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For Immediate Release October 1, 1999
Media Contact: Bill Taylor   (803) 725-2889


SRS Vehicles Begin Era Of Alternative Fuels

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Aiken S.C. (Sept. 28, 1999) - The Savannah River Site (SRS) began a new era of alternative fuel use today when special ethanol fuel became available in two 10,000 gallon fuel storage tanks that went into operation in the A and H areas. The E85 ethanol fuel, a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent unleaded gasoline, will allow a new fleet of alternative fuel vehicles (AFV's) to begin running on the alternative fuel immediately.

Ethanol, a renewable energy source, is made from American grown corn by-products. The E85 ethanol fuel blends ethanol with unleaded gasoline and other hydrocarbons that enhance ignition, especially at low temperatures. The E85 fuel burns cleaner than gasoline due to fewer highly-volatile components and also produces fewer emissions.

To date, SRS has received 142 AFV's; an additional 38 are expected to arrive in the immediate future. The new vehicles will include 28 Chrysler mini-vans, 60 Ford Ranger pickups, and 92 Ford Taurus sedans. The vehicles run on either unleaded gasoline or the E85 ethanol and are part of a Department of Energy and a government-wide effort to increase the use of AFV's. Onboard computers in the vehicle read the fuel type and automatically adjust to efficiently run on the fuel being delivered to the engine.

Under the Energy Policy Act of 1992, federal government vehicle fleets have been required to gradually increase the percentage of AFV's. For 1999, the requirement called for 75 percent of all newly acquired vehicles to be capable of operating on alternative fuels. At SRS the newly acquired vehicles will exceed the standard, with 80 percent of new vehicles capable of running on either E85 ethanol or unleaded gasoline.

"We studied which type of alternative fuel vehicle would work best for SRS," said DOE Savannah River Operations Office Fleet Manager, Tom Walker. "The option we chose was the system that gave us a vehicle that could use both the alternative fuel and was capable of using regular unleaded gasoline. This will allow our employees to use the vehicles for off-site trips."

Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV's) have operated in the SRS fleet for two years operating on regular unleaded gasoline. There are approximately 1400 vehicles in the SRS fleet.

"By converting a portion of our fleet to vehicles that use the E85 fuel, SRS will be among the standard bearers in the federal government," said DOE Savannah River Operations Office Manager Greg Rudy. "Additionally, we will be doing our part in reducing the Nation's reliance on imported oil, providing a stimulus for domestic industry, and reducing pollutants in the atmosphere."

The Savannah River Site's mission is to safely and securely fulfill responsibilities in the stewardship of the Nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, nuclear materials, and the environment.




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