Most of California’s sugar mills have closed up shop in recent years, leaving sugar beet farmers without a market for their crop. But now ethanol derived from sugar beets is providing a new opportunity for these farmers and their communities.
Farmers in the small community of Mendota, California are leading an effort to bring back the once widely-grown sugar beet crop. In 2008, Spreckels sugar plant was shuttered, leaving many residents without a job and farmers without a purchaser for their beets. In a stroke of ingenuity, the seed company suggested the community grow beets for ethanol. Thus, the Mendota Bioenergy company was formed!
According to a recent report from California public radio, “Mendota Bioenergy has a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission – and the partnership of university experts from UC Davis and Fresno State – to complete the test site. It should be up and running this winter and, if all goes as planned, the company will then build the nation’s first commercial sugar beet biorefinery in Mendota by 2017.”
Mendota Bioenergy will not only produce a domestic alternative to petroleum gasoline, but the ethanol plant itself will also have a sustainable focus with measures in place to let nothing go to waste. Plus, beets grow well on marginal lands and require very little fresh water. Overall, ethanol produced from California-grown sugar beets and processed in the Mendota refinery will have a much lower carbon footprint than petroleum gasoline, lower even than typical corn-based ethanol. Now that sounds like a sweet deal.
Read more from The California Report.
Posted in News Links, Biodiesel, Emissions, Feedstocks, Green Business, Next Generation Feedstock, Ethanol Research, Flex Fuel E85, Ethanol
Tagged alternative fuel, biofuel feedstock, domestic fuel, E85, E85 driver, ethanol, ethanol from beets, Flex Fuel, Green Business, low-carbon fuel, renewable fuel, sugar beet ethanol, sugar beets
That’s right. Californians, purveyors of the hippest trends, are choosing diesel vehicles more than ever. As reported by the Diesel Technology Forum, data complied by R.L. Polk & Co shows registration of diesel cars and SUVs in the state have increased 55% from 2010 to 2012. Not too shabby, fellow trend-setters. And the rest of the country is following suit, albeit at a slower pace, with diesel vehicle registrations up 24%.
Total number of diesel vehicles in the U.S. is over 6.6 million vehicles. While that may seem like a large chunk, that’s only 3% of all vehicle registrations. However, according to Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, “Auto analysts and market researchers virtually all agree diesel sales are going to increase significantly as the number of new diesels made available domestically will more than double in the next two years. Some analysts predict diesel sales will reach 10 percent of the U.S. market by 2020.”
Why is diesel making a comeback?
(1) New clean diesel technology. Diesel engine technology has cleaned up its act. No longer are diesel vehicles the smoggy, smoke-belching clunky truck of grandaddy’s day. Thanks in part to California’s strict emission standards implemented decades ago, dirty diesels were forced out. In their place, we welcome Mercedes BlueTec engines, Volkswagen clean diesels, and countless more eco-friendly diesel vehicle platforms.
(2) Awesome fuel economy. Efficiency is the name of the game, and diesel engine technology is a winner. In 2009, Volkswagen’s Jetta TDI won “Green Car of the Year,” beating out other high-mileage technology platforms like electric and hybrid vehicles. Then another diesel took the top billing in 2010, when the Audi A3 TDI was named the greenest ride.
(3) Biodiesel! The best reason of all? Diesel vehicles can run cleaner burning fuel made right here in America from renewable resources. Learn more about running biodiesel and find a biodiesel station near you.
Also, we should note, before diesel-loving Californians get too cocky, Texas is #1 in Total Diesel Passenger Vehicles, SUVs, Pickup Trucks, and Van registrations…
Looking for diesle vehicles options? Check out the Diesel Forums comprehensive list of clean diesel vehicles currently available in the U.S.
Posted in Biodiesel, Green Business, Vehicles
Tagged audi, Biodiesel, biodiesel driver, diesel, domestic fuel, ford diesel, fuel economy, Jetta TDI, low-carbon fuel, Mercedes, mercedes diesel, renewable fuel, TDI, Volkswagen TDI
Come get your fill of Flex Fuel E85 and Biodiesel B20 at Propel’s new Clean Fuel Point in Sacramento @ Mak’s Valero station, 1101 Broadway. During the Grand Opening event, try $10 of Flex Fuel E85 or Biodiesel B20 for FREE!
The Grand Opening celebration goes from Tuesday, September 11 through Friday, September 14, 10am – 7pm. Hope to see you all there!
Posted in Biodiesel, Ethanol, Events, Flex Fuel, Flex Fuel E85, Propel Biofuels, Propel Customers, Retail locations, Vehicles
Tagged alternative fuel, american fuel, American made, biodiesel driver, biofuel, biofuel feedstock, diesel, domestic fuel, E85, E85 driver, ethanol, flex fuel tahoe, ford diesel, ford ffv, global warming, Green Business, Jetta TDI, low-carbon fuel, propel, Propel customer, Propel Fuels, renewable fuel, Volkswagen TDI
While Propel’s Homegrown Roadshow team of Emily and Emily were between events in the SF Bay Area, they paid a visit to our Berkeley Clean Fuel Point to meet up with Cece Reinhardt, one of the partners behind On the Green Road. Per the duo’s website (which is also a live blog of their adventures), the goal of On the Green Road is to “green an Airstream, turn a used diesel truck into a veggie oil machine and hit the road in complete ‘off the grid’ style.”
Amazingly, Cece and her fellow road-tripper Brenda Daugherty have been living out this journey since the end of last year and have plans to canvas much of the US and even parts of Canada while “driving towards sustainability one mile at a time.” And while Cece didn’t have the Airstream in tow when Propel met up with her in Berkeley to donate a well-earned tank of B20 biodiesel, she did promise that we’d meet again. We hope so! Best of luck to these road warriors as they live out their green dreams in sweet Airstream style.
Learn about Cece and Brenda’s On the Green Road adventure at www.greenrvlife.com, and find out where the Homegrown Roadshow is headed next at propelfuels.com/roadshow.
Posted in At the Pump, Biodiesel, Events, Propel Customers
Tagged alternative fuel, Biodiesel, biodiesel driver, Brenda Daugherty, Cece Reinhardt, Dodge Ram Biodiesel, Event, Homegrown Roadshow, On the Green Road, Propel customer, Propel Fuels, renewable fuel
Yeehaw! This March, Propel is taking our show on the road, visiting seven of our CA fuel sites to bring Flex Fuel and Biodiesel drivers the chance to try clean burning, American-made fuels for free.
From the Bay Area all the way down to San Diego, Propel’s Roadshow duo Emily and Emily will be cruising the West Coast, sharing their renewable fuel knowledge and offering new Propel customers at least $10 of free fuel along the way. The tour kicks off on Wednesday, March 7, in Elk Grove, CA (just outside of Sacramento) and concludes Friday, March 23 in Arcadia, CA (just outside of LA). For a full list of dates and locations, be sure to visit the Homegrown Roadshow online.
In addition to free fuel, Roadshow event attendees can also partake in special offers and giveaways from our convenience store partners. Own a business with fleet vehicles? We’ll have a dedicated fleet specialist on-hand at every event to discuss exclusive fleet savings and the many performance advantages of Flex Fuel and Biodiesel.
Can’t make it to an event? Starting next week, drivers can follow the Roadshow live on Facebook, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for our official tour vehicle, Scout, passing through town. Every Scout or Roadshow picture posted to Facebook is a chance to win Propel swag and free fuel, so whether you see us live in person or you spy Scout zipping around your city, snap away!
See you on the Roadshow!
Posted in At the Pump, Biodiesel, Events, Flex Fuel, Flex Fuel E85, Propel Biofuels
Tagged alternative fuel, Biodiesel, biodiesel driver, biofuel, domestic fuel, E85, E85 driver, E85 locations, ethanol, Event, Flex Fuel, Homegrown Roadshow, low-carbon fuel, propel, Propel customer, Propel Fuels, Propel Fuels Homegrown Roadshow, renewable fuel
Just in time for the New Year, Propel is making new friends in the fleet world, including our latest fleet customer, Econation – a global ground transportation company that exclusively employs the use of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles in its fleets.
Econation driver Teddy fills his Suburban with Propel's Flex Fuel E85 in Arcadia, CA.
Econation will fuel its fleet of Flex Fuel vehicles at Propel locations in the greater Los Angeles area with renewable E85 fuel – a cost-effective blend of 85 percent high-performance, American-made ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. As a business member of Propel’s proprietary CleanDrive® program, Econation will also be able to track the environmental impact of every gallon of Propel fuel pumped, including pounds of CO2 reduced, barrels of oil displaced and more.
“Today more than ever, travelers appreciate being able to do something better for the environment while still experiencing the comfort, luxury and affordability they associate with a leading transportation company,” said Econation Managing Partner Ben Bloch. “We view this new partnership with Propel in the same light. We’re able to fuel our Flex Fuel vehicles with the sustainable, American product they were designed for without sacrificing quality, performance or cost. And Propel’s CleanDrive reporting program complements emissions data reports that we offer our clients. It’s a natural marriage.”
The CleanDrive system is an integrated carbon emission reduction tracking platform that tracks and displays the carbon emission reductions from the use of renewable fuels purchased at Propel stations. CleanDrive graphically displays the positive impacts of renewable fuel use including: reductions in CO2, barrels of oil displaced and reductions in foreign oil consumed. The system tracks fuel usage across Propel’s network of fueling stations, enabling businesses and government fleets to quantify the positive impacts of their decision to use low-carbon fuels, and in some cases meet mandated or voluntary fleet emission reduction goals. (You can have your own personal CleanDrive account, too! It’s free to register.)
“We’re proud to work with Econation who is setting high standards in green transportation and introducing sustainable fuels to an entirely new sector,” said Propel CEO Matt Horton. “Together with great fleets, individual drivers and better choices at the pump, we are making progress at reducing our dependency on imported oil and helping meet our nation’s emission reduction goals.”
So who exactly is Econation?
Econation is a global “green” alternative to traditional ground transportation (taxi’s, Town cars, limousines and buses). Offering an assortment of the most cutting edge hybrid and alternative fuel based sedans, utility vehicles and buses, Econation provides corporations and individuals with a way to be environmentally and socially conscious without sacrificing price, comfort, or dependable service. Econation was the first alternative fuel and hybrid firm to win Limousine, Charter and Tour (LCT) magazine’s 2011 Operator of the Year award, which measures chauffeured ground transportation firms on categories including innovation, safety and operational excellence.
To learn more about Propel Fuels, visit us online on from your mobile phone at propelfuels.com. More information on Econation is available at www.econation.com.
Posted in At the Pump, Driver Testimonials, Fleet News, Flex Fuel, Green Business, Propel Customers
Tagged alternative fuel, E85, E85 driver, ethanol, Flex Fuel, Green Business, green fleet, Propel customer, Propel Fuels, renewable fuel
Drumroll please! After months (on our end) of anticipation, we’re excited to announce that PropelFuels.com is now easier to use and more community-driven than ever:
Informative content, enhanced navigation.
We know your time is valuable. With the new PropelFuels.com, you’ll also find quick access to dedicated sections for:
- Vehicles: Millions of vehicles on the road today can run renewable fuels. Can yours?
- Resources: Access third-party studies, fuel FAQs, the truth about biofuel myths and more
- Fleet & Commercial: Find customer solutions, exclusive fleet savings and real user testimonials
- Owners & Operators: All our questions abou bringing clean fuels to your station answered
Posted in Biodiesel, Flex Fuel, Green Business, Media, Propel Biofuels, Technology
Tagged alternative fuel, Biodiesel, biofuel, ethanol, Flex Fuel, Green Business, propel, Propel customer service, Propel Fuels, Propel locations, Propel online, Propel website, renewable fuel
Propel Fuels' Redwood City, CA, Clean Fuel Point
Last week, Propel Fuels announced a multi-year agreement with Pacific Convenience & Fuels (PC&F) to co-locate Clean Fuel Points (renewable fuel stations) with PC&F gas stations and convenience stores throughout the Western U.S.
The largest deal of its kind, the new agreement will provide renewable fuel choice to America’s most underserved market. According to Matt Horton, CEO of Propel Fuels:
“This first of its kind agreement allows us to quickly scale our business, opening the door to renewable fuel access across the Western U.S., America’s most underserved market for renewable fuels. And with U.S. automakers significantly increasing production of Flex Fuel and diesel vehicles, we will give customers true choice at the pump, making progress towards reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and lowering carbon emissions.”
Propel and PC&F have identified more than 80 potential locations for Clean Fuel Points throughout PC&F’s network of 300 stations in California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado, which operate under various brands including Chevron, 76, Conoco and Circle K. Propel’s partnership with PC&F will provide consumers and fleets across the Western states with greater access to renewable fuels and enable both companies to accelerate expansion plans.
To expand public access to renewable fuels, Propel is working in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission on station development programs such as California’s Low Carbon Fuel Infrastructure Investment Initiative. As advanced biofuel production facilities break ground in California, Propel’s agreement with PC&F will provide the next phase of fueling locations crucial to meeting the goals of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
Learn more about Propel Fuels and PC&F online at www.propelfuels.com and www.pcandf.com, respectively.
Posted in Biodiesel, Flex Fuel E85, Green Business, Propel Biofuels, Retail locations
Tagged alternative fuel, Biodiesel, Clean Fuel Point, E85, E85 locations, Flex Fuel, Green Business, Pacific Convenience, PC&F, propel, Propel Fuels, Propel station, renewable fuel, Renewable Fuel Station
We couldn’t help but repost this succinct and well-written piece from Wired Magazine’s Forrest Jehlik — guest contributor extraordinaire and mechanical engineer for the US Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory’s Transportation Technology R&D Center.
While there is no single super-solution to all the world’s energy needs, ethanol-based Flex Fuel E85 is a domestically produced, sustainable fuel that is readily compatible with millions of vehicles on the road today, no conversion or modification required. (See a list of current Flex Fuel vehicles here.)
As Jehlik writes, he’s spent a lot of time at Argonne researching ethanol (though an editor’s note clarifies that he remains energy-neutral). In the article, Jehlik quickly debunks the following five ethanol myths, with legitimate sources to boot:
>> READ THE FULL ARTICLE FROM WIRED.COM
Myth #1: Ethanol requires more energy to make than it yields.
Myth #2: Ethanol production reduces our food supply.
Myth #3: Ethanol crops and production emit more greenhouse gases than gasoline.
Myth #4: Ethanol requires too much water to produce.
Myth #5: Cars get lower gas mileage with ethanol.
(Currently, there is some truth to this last one, but modern engineering could significantly improve fuel economy and further increase a cents-per-mile advantage for ethanol.)
Jehlik’s piece is a reminder that ethanol is an alternative fuel that can be readily used to help relieve our dependence on petroleum today – and next generation ethanol fuels will only increase in sustainability and energy efficiency.
Be sure to check out Jehlik’s full write-up at Wired.com, or for more information on ethanol as a fuel, visit the Argonne National Laboratory Transportation Technology R&D Center and the Renewable Fuels Association online.
Posted in Ethanol Research, Flex Fuel, Flex Fuel E85, News Links, Technology
Tagged alternative fuel, Argonne National Laboratory, biofuel, domestic fuel, E85, ethanol, Flex Fuel, low-carbon fuel, next generation, next generation fuel, renewable fuel, Wired Magazine
In response to customer interest in increasingly renewable fuels, Propel is proud to announce the arrival of B20 biodiesel in Northern California! Available of as June 1st at two of Propel’s Sacramento Clean Fuel Points, Propel’s B20 is blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% petro-diesel that provides increased performance, longer engine life and reduced emissions, all at no additional cost.
Most exciting, Propel’s B20 is safe for use in all diesel engines – and no conversion is required.
What’s more, Propel’s B20 biodiesel:
- ...is 10x more lubricating than pure petroleum diesel and has a higher cetane rating for easier starting and increased engine efficiency.
- ...has less ozone-forming potential than petroleum diesel and is proven to reduce toxic tailpipe emissions, including CO2 – a major contributor to climate change.
- …meets ASTM specifications and can be safely run in diesel engines without any conversion or change in maintenance. In fact, a study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has shown that even the latest in clean diesel technology is compatible with B20 without impact to the engine or the emission control system.
"I can't wait to check it out!" said Propel customer Dave Parsons
Propel customer John Felts filling up his Mercedes CDI with B20
Follow in the footsteps of Propel’s inaugural B2o’ers (above) and try B20 for yourself at the following Northern CA locations, or visit Propel’s Station Locator for a full list of Clean Fuel Points and available fuel blends:
Posted in At the Pump, Biodiesel, blog, Driver Testimonials, Propel Customers, Retail locations
Tagged B20, b20 biodiesel, Biodiesel, biodiesel driver, propel, Propel customer, Propel Fuels, renewable fuel
Earlier this month. President Obama announced a a goal to reduce petroleum imports by one-third by 2025. As reported by Ethanol Producer Magazine, Propel Fuels discusses the role of fueling infrastructure in President Obama’s plan.
“The key to both fleet usage of the fuels and meeting President Obama’s goals is infrastructure,” Propel CEO Matt Horton is quoted as saying in the article. “We’ve got the vehicles today for high blend ethanol, we just need more incentive to build out the infrastructure and we’ll be there.”
To check out the full story, visit Ethanol Producer Magazine. Curious if you can help offset imported petroleum by filling with E85? Visit Propel’s Flex Fuel Vehicles page online, or find a Clean Fuel Point near you.
Posted in Biodiesel
Tagged alternative fuel, biofuel, biofuel feedstock, carbon, domestic fuel, E85, E85 driver, ethanol, Flex Fuel, fuel efficiency, Green Business, low-carbon fuel, next generation fuel, renewable fuel
Judith Canales, Administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative Programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), stopped by Propel Fuels’ Oakland, California location to promote access to renewable fuel. Administrator Canales highlighted the beneficial economic and environmental impacts of American-produced biofuels.
Administrator Canales emphasized that a thriving domestic fuel industry will benefit the US economy. “The USDA is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America and we believe a strong renewable fuels industry, including convenient access to these fuels, is critical to this goal,” said Canales.
The USDA plans to increase access to domestically produced fuels by helping to fund the build out of 10,000 renewable fuel pumps across the country over the next five years. Retailers selected to receive USDA funds have yet to be determined.
“Propel shares the USDA’s vision for quickly increasing consumer access to renewable fuels in order to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, boost local economies, and reduce emissions,” said Jim Iacoponi, Vice President of Operations of Propel. “Through a partnership between private investment and public funds, Propel will continue to build the critical link between California’s drivers and the next generation of fuels.”
More on Administrator Canales’ visit to Propel:
Posted in At the Pump, Big Oil, Biodiesel, Flex Fuel, Flex Fuel E85, Green Business, Retail locations
Tagged alternative fuel, Biodiesel, biofuel, biofuel feedstock, domestic fuel, E85, ethanol, Green Business, green jobs, Judith Canales, low-carbon fuel, propel, Propel Fuels, renewable fuel, renewable fuel infrastructure, USDA
Geneva Motor Show – Does the future of clean transportation ride on renewable fuels or electric power? As we at Propel maintain — and as these new beauties, debuted this week at the Geneva Motor Show, demonstrate — the answer can most certainly be both. The diesel hybrid dazzlers featured below can be powered by renewable biodiesel and electricity.
Range Rover Sport Plug-In Diesel Hybrid
While there’s no word yet on whether the Range_e is intended for production, Land Rover has confirmed that this unique offering is part of its 2008 plan to reduce carbon emissions by 25% by 2012. Impressively, the SUV can travel up to 20 miles in full electric mode and returns 88mpg and 88 grams of CO2/kilometer. Power comes from both a 3.0-liter 240-horsepower TDV6 and a 69 kW electric motor that can be recharged from a standard household power supply in <4 hours.
Peugeot 908 Hybrid 4
So it’s not your daily driver. But with its 3.7-liter, 550-horsepower diesel V8 — and an on-board electric motor that uses regenerative braking technology to provide an extra 80-horsepower spurt — Peugeot’s new endurance racer certainly inspires wide appeal. Will it be ready for the 2012 LeMans racing season? If so, Peugeot claims that the clean-burning, hybrid diesel technology will allow the 908 to stay on track longer than the average LeMans vehicle. Less pitting, more winning!
Volvo V60 Plug-In Diesel Hybrid
Who doesn’t love a sports wagon? Better yet, who doesn’t love a good looking safety machine with a diesel engine, a plug-in rechargeable electric powertrain and electric AWD? With the V60 Plug-In Hybrid, Volvo delivers all that, and more. In fact, a press release from the automaker claims the V60 Hybrid to be “three cars in one”:
1) An electric car with a range of up to 32 miles (charging time is 5 or less hours at home)
2) A high-efficiency hybrid with carbon dioxide emissions averaging just 49 g/km
3) A dynamic and engaging car with a combined output of 215 + 70 horsepower, 440 + 200 Nm of torque and acceleration from 0 to 62 mph of just 6.9 seconds
While the standard V60 is available only in European markets, Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby hinted in January that the V60 Hybrid could make its way to the US. Only time will tell. Until then, we’ll keep our fingers crossed!
Posted in Biodiesel, blog, Technology, Vehicles
Tagged alternative fuel, Biodiesel, biofuel, carbon, clean diesel, diesel, diesel hybrid, diesel range rover, diesel volvo, diesel-electric plug-in hybrid, electric vehicle technology, electric vehicles, geneva auto show, geneva motor show, hybrid, low-carbon fuel, peugeot, Peugeot diesel hybrid, plug in diesel hybrid, plug-in hybrid, range rover, range rover hybrid, renewable fuel, volvo, volvo hybrid
A new piece from World Business reviews the policy challenges facing the US cleantech industry while nations such as China and Germany increase their cleantech efforts and exports.
As a leading retailer of renewable, American fuels, Propel Fuels is actively seeking to maximize consumer adoption of clean energy in the US. According to Propel CEO Matt Horton, ”The stability of policy is far more important than very attractive policy in a lot of ways, because it is the volatility of policy that really hurts from a business planning standpoint.”
Adds Nancy Floyd, founder of cleantech venture capital firm Nth Power and chairman of Propel’s board of directors, “The venture capitalists are going to be placing their dollars maybe in companies that aren’t headquartered in the United States where there is stable, favorable policy.”
To maintain its edge in providing renewable fuel infrastructure, Propel has found it advantageous to build out what will soon become an expansive network of retail Clean Fuel Points within CA before continuing to build in other states.
“There’s a great policy environment [in California],” Horton says. “California has always shown real leadership.”
But that’s just one piece of the national picture.
“Because of the lack of policy,” he continues, “I do think the United States is going to start falling behind.”
To learn more, view the video above, or contact Propel Fuels to hear from Matt firsthand.
Posted in blog, Green Business, Media, News Links, Politics, Propel Biofuels
Tagged alternative fuel, biofuel, CA environmental policy, CA green policy, clean energy, clean fuel, clean tech, cleantech, environmental policy, Green Business, green economy, green policy, green venture capital, Matt Horton, Nancy Floyd, Nth Power, Propel Fuels, renewable fuel, US environmental policy, US green policy, World Business