State grant fuels ethanol research site

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Michigan Department of Consumer & Industry Services (CIS) Energy Office has awarded $3,840 to Kettering University for bio-fuel education projects. Dr. Greg Davis, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering, will coordinate development of a web page to explain the use of ethanol-blended transportation fuels. The web page will focus on disseminating objective information based on experience with ethanol-blended fuel in student Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) competition vehicles, including a Silverado truck and snowmobile. The truck and snowmobile have both been converted to run on ethanol/gasoline blends up to 85%.

"The use of ethanol in transportation has increased dramatically over the last few years," said Davis, "which is important because its use reduces exhaust emissions and helps to reduce our dependance on foreign oil. There is much misleading information regarding ethanol fuels. The CIS funding will allow us to present the public with clear, un-biased information regarding ethanol and its effects on engines," he said.

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Ethanol is an alcohol made through the fermentation of plant sugars from agricultural crops and other biomass resources. It can be used in blends up to 10% in all vehicles and up to 85% in specially manufactured flexible fuel vehicles. Ethanol has many potential environmental benefits because it burns cleaner then gasoline and reduces most exhaust emissions. Biodiesel can be used in all diesel engines and is typically used in 2% or 20% blends (B20). Biodiesel can also be used alone (B100). Benefits from using biodiesel include lower exhaust emissions and particulates, reduced odor, and minimized black smoke.

Funding is made available through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The grant is administered by the CIS Energy Office through the Michigan Biomass Energy Program (MBEP).