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Celebrate Earth Week: Take a Look under the Hood of Advanced Biofuels USA’s E85 Retrofitted 2002 Ford Focus

Agriculture, Business News/Analysis, Deliver Dispense, Federal Agency, Feedstocks, grants, Infrastructure, Maryland, Not Agriculture, Original Writing, Opinions Advanced Biofuels USA, Sustainability, Virginia, West Virginia, What You Can Do
April 23, 2019

by Joanne Ivancic* (Advanced Biofuels USA)  You can reduce your travel carbon footprint without waiting for electric cars to be affordable, available, and running on renewable electricity with fair trade batteries.

Bob Kozak near the Appalachian Trail headquarters giving an audio tour of the E85 retrofitted 2002 Ford Focus.

Recently, Advanced Biofuels USA co-founder and Treasurer, Bob Kozak and I have had two opportunities to take people on a tour “under the hood” of a 2002 Ford Focus retrofitted to use E85, 85% renewable transportation fuel, to explain how — in West Virginia and Maryland.

Along the C&O Canal and Appalachian Trail: Part of Earthwalk

In late March, we met up with Jenny Carrington who had recently started Earthwalk 2019 from Delaware to California highlighting climate change mitigation and effects along the way.  Her video of our “under the hood” tour is here.

Starting with a quick summary of the purpose of Advanced Biofuels USA, the video moves to a detailed description of the working of the Fuel Flex International kit that enables the computer of the Focus to adapt to high octane/high ethanol fuel blends such as E85.   Watch and learn.

Jenny Carrington setting up video shoot.

As part of her Earthwalk, Carrington wants to share how people can decrease the damage they do to the earth right now in every day ways.

The message we shared via this video is that people don’t have to wait to be able to afford an electric vehicle, don’t have to wait for that electricity to be non-fossil based and renewable, don’t have to wait for “fair trade” quality batteries.

They can improve their carbon footprint now.

 

 

From left: Maryland Energy Administration’s Greg Williams, Royal Farms’ Tom Ruszin, Growth Energy’s Emily Skor and Maryland Grain Producers’ Chip Bowling get ready to cut the ribbon for the E85 Flex Fuel pump.

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony to Open Royal Farms E85 and E15 pumps in Maryland

Today, as part of Earth Week, we reiterated that message, attending Royal Farms Grand Opening of the E85 Flex Fuel and Regular 88 (E15) pumps at their National Harbor location overlooking the Potomac River’s Wilson Bridge along I-495 (The Beltway).

Dignitaries from US Department of Agriculture, Maryland Energy Administration, Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, Protec Fuels, Virginia Clean Cities, Growth Energy and others responsible for achieving the goal of significantly increasing the availability of renewable transportation fuels in Maryland and Virginia delivered heart-felt comments to mark the occasion, cutting ribbons to officially open the Unleaded 88 and E85 Flex Fuel pumps.

Royal Farms’ Environmental & Fuel Leader, Tom Ruszin explained that Royal Farms has been installing E85 and E15 pumps in other locations; with the Maryland-based company’s sustainability efforts dating to 2008.

Growth Energy Executive Director, Emily Skor delights in the opening of a high ethanol blend station in the DC area.

He explained that this includes building all new stores to meet LEED certification requirements, sustainability education for staff, and recycling waste cooking oil into biodiesel. While the programs have at times added cost and complexity to projects, the company’s has continued this investment.

Ruszin noted that to date, cleaner ethanol fuels have already displaced enough gasoline to cut greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of planting more than 54,000 trees and letting them grow for ten years.

The National Harbor location is the 12th Royal Farms store in Maryland or Virginia to introduce renewable fuels with Protec, a company providing renewable fuels from Florida to Maryland, with more anticipated in the future.

Growth Energy Executive Director, Emily Skor delighted in helping to celebrate the opening of high ethanol blend pumps in the DC area.  Speaking not only in her official capacity, but also, she said, personally and for soccer moms everywhere, she appreciates having more options to buy and use renewable transportation fuel.

2002 Ford Focus with elements of E85 retrofit labeled.

Chip Bowling, representing the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, noted the importance of transitioning to renewable, agriculture-based fuel to benefit the environment.  He assured everyone that the grain farmers in Maryland were fully supportive of increasing ethanol use and expanding availability for renewable fuels.

Protec Fuel, represented by Steve Walk, supplies renewable fuel up and down the eastern seaboard.  Maryland is the northern-most extent of their work.  Over the past decade or more, Walk has been instrumental in making sure the driving public has options to decrease their carbon footprint today in as many convenient locations as possible. 

Walk recognized the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) and Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board’s instrumental investment in growing ethanol availability in the state, with part of that investment coming through the MEA’s Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Program (AFIP).

Where the rubber meets the road, these people are helping others achieve their sustainability goals.  This is where reality meets the Green New Deal and succeeds.

“Under the Hood” Tours

While enjoying summer-like sunshine and Royal Farms’ delicious specialty, fresh (never frozen) fried chicken (and knowing that the frying oil eventually also becomes renewable fuel–biodiesel), many, including USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator, Richard Fordyce,  put their heads under the hood of the retrofitted Ford Focus for a guided tour.  

Bob Kozak (left) gives USDA’s Richard Fordyce details about the E85 retrofit.

Fordyce, in his formal remarks, recalled his life as a Missouri farmer and FSA state director and his work to increase renewable fuel availability–first in his home state and now throughout the nation.  Fordyce has been involved with biofuels from seed to wheel and through all the value chain steps in between.   We were happy to share with him some more hand-on experiences.

The  E85 Retrofit

This retrofit demonstrates that while the US Environmental Protection Agency approves use of 15 percent ethanol fuel in vehicles newer than 2001, it is possible to do better than that to reduce a vehicle’s carbon footprint. 

And, being better to the earth does not have to be a punishment. You can also be better to your wallet and your car.  Usually priced significantly below regular gasoline, high ethanol blends also help save money and give vehicles improved performance by using higher ethanol/high octane fuels.  With the first tankfuls of E85 flex fuel, you also clean out the fuel system

Tom Ruszin and Bob Kozak fuel up the Focus from the new E85 pump.

That was certainly true with this 2002 Ford Focus.  I am not a “car guy” and could tell right away with the first full tanks of E85 that the car “enjoyed” climbing the hills in Maryland and Pennsylvania on the way to visit family in Ohio. Regular gasoline just doesn’t give the same pep, the same feel. See below for links to other articles in this series.

On the other hand, there are flex fuel vehicles, designed to use fuels up to E85 (85% ethanol) from the very beginning.

But many FFV owners don’t know that they have FFVs and/or don’t travel near E85 stations.  With E85 stations, such as the new Royal Farms one, often located near freeway ramps, there’s no excuse to not treat your FFV to the fuel it was designed to use.

With blends over 30%, you might notice a bit less mileage, but any financial effect is often a wash due to the lower price of the high octane/high ethanol blend.

And, you can also appreciate that the fuel dollars you put in that pump are staying at home pumping up the US economy while benefiting the environment.

Learn More

You don’t have an FFV and want to use E85?  Take the Earthwalk video tour.  And learn more about the Fuel Flex International kit used on the Focus and about kits designed for your vehicle.

If you want to see the retrofitted 2002 Ford Focus up close, join us at the Green Neighbor Festival in Frederick, MD in Baker Park on Saturday, May 4, 2019.  

*Joanne Ivancic serves as executive director of Advanced Biofuels USA.

 

E85: ROYAL FARMS CELEBRATES SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE WITH OPENING OF LATEST RENEWABLE FUEL STATION (Virginia Clean Cities; includes video)

Royal Farms Celebrates Sustainability Initiative With Opening Of Latest Renewable Fuel Station (Yahoo! Finance)

Royal Farms and Protec complete first phase of project through E85 implementation (Biofuels Digest)

Royal Farms, Protec Fuel open renewable fuel station (Ethanol Producer Magazine)

The Andersons’ Pirolli offers perspective on retail ethanol (Ethanol Producer Magazine)

Royal Farms Opens 12th E15 and E85 Site: Chain partners with Protec to add ethanol blends to newest store, with more locations planned (CSP Daily News)

Energy Experts, Environmental Advocates Urge Pumping Brakes On Ethanol (NETNebraska.org)

 

 

Read other articles in this series about the Ford Focus E85 retrofit:

Walking the Walk in Advanced Biofuels USA’s “E30 and Beyond Retrofitted” Focus

http://advancedbiofuelsusa.info/walking-the-walk-in-advanced-biofuels-usas-e30-and-beyond-retrofitted-focus/

 E85 Retrofit Project: Getting Started, Choosing a Retrofit Kit

http://advancedbiofuelsusa.info/e85-retrofit-project-getting-started-choosing-a-retrofit-kit/

 You, Too, Can Have a FlexFuel Vehicle (or, Your Favorite Car Can Go Vegetarian)

http://advancedbiofuelsusa.info/you-too-can-have-a-flexfuel-vehicle-or-your-favorite-car-can-go-vegetarian/

 Coming Soon: Story of Installing FlexFuel International Software at Advanced Biofuels USA’s 2002 Ford Focus

http://advancedbiofuelsusa.info/coming-soon-documentary-of-installing-flexfuelinternational-software-at-advanced-biofuels-usas-2002-ford-focus/

 

Other resources

New Engine Technologies Could Produce Similar Mileage for All Ethanol Fuel Mixtures   

What’s the Difference between Biodiesel and Renewable (Green) Diesel?

Ethanol Benefits: https://advancedbiofuelsusa.info/tag/ethanol-benefits/

 

 

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and Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) safety safflower sago pond weed SAIC SAK sales Salicornia salt-tolerant saltbush saltcedar sal tree salt water Sanctions Santa Monica sardine oil Saskatchewan Saudi Arabia sawdust scale up Scandinavia scholarships/fellowships Science Advisory Board (SAB) Science Policy Scotland scum sea level rise seashore mallow seawater Seaweed/Macroalgae seaweed cultivation Section 526 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seed-to-wheel seed husks Senegal Serbia sesame sewage Seychelles shale shale gas shale oil sheep shipping shipping containers shipworm Sierra Leone silica Silphie/cup plant/Indian cup silver silver maple simarouba Singapore sisal SK slash Slovakia Slovakia/Slovak Republic Slovenia sludge Small Business Administration small engines small refinery exemption (SRE) smokestack soap social cost social value social venture Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) soil soil amendments soil carbon soil health soil microbial biomass 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