Since June, the INEEL has purchased about 63,500 gallons of E10, a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline. Site drivers and mechanics haven't seen any changes in performance or maintenance needs of vehicles with the change.
What officials have seen by using E10 is a reduction of between 4,200 and 6,400 gallons of petroleum-based gasoline fuel used, and another way to comply with federal mandates such as the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and Energy Policy Act of 1992. And, using E10 contributes to the national effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
Ethanol is alcohol made primarily from corn, although it can be made from potatoes, agricultural wastes, grasses, wood and other low-value biomass such as municipal waste. A renewable fuel, it is produced in many locations around the country, but primarily in the Midwest, as well as in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.
The INEEL, along with the rest of the federal government, is mandated to reduce the use of petroleum fuel and the resulting harmful exhaust emissions. Some of the reductions can come by replacing petroleum products with alternative fuel, by improving fuel economy of government vehicles and by reducing the miles driven by government fleets.
The INEEL has incorporated all three strategies. By using E10, the INEEL has cut its petroleum use between 7 percent to 10 percent. Officials are now considering using E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline).
The INEEL has been using natural gas for an alternative fuel in its fleet since 1996. Seven of the Laboratory's 77 buses used in daily operations run on clean-burning liquefied natural gas. (The INEEL has 102 buses to provide for
Contact: Teri Ehresman
DOE/Idaho National Laboratory