Pea Green Fuel

Cindy Zimmerman

ARSUSDA research scientists are exploring the possibility of using peas to make ethanol. According to this Agricultural Research Service story, the research project got started because farmers who grow field peas were looking for a way to add value to their crop.

Most peas grown in the northern United States and elsewhere are fed whole to animals as a rich source of protein. The remainder is sold for human consumption as split peas. Besides protein, field peas also contain lots of starch. The farmers thought they might earn more if the crop’s starch could be used to make ethanol for fuel, while still using the leftover protein as high-value feed for animals.

So the scientists went to work separating out the pea starch and making it into ethanol and they found that it “produced somewhat less ethanol than corn (1.7 gallons per bushel versus 2.8), because the legume had less starch to begin with. But the pea starch fermented just as easily as corn starch. Potentially, the high yield of enriched protein, together with the fermentation leftovers, could be sold as livestock feed.”


NEVC: E85 Price Should Reflect Fuel Economy

Cindy Zimmerman

NEVC The World Peace Herald ran this UPI story that I have not seen anywhere else. It mainly focuses on E85 and features comments from National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition executive director Phil Lampert. I thought one of the more interesting parts of the article was addressing the lower fuel economy of E85 and Lampert’s comments regarding that.

According to the Web site, 35 FFV’s exist in 2006 models. Each model receives less fuel economy in the ethanol version. For example, the popular eight-cylinder Ford Crown Victoria sedan is estimated to get 25 mpg on the highway with regular unleaded, but 18 mpg as a FFV. This is a 28 percent drop in gas mileage.
Lampert told United Press International it is necessary to account for this drop in fuel economy with a subsequent drop in price per gallon of fuel to entice users to buy. The price reconfiguration should be relative to the change in fuel economy, he added. For example, with the Ford Crown Victoria receiving 28 percent fewer mpg, the price per gallon of ethanol-blended fuel should be 28 percent cheaper.

Ethanol, Flex Fuel Vehicles

Ethanol Community ‘Overwhelmed’ By Support For Dana

Cindy Zimmerman

EPIC Staff and board members of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council spent Monday fielding media inquiries, taking condolence messages and dealing with their own personal grief over the death of Team Ethanol driver Paul Dana Sunday. Plans have been made for a memorial service this Thursday that will include the race community and Team Ethanol supporters. The service is being held in St. Petersburg, the site of the Honda Grand Prix on Sunday.
In a message to ethanol industry members, EPIC staff member Steve Rust wrote:

We’re overwhelmed by the response from all of our members and supporters wishing to do something in honor of Paul and his efforts. We are looking for ways to honor Paul for his commitment and determination to bring the benefits of ethanol to the American people. We are asking that everyone be patient and give us an opportunity to talk with Paul’s family to do something that would truly be meaningful to Paul.

They are also waiting on direction as to where donations may be sent. Meanwhile, they ask you to pray for Paul’s family and friends who continue to struggle with this sudden loss.

EPIC, Ethanol, Indy Racing

Bright Green and Blue Day Turns Black for Team Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

In Memory of Paul Dana
Paul What a difference a day can make. If yesterday was a good day at the races for ethanol – bad doesn’t even begin to describe today. Yesterday at about this time, Chuck was on the phone with Paul Dana who was just on top of the world, happy that he had qualified ninth for the first IRL Indy Car race of the season. That was the last media interview the 30-year-old race car driver ever did, which is not a distinction we here at Domestic Fuel ever hoped to have. I spent the day today at a meeting and out of touch from home base here, so I was shocked when I got back home and Chuck told me to check the website to find out what happened. He wouldn’t even tell me, just that it was bad. I assumed it must have been a crash, but I never imagined it would have taken the life of someone we had just interviewed – someone we had come to know through our involvement with Team Ethanol. Paul died doing what he loved but our hearts are saddened by the loss of someone with such a bright future. Eternal rest grant unto him, Lord – and let the perpetual green light shine upon him. Amen.

EPIC, Ethanol, Indy Racing

Ethanol Industry Saddened By Loss of IRL Driver Paul Dana

Chuck Zimmerman

Rahal-Letterman RacingToday the Rahal-Letterman Racing team suffered a serious blow when the #17 Ethanol car was in a pre-race warmup accident and driver and ethanol champion Paul Dana died from the injuries he suffered.

“It is a black day for us, and on behalf of Rahal Letterman Racing, our sponsors and associates, our prayers and sympathy go out to the entire Dana family,”

said team co-owner Bobby Rahal, the 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner.

“This is a great tragedy. As a result, and in honor of Paul, we will not run the team’s No. 15 (with driver Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indy 500 winner) and No. 16 (with driver Danica Patrick, the 2005 Indy 500 and IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year) cars in today’s event.”

“Paul was a very special guy,” said David Vander Griend, president and CEO of ICM, a primary sponsor on the Team Ethanol car. “He demonstrated his belief in what ethanol can do for all of America through his racing. He helped us with so many things in bringing ethanol to the IndyCar Series. He will be missed tremendously. Our thoughts are with his family today.”

EPICDomestic Fuel sponsor and Ethanol Car sponsor, Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) has released a statement. You can read the full release from EPIC here (Word doc).

I also spoke with EPIC Executive Director, Tom Slunecka a few minutes ago. He is obviously still in shock over the tragedy after spending some time with Paul during the last couple days and being onsite when the accident occurred. On behalf of the EPIC staff, board and members, Tom offers his condolences to the Dana family, his friends and teammates. You can listen to Tom’s statement here: Listen to MP3 EPIC Statement (1 min MP3)

Audio, EPIC, Ethanol, Indy Racing, Racing

Tragedy At Toyota Indy 300

Chuck Zimmerman

Just before the Toyota Indy 300 got started this afternoon I found out about the tragedy this morning. Paul Dana, driver of the #17 Ethanol car for Rahal-Letterman Racing has died from injuries he suffered in a pre-race warmup crash. This is an absolute shock since I had just interviewed Paul yesterday afternoon. You can read the story on the Indy Racing League website here.

I will be speaking with Tom Slunecka, Executive Director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC)shortly and will post his statement. EPIC is a sponsor of the car that Paul Dana was driving.

Cindy and I offer our prayers for Paul, his family, the Rahal-Letterman team, EPIC and all the people affected by this tragedy. I had the honor to meet Paul and interview him several times over the last year. He is a hero in my eyes. You won’t find a better role model for what you can achieve if you work hard and stay focused. He was an untiring champion of ethanol and I can’t imagine at the moment what we’ll do without him.

I’ll have more information to post soon.

Indy Racing, Racing

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.


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.


Biodiesel, Government