The Iowa Army National Guard is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the deployment of ethanol. More than half o f its 577
non-tactical vehicles a t Camp Dodge nowrunonE85thankstoaconcerted commitment to meet o r exceed Department o f Defense (DOD) sustainability goals for the U.S. Army.
Camp Dodge, located in central Iowa where the Iowa Army National Guard’s fleet of vehicles is housed, has been incorporating flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) into its operations for the past three years. To do so, the base began by converting some o f its existing conventional vehicles t o be able t o operate on high- level ethanol blends.
Camp Dodge shop foreman Jim Russell worked with Chicago-based Flex Fuel U.S., which offers EPA-certified conversion kits that government fleets can order through the U.S. General Services Administration. Flex Fuel U.S. provided training and certification o n kit installations. Russell can now install a kit in two hours. As of July, he and two technicians had completed 5 0 conversions at the cost of about $900 per vehicle.
Initially, some drivers were hesitant about the switch to E85, so Russell took time to give tours under the hood and show side-by-side fuel samples o f E85 and gasoline. The drivers were quickly won over once they understood E85 and experienced its performance. “The performance of the patrol cars is awesome. We took our military police off E85 during the coldest winter weather, and they were beating down our door t o get back to it,” Russell said.
This positive experience with Flex Fuel U.S. conversion kits’ performance has continued to be validated. Rigorous testing of the kits by Oak Ridge National Laboratory was completed with conclusions that became available in April 2012. This testing was more thorough and comprehensive than what the EPA Certification for conversion kits requires.
The Iowa Army National Guard has purchased more E85 vehicles and now over half of the 577 non-tactical vehicles a t Camp Dodge run on E85. The FFVs are saving about $200,000 annually in fuel costs. The vehicle technicians have also found that they no longer have to clean out the carbon build up from the intakes of vehicles that run on E85. With Iowa being the nation’s top ethanol producer, their increased use o f E85 is a win-win for Iowa’s economy and leadership in energy independence.
Iowa Clean Cities Coordinator Stephanie Weisenbach said, “They are ‘walking the talk’ in terms o f reducing petroleum use and advancing alternative fuel markets. Their leadership serves to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”
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