Cellulosic Ethanol to Premiere at Sebring
KL Process Design Group to Supply Cellulosic Ethanol to American Le Mans Series Sebring, Fla. (January 29, 2008) – In a technological breakthrough in both the renewable fuels arena and racing, KL Process Design Group (KL) of Rapid City, SD, will supply the American Le Mans Series with cellulosic E85 racing ethanol for the 2008 season. The fuel, produced from waste wood, will be used for the first time during the season opener — Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 15, 2008. Consumer E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Cellulosic ethanol is produced from biomass such as wood waste, switchgrass or citrus. Corvette Racing will be the first team to use the cellulosic-based flex-fuel ethanol in competition.
“This is a groundbreaking achievement not only in motorsports, but also in the drive to relevant fuel technologies,” said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series.
“The American Le Mans Series was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the only motorsports entity to meet the criteria for ‘green racing’. Introducing cellulosic E85 racing ethanol to our series with one of our most noted championship teams does nothing but reinforce our commitment to be the global leader in green racing.”
The trend toward renewable fuels in racing has been driven in large part by the Omaha, Neb.- based Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC). Through the marketing partnership with EPIC, the American Le Mans Series will drive awareness of ethanol among consumers through its use of both E10 and E85 ethanol.
“This is an exciting time for the ethanol industry,” said Reece Nanfito, senior director of marketing for EPIC. “Consumers want more choices at the pump, and although challenges remain, cellulosic ethanol is no longer a dream, but a reality.”
- More - The plant providing the fuel is located one mile south of Upton, Wyo., and is the first commercially operational cellulosic ethanol facility in the United States. The pioneering plant is the result of six years of development efforts between KL and local universities.
“Renewable energy from cellulosic feedstock has often been viewed as the silver bullet in our nation’s efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said VP of Business Development for KL Process Design Group, Tom Slunecka. “There remains much work to be done, but this is a significant step in the process.”
Cellulose is the primary structural component of green plants, making up the primary cell wall.
Special enzymes break down cellulose in biomass materials and turn it into sugars that are then fermented and processed into cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol, like grain-based ethanol, is a renewable fuel source that can be used in today’s cars.
According to a U.S. Department of Energy study conducted by the Argonne Laboratories of the University of Chicago, one of the benefits of cellulosic ethanol is that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 85 percent over reformulated gasoline. Cellulosic ethanol also yields roughly 80 percent more energy than is required to grow and convert it.
There will be at least two automotive manufacturers that will run cellulosic E85 racing ethanol during the 2008 season – Corvette Racing and Aston Martin Racing.