TodayApril 17, 2022

It’s not easy being green

Ethanol to Oil

Sue Cischke, Ford vice president of environmental and safety engineering, testified before a U.S. Senate committee on March 7, 2006 stating, “It is clear the solution to America s energy challenges will need to come from advances in fuels and vehicle technology. The fact is, without the wholehearted involvement of the oil industry, we cannot move forward far enough and fast enough,” said Sue Cischke, Ford vice president of environmental and safety engineering. “We obviously need key partners like the oil industry to invest in developing and marketing renewable fuels, like E85.”

On March 21, 2006, The Environmental Protection Agency awarded it’s ENERGY STAR 2006 Partner of the Year Energy Management Award to Ford Motor Company. According to the EPA, Ford has improved energy efficiency in U.S. facilities by 18 percent in the past five years and reduced CO2 emissions by more than 15 percent. The award is given to companies that voluntarily reduce energy.

“Buildings cause about 17 percent of U.S greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kathleen Hogan, director of EPAs Climate Protection Partnerships Division. “ENERGY STAR partners such as Ford are showing that their buildings can be effectively managed “ with great results for their energy bills and our environment.”

On the very same day, in an ad in the New York Times, Bluewater Network, Global Exchange, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club and USPIRG placed an ad bashing Ford Motor Companys CEO Bill Ford for not being committed enough, in their view, to the issue of global warming.

One of the reasons Bluewater et al is going after Ford is because Ford sells flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) and people are not filling their tanks with E85. Why go after Ford? Why not go after the oil companies or the government for having only 700 E85 stations out of 170,000 gas stations? Ford built the first American full gas-electric hybrid and the first hybrid SUV in the world. At the Washington Auto Show in January, Ford unveiled the first-ever hybrid-ethanol demonstration vehicle, a Ford Escape Hybrid E85, combining the two most-promising technologies on the market today.

According to Roxanne Smith of the EPA, “Energy Star is a program started by the EPA and DOE. There are over 8,000 businesses that are part of Energy Star. Ford was one of ten companies that received the award for 2006. The award is for energy management. This award recognizes businesses and organizations that demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection through superior energy management.” The reason the EPA recognized Ford this year as an Energy leader is because Ford is implementing programs in their manufacturing plants.

Some of these programs include;


Ford, in partnership with Detroit Edison, developed a fumes-to-fuel system that uses paint booth gases to generate electricity. The system captures paint booth fumes, a plant’s largest source of CO2 emissions, and then uses them to produce electricity. A production-scale pilot project at Ford Michigan Truck Plant represents the final test of the system before full-scale implementation by the end of the decade.

Geothermal Energy

The Lima ( Ohio) Engine Plant uses cold water from two abandoned limestone quarries on the property to cool a portion of the plant and its equipment. The geothermal system saved Ford $300,000 in installation costs “ compared with the cost of installing a traditional cooling tower “ and saved more than $300,000 in annual operating costs. The system earned the 2005 State of Ohio Governors Award for Excellence in Energy, and the Design-Build Institute of Americas 2005 National Award.

Alternative Energy Sources

The Wayne (Michigan) Assembly Plant uses landfill gasses to heat and cool the facility, reducing the consumption of natural gas. The Ford Rouge Visitor Center in Dearborn, Mich., houses a photovoltaic array, a solar thermal collector and an automated building management system. The adjacent Dearborn Truck Plant holds the world’s largest living roof that reduces solar thermal load while ground cover converts CO2 into oxygen.

Ford alone has put more than 1.6 million ethanol-capable, or flex-fuel, vehicles on the road in the last decade. In the Senate meeting, Cischke emphasized the need for the rapid production of renewable fuels and the infrastructure to support them. At the 2006 Chicago Auto show, Ford announced the expansion of E85 availability in Illinois and Missouri, with other states to follow. Ford has an ongoing partnership with VeraSun Energy, a renewable energy company.

At the beginning of 2007, Chicago will have Ford’s hybrids on its roads as taxis. Currently, Mazda is getting feedback about it’s Mazda Tribute hybrid from some firefighters in Southern California.

There are approximately 700 ethanol stations that serve E85 (ethanol 85 percent, gasoline 15 percent), out of approximately 170,000 gas stations available in the United States. If the United States is ever going to get off the dependence of foreign oil we need to start looking closer at our energy infrastructure.

The 2005 & 2006 Ford flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) are:

Ford Explorer
Ford Taurus
Ford Crown Victoria
Mercury Grand Marquis
Mercury Mountaineer
Mercury Sable
Lincoln Town Car
Ford F150 (8 cyl, 5.4L 2WD & 4WD)

2006 Ford hybrids

Ford Escape
Mercury Mariner
Mazda Tribute

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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