Sunday, September 16, 2007
Alternative Energy Expo
Yesterday I went to the Alternative Energy Expo at the Tucson Convention Center. The exhibition was open on Friday, Sept. 14, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hundreds of people interested in eco-friendly living came to the exhibition. There were approximately 60 exhibitors/vendors at the expo.
My main interest and focus at the expo was automobiles and alternative fuel emission. I learned that there are three types of alternative fuel emissions: 1) biodiesel, 2) Ethanol (E85) and 3) compressed natural gas (CNG).
Something interesting that I never knew about biodiesel is that it is made from soybeans and it is mixed with traditional diesel. Biodiesel can be run on any diesel vehicle. There was an old Mercedes diesel on display at the expo which ran on biodiesel fuel.
According to the brochure for the Alternative Energy Expo, "Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Bioiesel is made through a chemical process called transesterification whereby the glycerin is separated from the fat or vegetable oil... Biodiesel can (also) be made from recycled grease."
Ethanol (E85) is corn derivative. "There are over 75,000 vehicles, called flex-fuel vehicles, registered in the state of Arizona as of 2004 that could run on E85," according to the Alternative Energy Expo brochure. Putting E85 is just like filling your car up at a gas station. You just simply fill it up at a local retail station.
Compressed natural gas (CNG) is not as available in Tucson as E85. However, it is the future. "There is a device called FuelMaker that can be installed at ones home or business that allows you to fuel at home, overnight by hooking into your gas line at home," according to the Alternative Energy Expo brochure.
I spoke to Chad Lindham, regional manager for Clean Energy. Clean Energy is the largest provider of vehicular natural gas in North America with a broad customer base in the refuse, transit, shuttle, taxi, police, interstate and interstate trucking, airport and municipal fleet markets. It's a $120 million dollar per year company. It operates throughout Arizona. Arizona is a huge user of natural gas.
"We fuel 500 buses in Maricopa, 80 buses run by SunTran and 50 school buses in Tucson," said Lindham.
One of the good things about natural gas is that there is no smoke that comes out from the buses.
"Cleaner, cheeper, and domestic. That's our motto," said Lindham.
The goal of Clean Energy is to try to get every trash truck to switch over to CNG, because trash trucks are huge pollutants.
An interesting fact I found out at the expo is that Arizona is the most aggressive state in the United States for alternative fuels. I found this fact to be interesting because you would expect a state like California to be more aggressive, especially with the population increase and the vast pollution in Los Angeles.
The expo was very interesting and it makes me want to go out and buy an alternative fuel vehicle.
Please check out my slideshow!!! There were a lot of amazing cars I saw at the expo.
Also, here are some websites if you are interested...
Alternative Energy Expo site:
Natural Gas Info: