1999 Green Transportation Advances: E85 Fuel, Hybrid Cars and Fuel Cells

Right before the new millennium, automakers and vehicle technology innovators are looking to decrease emissions and bring new, greener cars to the masses.
By Sam Martin
August/September 1999
Add to My MSN

Students at the University of Illinois developed a fuel called E85, which contains 15 percent ethanol.
ILLUSTRATION: FOTOLIA/BEN CHAMS


Content Tools

Related Content

Groupon for Greenies: A Site to Save You Money

Green America offers savvy shoppers daily discounts--and reassurance that they're buying green--thro...

New Ford Hybrid Impresses Visitors at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Ford delivered more than 900 test-drives of its 2013 electric and hybrid vehicles to visitors at the...

Car & Driver Editor on Plug-in Hybrids

One of the top automotive journalists around agrees that the future is bright for plug-in hybrids, e...

Quick Cook Method Turns Algae Into Biocrude

Researchers from the University of Michigan have developed a way to “pressure cook” algae to produce...

The good thing about fossil fuel-burning energies is that they can always be made more efficient with a bit of inspired thinking. That said, it seems a group of students from the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Chicago is the latest troupe of tinkerers to engineer a more efficient engine.

With backing from the Illinois Corn Growers Association, the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors and Natural Resources Canada, the students have created a flexible fuel ethanol engine that uses an 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline mix called E85. The new technology will roll off the production line for Chevy S-10 and GMC Sonoma pickup trucks as soon as the year 2000 and will offer lower emissions as well as higher miles-to-the-gallon efficiency.

Even more encouraging is the fact that the Illinois students are not alone. Indeed, a new technology emerging from the research labs of such major car companies as Honda, Toyota, Ford and DaimlerChrysler is promising to do away with the dirty old gas engine altogether. The breakthrough “hybrid” engine utilizes a technology based on fuel cells that combines gasoline or natural gas with electricity and has been billed “an automotive revolution” by Nancy Hazard, organizer of the annual electric car race, Tour de Sol.

But critics of the dual-fuel engines maintain that performance is compromised and that the need for frequent refuelings is an inconvenience—if you can even find an alternative fuel station.

Companies like Toyota are, however, out to prove these naysayers wrong. It has a four-seat hybrid vehicle for sale in Japan that can travel 800 miles between fill-ups, gets 70 miles to the gallon and costs a very reasonable $16,000.

Moreover, a company called Epyx Corporation has introduced a multifuel processor that can burn all kinds aof gasses—including liquid hydrogen, ethanol, propane and gasoline—thereby giving consumers a wide range of fuels to choose from, while posting an emission standard well below the Ultra Low Emission Vehicle limit set by the U.S. Department of Energy.

If you’re looking for the environmental sensibility of an electric car with the range and convenience of traditional gas engines, these vehicles could very well transport you where you want to go.








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.