Dr. Mike Lynch - NASCAR interview

Sunoco Green E15 Q&A With NASCAR's Managing Director, Green Inovation, Dr. Mike Lynch As fans know, NASCAR is committed to becoming an environmental leader. Since making this bold declaration several years ago, the sport has taken significant...

Sunoco Green E15 Q&A With NASCAR's Managing Director, Green Inovation, Dr. Mike Lynch

As fans know, NASCAR is committed to becoming an environmental leader. Since making this bold declaration several years ago, the sport has taken significant strides in conservation by introducing impactful programs in recycling, green buildings, carbon neutralization and alternative energy.

Today, NASCAR is taking its strategic commitment to sustainability to new levels.

NASCAR is proud to announce that for the 2011 season, our three national touring series will be using Sunoco Green E15 -- a 15 percent blend made with American ethanol from corn grown by hardworking American farmers across our nation's heartland.

Sunoco Green E15 is good for racing, good for the environment and good for America. While fueling the same close, door-to-door racing that thrills our fans, American ethanol creates tens of thousands of U.S. jobs which can't be outsourced. It helps contribute to American energy independence. And it continues the greening of our sport -- E15 greenhouse gas emissions are 20 percent less compared to a gallon of unleaded gas, according to the EPA.

Dr. Mike Lynch, Managing Director, NASCAR Green Innovation, provides some answers to questions being asked about NASCAR's new fuel and how the sport continues to "go green."

Q.: Why is NASCAR switching to a new fuel?

Lynch: NASCAR has made a commitment to being an environmental leader. Over the past several years, we've rolled out very impactful green programs in recycling, alternative energy and carbon reduction. Now we are announcing Sunoco Green E15 fuel -- a 15 percent ethanol blend using American-made ethanol from corn grown by American farmers. The transition to Sunoco Green E15 takes NASCAR's environmental commitment to the next level. American ethanol creates jobs here in the U.S., helps foster energy independence, and continues the greening of our sport.

Q.: How will this fuel perform differently than the sport's current racing gasoline?

Lynch: The engine builders have been testing the Sunoco Green E15 for several months, and reports have been very positive. In fact, many have reported they're actually getting a little more horsepower with the Sunoco Green E15. We're confident fans will continue to see the same thrilling close, competitive NASCAR racing. A benefit not visible to the human eye is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, based on the EPA's classification of corn ethanol as a Renewable Fuel in the Renewable Fuel Standard-2 released earlier in 2010.

Q.: How much will this cost teams?

Lynch: The transition to Sunoco Green E15 will require nominal costs associated with minor configurations to ensure materials compatibility.

Q.: Isn't it true that ethanol decreases MPG? Will that mean more pit stops during races?

Lynch: E15 generally results in no measurable MPG differences with high-performance engines that take advantage of ethanol's high-octane fuel properties. Whether we see changes in MPG on the track issomething we're asking teams about in testing. We don't think it will be a major change.

Q: Is NASCAR still behind Indy Car and other series running full ethanol?

Lynch: We're racing with Sunoco Green E15 because that's what works best with our engines and is the next step in NASCAR's green initiative. Using American-grown corn helps create jobs and foster energy independence.

Q.: What about sugar-based ethanol? Isn't that the best ethanol alternative?

Lynch: Domestic ethanol reduces our dependence on foreign energy. Since all sugarcane ethanol is made in other countries, it wouldn't help us reduce our dependence on foreign energy. We need our own, domestic energy sources.

Q.: Does using corn for ethanol raise the price of food?

Lynch: We are not the experts on the very complicated issue of food pricing. We are standing behind American farmers, who are growing significantly more corn than is needed for food, and will benefit from having a new market for extra corn.

Q.: Is NASCAR moving to fuel injection next year? Is this change related to that?

Lynch: At some point we see fuel injection as a future enhancement to our bio-fuels program. The decision to introduce fuel injection and the timing of the introduction is unrelated to the introduction of E15.

Q.: Is this announcement tied to last week's the EPA decision allowing E15 for consumer use? Is NASCAR now advocating E15 at retail?

Lynch: The development of Sunoco Green E15 came completely independent of the EPA ruling. What we've announced is NASCAR will be using a high performance, next-generation renewable fuel that produces great racing, helping to demonstrate energy independence and supporting our farmers. Drivers on America's roads are free to use whichever blend they like best.

Q.: How is the new fuel manufactured and where is it produced?

Lynch: American ethanol producers are making the ethanol, in addition to ethanol from Sunoco's ethanol plant in Fulton, N.Y., which Sunoco then blends. No new plants are required

Q. Doesn't ethanol production consume a lot of natural gas, diesel fuel and other inputs that produce CO2?

Lynch: Advances in technology, science and engineering in farming and ethanol production have substantially reduced the amount of CO2 emissions related to ethanol. Today's grain ethanol is a low-carbon fuel -- up to 59% cleaner than conventional gasoline. (The entire well-to-wheel Life Cycle Analysis, from production to consumption, can be found in Yale's peer-reviewed study in Journal of Industrial Ecology). With further developments in farming, ethanol production and ethanol marketing, this American fuel will get only cleaner.

Q.: Can this fuel hurt small engines -- boats, lawnmowers, tractors, etc.?

Lynch: Our expertise is with NASCAR. Our engine builders have tested the Sunoco Green E-15 fuel for the past several weeks have the reports have been very positive.

Q.: So this is the final fuel for NASCAR? Or a work in progress?

Lynch: NASCAR essentially had the same fuel for more than 50 years. In Sunoco's six years as official fuel partner, they changed to unleaded fuel, and now to an E15 blend. We will continue to change with the times and as technology evolves.

Q. Will you be choosing E15 when it comes to a pump near you?

Lynch: Absolutely. I'll be thinking of our American Farmers and American Ethanol refiners every time I fill up.

-source: nascar

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