zimmerman

Dan & MerrillTravelling with the convoy is Merrill Eisenhower Atwater (right), great grandson of President Dwight Eisenhower. Here he’s talking with transportation author, Dan McNichol.

Getting to know Merrill, a fellow Missourian, has been one of the treats on this trip. I finally got to interview him this evening. He’ll be taking a “swing” route with a small group from the convoy through Denver and Kansas City tomorrow while the main convoy moves into Nebraska.

Merrill has political aspirations and judging by what I’ve seen and heard he’s going to be a very successful politician. He’s here not just because of his connection to the man who is credited with creating the Interstate Highway System but because he believes more attention needs to be placed on it and that too many people take it for granted.

Hear more from Merrill: Listen to MP3 Merrill Eisenhower Atwater Interview (5 min MP3)

Merrill is one of the people blogging the convoy trip. You can find a link to his blog here.

Domestic Fuel coverage and participation in the AASHTO Interstate 50th Convoy is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

Audio, Interstate Highway

Dan McNichol On Eisenhower

Chuck Zimmerman

Dan McNicholAt the Interstate Perspectives symposium in Cheyenne, noted transportation author, Dan McNichol, who is a convoy participant and driver, spoke to the crowd.

Dan talked about President Eisenhower and how and why he worked so hard to create a cross country highway system. To find out how entertaining Dan can be you can watch a portion of his presentation here: Watch wmv file Dan McNichol Speaks (3 min WMV)

Domestic Fuel coverage and participation in the AASHTO Interstate 50th Convoy is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

Interstate Highway, Video