Ethanol Production and Other Fuel News

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Illustration by Fotolia/fransen
In the mid-1980s, ethanol industry experts were concerned that large, centralized ethanol production facilities would be logistically inefficient.

The kind of fuel news stories we like involve alternatives to conventional fossil fuels, or finding ways of making fossil fuels go father.

Centralized Ethanol Production

A new 60 million gallon per year ethanol plant in South Point, OH; a 40-million-gallon facility in Loudon, TN; and a 20-million-gallon factory near Franklin, KY will boost national production of fuel alcohol to an estimated 600 million gallons annually. But the trend toward large, centralized production facilities is worrying many ethanol industry experts, who point to the high cost (and fuel consumed as a result) of shipping grain to — and freighting alcohol from — the plants. A network of small- to medium-sized regional distillers would be more efficient, they say

Tallow Tree Oil

Unprocessed oil from Chinese tallow tree seeds will run a stock diesel engine at the power level produced by conventional fuel, according to the “weed” tree’s proponents. A native of China (where its waxy seeds are used to make candles), Sapium sebiferum is naturalized in this country from southern North Carolina to northern Florida and west to southeastern Texas.

Over 1000 MPG

Volkswagen really did it this time: A 1,430-MPG CAR! The “Sparmobile,” a lightweight, streamlined three-wheeler designed in Germany by a team of VW engineers, ran at an average speed of 25 miles an hour for more than 57 hours (that’s almost two and a half days, folks!) on one gallon of gasoline during the Kilometer Marathon held at west Germany’s Hockenheim racetrack.