Monthly Archives: February 2006

E100 Biopower Concept from Saab: The Green Car

At the Geneva motor show, GM is going to show off its Saab Aero X two seater coupe. It is fueled entirely by ethanol (E100), thereby offering net zero tank-to-wheel CO2 emissions. With carbon fiber bodywork, electronically-controlled suspension and all-wheel drive, the Saab Aero X is projected to accelerate from zero to 100 kph in just 4.9 seconds with a top (limited) speed of 250 kph (155 mph). Although optimized for E100, the engine management system will make adjustments for any gasoline-ethanol blend.
Finally a car that can truly be considered green. But what I find most fascinating is that the Aero X does not have conventional doors and windshield, but an aircarft cockpit canopy.

Hybrid Vehicles on the Road

Here is a growing list of Hybrid cars on the road: Ford Escape Hybrid 2005 Honda Insight Hybrid 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid 2005 Toyota Highlander 2005 Toyota Prius Hybrid 2005 Will add more as I got through the sites.


Any vehicle with two or more sources of power can be classified as a Hybrid vehicle. These vehicles run on a rechargeable (Traction) battery and gasoline. Some neat facts about Hybrid Cars: 1) Hybrid engines are made smaller and to accommodate the 99% of time when not going uphill or accelerating quickly. The battery kicks in to provide the extra power when required in these situations. 2)When the car is stopped, hybrid gasoline engine can shut off and run on electricity from the battery and their electric motor. 3)Hybrids have more aerodynamic features and are lighter than conventional vehicles. The tires are more stiff and inflated higher to reduce drag. 4)Braking energy is recovered and it is used to charge the battery. There is not necessity for long power cables and you do not have to plug it in to charge . 

An update

I have been a resident of Washtenaw County since last year and I just found out about the Ann Arbor Area Clean Cities Coalition. This private/public organization was formed to generate interest and create an infrastructure for FFV’s & AFV’s. The main goal obivously being to reduce air pollution and dependence on imported oil. Just a note on our dependence on imported oil, many people believe that Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter of oil to the US, then you are in for a shock, its Canada and not the Saudi’s (placed third after Mexico). As of December 2005 Canada had imported 1.899 million barrels of crude per day, check the Energy Information Administration.

Alternate Fuel Vehicles (AFV)

Biodiesel, Electricity, Hydrogen, Propane and Natural Gas are the other alternatives for a renewable fuel resource. Car manufacturers are still in the process of developing Electricity aka Fuel Cell and Hydrogen based vehicles. These cars can then truely be called a “green car”. GM and Toyota were trying to collaborate together on Fuel Cell technology, but the talks failed after neither side could come to an agreement.

Ethanol Facts

Here are some facts about E85 ethanol provided by the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC): E85 has an octane of approximately 105. E85 sells for approximately the same price as unleaded gasoline. Ethanol reduces the incidence of greenhouse gas emissions. Ethanol is domestically produced and promotes energy independence. Ethanol production increases the value of feed grains grown by farmers. Ethanol is biodegradable and does not contaminate water. Ethanol can be produced from a number of different feedstocks including paper and agricultural waste. Additionally 2.7 gallons of ethanol can be produced from a bushel (approx. 56 lbs) of corn. Michigan Ethanol LLC in Caro is the only ethanol plant operating in Michigan.

Where does Ethanol come from?

The simple answer is “CORN”. For those interested in a more detailed explanation read on. Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) run on a blend of 85% Ethanol and 15% gasoline. Previously it used to be 90% Ethanol and 10% gasoline. Hence a much cleaner burning fuel. Ethanol is produced by fermenting and then distilling the sugars from agricultural crops such as corn. Similar to making beer. The only thing is that for it to be used as fuel in a FFV, the ethanol produced has to be 100% pure.
All agricultural crops and residues contain six-carbon sugars or compounds of these sugars. To produce ethanol from grain, the starch portion of the grain is exposed and mixed with water to form a mash. The mash is heated and enzymes are added to separate the fermentable sugars.
The next phase, fermentation, involves the addition of yeast to convert the sugars to ethanol and carbon dioxide. Fermentation produces a mixture called “beer,” which contains about 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent water. The “beer” is then boiled in a distillation column to separate the water, resulting in fuel-grade ethanol that is 85 to 95 percent pure. Ethanol production from grain utilizes only the starch.
A variety of highly valued feed co-products, including gluten meal, gluten feed and dried distillers grains, are produced from the remaining protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber and are sold as high-value feed for livestock. Ethanol is also produced today from wood waste, cheese whey, waste sucrose, potato waste, brewery waste, and food and beverage wastes (
Now is you really have a lot of time on your hands, you can read a thesis by Kelly Launder from MSU titled “From Promise to Purpose: Oppurtunities and Constraints for Ethanol Base Transportation Fuel” ( She wrote it primarily as part of a report for the State of Michigan’s Energy Office in 2001.

Green Car of the Year (2006)

The Green Car Journal Online has awarded the 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Lincoln-Mercury’s first gas/electric hybrid, the Green Car of the Year Award. The Mariner Hybrid was chosen by a high-profile jury of auto and environmental leaders, the other nominees were Honda Accord Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid, Lexus RX 400h, and Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The five finalists were selected by Green Car Journal after evaluating a field of dozens of 2006 model year vehicles offering varying levels of improved environmental performance. Gasoline-electric hybrids, near-zero emission gasoline models, advanced diesels, and an array of vehicles capable of operating on alternative fuels were among those considered. While all current models are eligible for consideration, “newness” is a factor, with vehicles in the early phase of their production cycle given particular weight in identifying finalists. Check it out.