Engineering students from Virginia Tech University, utilizing E85/hybrid technology, beat out teams from 16 other universities in the U.S. and Canada to win the second annual Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility competition, sponsored by the Department of Energy and General Motors last week in Mesa, Arizona. The Virginia Tech team redesigned a 2005 Chevy Equinox to utilize a split parallel hybrid that runs on E85 to edge out second-place Mississippi State University.
Texas-based Panda Energy has announced a merger and private placement to build it’s portfolio of ethanol refineries. The company release says the merger is expected to become effective this summer, subject to the satisfaction of certain requirements, and the combined entity will operate under the name of Panda Ethanol Inc. The private placement was approximately 14.9 million shares of common stock for $90 million. The proceeds from the offering will be used to help finance the ongoing construction and operation of Panda’s 100 million gallon, manure-fueled ethanol project in Hereford, Texas.
Pearson Ford Fuel Depot, the site of a Willie Nelson biodiesel promotion earlier this year during the National Biodiesel Board annual meeting in San Diego, is in the news. An AP article features Pearson as the “fuel station of the future” with its many fuel choices, including biodiesel and E85. The station also offers “compressed natural gas” along with recharging stations for people with electric cars. It is the only one in the U.S. that sells such a wide range of fuels. And it’s the only facility on the West Coast where private citizens can buy E85
Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Millennium Ethanol LLC have formed an ethanol marketing agreement, under which ADM will market all ethanol produced by Millennium Ethanol at its planned 100-million-gallon Marion, South Dakota facility, according to an ADM company release. Millennium Ethanol is owned by 914 South Dakota investors, including farmers and business people from across the state. ADM is the number one ethanol producer in the nation.
Three winners of this year’s White House Closing the Circle Awards use a 20 percent biodiesel blend (B20) to help them achieve outstanding environmental track records. They are the Department of Defense, Naval Station Great Lakes; the Department of Energy Green Fleet Team and the U.S. Postal Service. According to a National Biodiesel Board release, 16 winners and 11 honorable mentions were selected from nearly 200 nominations in the areas of environmental management systems; pollution prevention; recycling; green product purchasing; alternative fuels; sustainable building and electronics stewardship.
Jeff Simmons and the Ethanol Indy car started 15th finished 15th in the Learjet Bombadier 500 Saturday night in Fort Worth, TX – a nice clean race with only two cars out and no accidents. See the full race results at WhoWon.com. It was just nice to see the Ethanol car cross the finish line. Prior to the event, the Corn Producers Association of Texas and National Corn Growers Association joined the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council and Indy Racing League to help introduce ethanol to the Dallas area. According to an NCGA release, the groups held an ethanol promotion at a 7-Eleven station, which sold 10 percent ethanol blends (E-10) for $2.20 per gallon, 60 cents off the regular price. IRL drivers Tony Kanaan and Jeff Simmons and other volunteers pumped more than 2,200 gallons of the ethanol-blended fuel in two hours.
A new turn-key solution to deliver enough ethanol to supply the daily needs of the Dallas/Fort Worth market was announced recently by BNSF Railway Company and Musket Corporation, a privately owned petroleum and petroleum products wholesaler. According to a release, Beginning June 23, ethanol will be transported by rail from the Midwest and other production areas to a BNSF terminal at the Mark IV industrial area in north Fort Worth where Musket will transload the ethanol directly into trucks for delivery by Musket’s sister company, Gemini Motor Transport, to Dallas/Fort Worth ethanol storage and blending facilities.
Iowa State University is using some high technology to try and boost the release rates of corn sugars for ethanol production. According to an ISU release, a team of Iowa State researchers has demonstrated that pre-treating milled corn with ultrasonics can break the corn pieces into even finer particles. That exposes more of the corn’s starch to the enzymes that convert starch to simple sugars. The research team also plans to see if ultrasonics releases some sugars from the fibrous, cellulosic material in corn.
The University of Idaho is holding a one-day crash course in biodiesel June 15 in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. Among the topics are Growing Oilseeds in the Pacific Northwest, Biodiesel Production Practices, and Biodiesel Economics. The course is just $75. More information available here.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson is planning a biofuels conference to bring together the various elements critical to successful alternative energy programs to be held August 31 through September 1 in Orlando. According to an agency release, the event will serve as a forum for researchers, industry representatives and policymakers to discuss the production, distribution and use of biofuels, particularly ethanol, in Florida. The conference comes on the heels of the Florida Legislature passing comprehensive energy legislation, much of which is directed toward promoting renewable energy and providing a number of grants and incentives programs.