New ethanol-diesel project: John Deere teams up with corn growers

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The commercialization of ethanol-blended diesel fuel (E-diesel) took a step forward with the announcement of a new research project partnership among the National Corn Growers Association, John Deere, the Renewable Fuels Association, the Illinois Department of Commerce & Community Affairs and corn growers from six states, including Ohio.

The two-year project will evaluate engine durability, emissions, compatibility with engines and component parts, safety and actual field testing in the 4.5-, 8.1- and 12-liter John Deere diesel engines for off-road equipment.

E-diesel is a blend of up to 15 percent anhydrous ethanol, up to 5 percent special blending additive (with cetane enhancer), and at least 80 percent of No. 2 diesel. Tests have indicated the fuel can lower particulate emissions by 20 percent to 30 percent, reduce sulfur content, out-perform No. 2 diesel in winter conditions.

The announcement was made during the “2002 Commodity Classic,” in Nashville, Tenn., sponsored by the NCGA and the American Soybean Association.

“Farmers and the general public have used 10 percent ethanol in their cars, but this product can expand the market for ethanol and subsequently grind more corn,” said Boyd Smith, a corn grower from York, Neb.

“These will provide a more complete understanding of E-diesel’s performance and will help commercialize the fuel in off-road equipment,” Smith said.

The NCGA will coordinate project funding among the partners. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs is partially funding the project through a $500,000 alternative energy research grant. Additional financial support is provided by John Deere, the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the Renewable Fuels Association, and state corn checkoff boards from Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas and Ohio.

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