New Legislation Would Require Half of US New LDVs in 2012 to be Alcohol Flex-Fuel, 80% by 2015

Posted on March 19, 2009. Filed under: Advanced Biofuel, Field-to-Pump | Tags: , , , , |

New Legislation Would Require Half of US New LDVs in 2012 to be Alcohol Flex-Fuel, 80% by 2015

Green Car Congress

18 March 2009


A bipartisan group of US legislators, led by Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17), have introduced legislation that would require half of all light-duty vehicles (LDVs) made or sold in America by 2012, and 80% by 2015, to be “fuel choice-enabling” vehicles. These fuel choice-enabling vehicles are defined as flexible fuel vehicles capable of running on gasoline and on up to 85% alcohol-gasoline blends such as E85 or M85, as well as diesel vehicles warranted by its manufacturer to operate on biodiesel.

The legislation would allow exemptions for manufacturers under certain conditions, including if the application of the fuel-choice enabling technology to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) caused such vehicles to fail to meet state air quality requirements.

Mid-range ethanol blends
In addition to encouraging the implementation of a more widespread E85 fueling infrastructure, the high percentage of flex-fuel cars in the new vehicle fleet would also make it simpler to move to support for mid-range ethanol blends, an expansion that is being proposed to the EPA as well as in Congress. By definition, the flex-fuel vehicles can handle any blend level up to 85%.
For example, Coleman Jones, Biofuels Implementation Manager at GM, notes that GM will not try to respond to the potential introduction of mid-range ethanol blends—especially in the absence of the requisite durability testing—by developing a range of systems.
We only have two hardware sets and two software sets (E10 and E85). We should have 100% flex fuel vehicles—if you do, you sort of answer the issue of ethanol blends, “ Jones says.
As far as older and non-flex fuel vehicles are concerned, the warranty terms are clear, Jones notes. No mid-level blend support.

The Open Fuel Standards Act (H.R. 1476) is co-sponsored by Representatives Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD-6), Bob Inglis (R-SC-4), Steve Israel (D-NY-2), and Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13).

At Congressional hearings in December, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler committed to making 50% of their new cars flex fuel vehicles by 2012.

The distribution system necessary for alcohol fuels will develop if a substantial amount of US vehicles are equipped for using them, suggested Congressman Bartlett, noting that the establishment of such a vehicle fleet and distribution system would provide a large market that would mobilize private resources to substantially advance the technology and expand the production of alcohol fuels, both in the United States and abroad.

Separately, Bartlett spoke at the US Department of Energy’s Biomass 2009 conference, warning against widespread unrealistic expectations and unsustainable mandates by Congress for biofuels under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) expanded in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).

Congressman Bartlett said that conservation and energy efficiency are among five steps of an achievable strategy to a sustainable energy future. The others are to diversify and transition from fossil-fuels to alternative and renewable energy sources; to increase the proportion of domestic energy sources; and to reduce negative environmental impacts of energy production and consumption.



About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.


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    Renergie created “field-to-pump," a unique strategy to locally produce and market advanced biofuel (“non-corn fuel ethanol”) via a network of small advanced biofuel manufacturing facilities. The purpose of “field-to-pump” is to maximize rural development and job creation while minimizing feedstock supply risk and the burden on local water supplies.


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