September 2006 Archives

The Presence of E85

September 19, 2006 3:10 PM | 0 Comments

BBC News recently ran a report dealing with the US's ethanol race, citing it as an "uphill" battle. While that's not terribly new news, it was also reported that, in order for ethanol to be a true alternative to the current offering of E10, there has to be access to E85 pumps. Again, that's stating the obvious, but at least our overseas reporters are noticing the lack of E85 pumps nation wide.

With Florida marking its first-ever public E85 pump, the topic is starting to "fuel" discussions (ok, I am really sorry for the bad pun) about the availability of ethanol beyond the Midwestern part of the US. Commentary from a linked article stated that, while E85 is becoming hot news, the presence for this Midwestern resident is all too common. Not only are flexible fuel vehicles produced in this region, but the area is awash in E85 pumps on the retail side.

The case for E85 is also a topic for the political race, as both Democrats and Republicans are doing their research and touting the need for ethanol distribution. And why not? Ethanol comes from our homeland, thereby decreasing our need on foreign fuels. And we know that them politicians want to support "Made in the USA"....right? One can only hope.

While there are many states that have E85 stations (every state but AK, HI, AR, LA, AL, DE, MD, NJ, CT, RI, MA, NH, ME and VT to be exact), the presence of E85 stations are still few and far between, particularly in the state of New York where all stations are privately owned and not open to the public.

While I'm all for owning an FFV and support the use of E85, there is a need for more pumps at the retail level.

Interested and want to join the coalition? Visit



A few responses on Florida selling E85

September 19, 2006 12:32 PM | 0 Comments

Last week, I reported on Florida's first-ever public E85 station. As luck would have it, the news aggregator caught the link from Alt Power's homepage (thanks for the traffic, guys!) but as I read the commentary in the forum threads, I couldn't help but laugh and wonder how an article spurred such a thread on.....drinking.

First of all, mistaken ethanol for methyl alcohol, and while I appreciate the humor, the joke would have been that much funnier if it was, in fact, correct. (Florida gets its first ethanol gas station. In related news, reports of Floridians going blind mysteriously on the rise) But thanks for trying. I do appreciate the humor! On a technicality, one poster replied by saying Well, if you want to be technical about it, most ethanol sold for industrial/chemical use is denatured alcohol. Methanol is a common ingredient used to denature ethanol. The ethanol used in E85 gasoline is probably denatured before it's mixed with the gasoline, which means there's a good chance that there is methanol in the E85.

Thanks for the clarification.

But even more interesting was the last comment from a certain poster that wrote It's funny to think that ethanol is suddenly hot news. I grew up thinking that was all there was.

And it really opened my eyes because, as a New Yorker, E85 is a new idea, as our cars on the east coast are not generally flexibile fuel vehicles. While the big motor companies have agreed to produce more FFVs, the concept is still new to those of us who rely on E10 and have no E85 pumps to go to in the event that we purchase an FFV. And it's not so much for price as it is getting rid of our dependence on foreign fuels. At least, that's what it means to me.

So while the idea of E85 is new to us, keep in mind that for those in the mid-west, it's not such an outlandish concept. E85 stations are popping up like weeds in that part of the country. If you're in the mid-west, feel free to comment here your thoughts and ideas on E85 -- give me the good, the bad, the ugly.


Freedom Tower and Alternative Power

September 14, 2006 11:20 AM | 0 Comments

With this week marking the 5th year since 9/11/01, many a discussion have ensued -- political commentary, what could have been, what should have been done, what are we doing now, and of course, the restructuring of downtown Manhattan with the new Freedom Tower.

News sources have been reporting on the engineering and design of the skyscraper that will eventually grace the Manhattan skyline, but I've had a few of my own discussions this week about said building and, of course, the topic of alternative energy came up.

Wired News reported this week that the Freedom Tower is a "solemn monument to the fallen," and continued to account the safety of the structure, stating that the "tower has a 200-foot-tall, bomb-resistant concrete base surrounded by a multi-layered glass-curtain wall designed to be impervious to any kind of explosion."

What does any of this have to do with alternative power? Well, nothing really. But in talking with some of my more scientific and alternative-power minded friends, it was brought up that maybe the Freedom Tower should be a real source of freedom.....freedom from fuel, electric, gas......

What if the tower were powered by large solar panels? What if the building could generate enough energy from the sun so that all heating, air, electricty, etc came from a natural, alternative source? Why not "free" ourselves from foreign fuel (as it was discussed, the oil and fuels supplied by countries from which the purported terrorists came...)?

An interesting discussion to say the least. While I'm no expert on the science and logistics behind making such a project work, I'd be curious to see what people would say on this could-be sensitive subject.


About Me

September 13, 2006 4:55 PM | 0 Comments

I'm Michelle Amodio (formerly Pasquerello, for those who know me via TMCnet), and this here is the official Alternative Power blog on TMCnet. Why an alternative power blog? If you've been watching the news, you might have noticed that topics such as E85, flexible fuel vehicles, fuel cells, solar power and wind power are becoming news-worthy, particularly in an era where oil prices are sky rocketing and the need for oil depenency is decreasing....well, it should be decreasing. But we'll save that for a real blog post. In the meantime, I'm happy to be on board to cover the alternative power space as it is something that interests me quite a bit.

I'm also a big fan of grease cars and plan to build my own some day. Welcome to Alternative Power.
Be sure to check out TMCnet's Alternative Power site as well.

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