Oct 20, 2008

Lots of new FlexFuels in 2009

I was just checking out the list of FlexFuel Vehicles (FFV) for model year 2009 and I have to give some big kudos to Chevy. Out of the 16 engine options they are offering, 13 are FFVs.

Vehicles that have FFV engines can use any ethanol blend of up to 85% ethanol, automatically adjusting engine timing to accomodate the fuel blend. Ethanol is much cleaner burning; a car running on E85 will decrease its Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions by about 41%. (This number takes into account the fact that there is less energy in a gallon of ethanol than in a gallon of pure gasoline, meaning you will use more ethanol to go the same distance.) 85% Ethanol is generally the cheapest fuel around; if you are an Oregon resident, you also qualify for a $0.50 / gallon tax credit!

Historically, most FFVs have not been labeled as such - especially if you drive an American made vehicle, you might have an FFV and not even know it. Check out a list of all FlexFuel Vehicles at http://www.e85fuel.com/e85101/flexfuelvehicles.php.

A list of all SeQuential E85 Ethanol pumps: http://www.sqbiofuels.com/locations.htm

More info on the Oregon Tax credit: http://www.sqbiofuels.com/tax_credit.html

Oct 10, 2008

High blends of biodiesel in newer vehicles

Concerns have been raised about using B99 Biodiesel in cars model years 2007 and beyond. SeQuential is researching these concerns and will update you as we learn more. In the mean time, if you are uncomfortable using a high-blend biodiesel, consider using a lower blend of biodiesel such as B5 or B20.

Oct 9, 2008

Cold weather is here: keep your vehicle on line!

It is time, once more, to switch to a lower blend of biodiesel.

For those of us who have been running B99 biodiesel thru the warmer months, now is the time to add some petroleum diesel to our fuel tanks to make sure there are no gelling problems.

Pure biodiesel will gel at colder temperatures; if you are having trouble starting your car in the morning, add some petroleum diesel to your fuel tank and let it mix in there. At the warmest part of the day, start up your car and then let it idle for a while.

SeQuential's recommendations are as follows:

45˚F, start blending with petroleum diesel

By the time temperatures reach 32F, you should be using 50% BIODIESEL and 50% diesel #2.

When temperatures get to 20F, you should be using 20% BIODIESEL and 80% diesel #2.

20% ethanol for every gas car?

The Department of Energy released a report today with their initial findings on a project to identify the effects of higher blends of ethanol in engines not designed for the fuel.

Vehicle results include the following when E15 and E20 were compared with traditional gasoline:

  • Tailpipe emissions were similar;
  • Under normal operations, catalyst temperatures in the 13 cars were largely unchanged;
  • When tested under full-throttle conditions, about half of the cars exhibited slightly increased catalyst temperatures with E15 and E20, compared to traditional gasoline; and,
  • Based on informal observations during testing, drivability was unchanged.
It is a little confusing that tailpipe emissions were similar. From research I've seen, 10% Ethanol blended in with gasoline decrease carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by about 5%. E85 Flex Fuel (85% ethanol) decreases CO2 by about 41%.

It will be interesting to see where this research leads - bringing more ethanol into the fuel supply would decrease overall mileage, but it would decrease dependence on foreign oil as well.

Oct 2, 2008

Camelina approved for feed in Oregon

Good news on the better fuel front: the Oregon Department of Agriculture approved Camelina meal for cattle and hog feed. This opens the door for Camelina, an oilseed that grows with little to no water or fertilizer in poor soil, to be produced more widely for biodiesel production in Oregon.

Camelina meal is what is left over after seeds are crushed for oil; the ODA ruling means that now farmers can sell all parts of the seeds, making it worthwhile for them to grow on their marginal lands.