E85 bio-corridor set to open in Midwest, East Coast to follow suit

By Bryan Sims | August 27, 2007
An E85 bio-corridor will soon be made available for those traveling on Interstate 65 between Gary, Ind., and Mobile, Ala. The bio-corridor project, dubbed "E85 for I-65 and Beyond," is part of a partnership effort between nonprofit biofuels coalitions based in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Alabama that received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. DOE. The project will locate 31 E85 pumps along the 886 miles of the I-65. Nineteen of those will be located in Indiana, while Alabama will harbor six.

"For [E85] to become mainstream, and to be successful and prominent, it needs to be corridor fuel, and there needs to be signage involved on the interstates to promote the fact that you're coming upon an exit that has E85," said Kellie Walsh, executive director for the Central Indiana Clean Cities Alliance, which took the lead on the project, allocating funds and administering contracts to retailers. Speedway SuperAmerica LLC will provide nine pumps in southern Indiana and three in Kentucky under the Marathon Oil Corp. umbrella. According to Walsh, travelers can expect to see all 31 E85 pumps installed in the fall of 2008.

A group of Clean Cities coalitions from Georgia, eastern Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina are also in the process of establishing an E85 bio-corridor of its own. Funded by a $590,000 DOE grant, 21 E85 pumps will be made available, with eight being installed in North Carolina and seven in South Carolina. Currently, there are three E85 stations in that area.

"This is just one way we work together across state boundaries as clean cities coalitions to get things done," said Raleigh-based Triangle Clean Cities Coalition Coordinator Tobin Freid, who led the four-state team. "This will make a big difference in increasing availability of these cleaner-burning, renewable fuels."