Protec to supply E85 for EcoCAR Challenge

By Susanne Retka Schill | April 15, 2010
Posted May 12, 2010

Protec Fuel, a Florida-based corporation specializing in turnkey ethanol programs for U.S. retailers, fleets and fuel distributors announced it is a sponsor and the official E85 supplier for the EcoCAR Challenge. The EcoCAR competition, along with its headline sponsors General Motors (GM) and the U.S. DOE, challenges 16 universities across the U.S. and Canada to redesign and reengineer a GM-donated vehicle to further minimize energy consumption and reduce emissions.

A joint effort among academic, government and industry partners, EcoCAR seeks to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers by giving them the tools and experience necessary to secure a more energy-efficient future. The challenge is in the second year of the three-year competition. Year two finals will be held May 17-27, when team vehicles will be put through a series of engineering tests similar to those conducted by the automotive industry to determine a prototype's readiness for production.

During the program, GM has provided production vehicles, vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support. The DOE and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory, have provided competition management, team evaluation and technical and logistical support. The students were charged with minimizing fuel consumption and reducing emissions while retaining performance, safety and consumer appeal. Students were to incorporate lightweight materials, improve aerodynamics and utilize alternative fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel and hydrogen.

Todd Garner, CEO of Protec Fuel, stated that "developing the next generation of engineers focused on E85 and flex fuel vehicles is critical. E85 must play an integral role in our transportation fuel mix since the renewable fuels standard cannot be mathematically achieved without a significant expansion of E85 use."

"Protec continues to show great leadership in the area of biofuel commercialization. We are pleased that Protec is sponsoring the EcoCAR Challenge helping to support education and technology," said Mary Beth Stanek, director of environment and energy policy and commercialization for GM.

Protec Fuel is a fuel distribution and management company based in Boca Raton, Fla. Turnkey E85 services include: physical ethanol supply and blending programs; financial risk management programs; E85 strategic site selection; station design; equipment supply; new station installation and conversions of existing stations; RINS management; government grant funding assistance and; support with station sales and marketing.

Protec also provides marketing services for advanced and cellulosic ethanol producers in addition to a full range of conventional energy risk management programs. Protec's strategy is to build out E85 infrastructure throughout the U.S. in order to develop the corresponding long-term demand for regionalized advanced and cellulosic biofuel production and distribution. Protec currently supplies, either directly or through distribution partners, approximately 250 E85 stations.