January 12, 2011

Cross-country EcoTREK runs on cellulosic ethanol

It is not only the first cross-country promotional tour headlining "Cellulosic Ethanol", but it is also a timely one. Yesterday, The New York Times ran an article claiming that in the second half of 2010 "not a drop of cellulosic ethanol was commercially blended with gasoline." Coincidentally, EcoTREK began its cross country journey using a blend of E85 comprised of 5% gasoline and 85% POET Inc.'s cellulosic ethanol made from corn cobs.

The driving force behind this trip is custom auto enthusiast and adventurer Tom Holm who is no stranger to mounting expeditions of this type. He is Executive Director of a non-profit called EcoTrek Foundation. He spent three years customizing GM sport utility vehicles for driving to exotic locations for adventure sport activities on a GM-sponsored TV series called "Adventure Highway." He next turned his attention to the research of renewable fuels for his vehicles.

He intends to criss-cross the U.S. driving approximately 10,000 miles and stopping off for interviews and speeches at educational venues along the way. He will also stop at distinctly American travel destinations like the Grand Canyon and Mt. Rushmore. The developing calendar is available online. In so doing he would like to wake up America to the reality and potential benefits of cellulosic ethanol - an advanced biofuel made from grasses, crop residues, and waste material.

Should we be surprised that the fuel provider POET Inc., the world's leading "corn ethanol" biorefiner, is also pioneering the use of harvest residue to create more ethanol? Of course not. Once they perfect their system they will be able to leverage their existing base of biorefineries and progressively "bolt-on" a separate production line that takes lower-value biomass and converts it into the same fuel. It's a move that extends the three dimensions of sustainability for the ever-improving U.S. ethanol industry: environmental (use of low value waste), economic (new profit streams for existing biorefineries), and social (fortifying community businesses and cohesion).

Knowledgeable people recognize that if we want to make cellulosic biofuels available at the pump we need to first create the infrastructure that will enable it to be produced, marketed, distributed, and sold. The corn ethanol industry is building feedstock sources, developing experts, perfecting new technologies and best practices, and providing fuel blends and markets for the first edition flexible-fuel vehicles.

I will be providing periodic updates based on news and insights revealed as EcoTREK journeys across America. For further information visit http://www.ecotrek.com.


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