21st century businesses confront radically different challenges than those faced in the 20th century. Society demands more of business than just earning a profit on the products and services provided. Defour Group LLC assists businesses grapple with the ever-changing world of public expectations, government regulations and shifting global priorities. Defour Group LLC associates have been leaders in cutting edge policy concepts such as emission trading, global climate change and innovation policy.
Past and current clients include the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the Progressive X Prize Consortium, the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers and the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Defour Group LLC analyzes private and public efforts to impact the current business environment. Past and current Defour projects include:
Every business today confronts unique public policy problems. Can the Defour Group help you better understand the challenges facing your business?
Eco-Performance Fuel: The Next Generation Motor Fuel
FENTON, MI (October 14, 2014)
Remember the era of the muscle car, when high compression engines routinely put out 400 or more horsepower? With little fanfare, automakers, government laboratories and ethanol producers are developing a new fuel which could breathe new life into this old technology. Unlike the 1960’s, however, these engines would not generate more horsepower, but rather fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
In the 1960s, muscle cars required premium gasoline with a very high octane rating. Such a fuel was produced inexpensively by adding lead to gasoline. Concerns about the toxic effects of lead and its impact on catalytic converters, however, resulted in the US Environmental Protection Agency banning its use. Auto manufacturers were then forced to reduce the compression ratio in their engines to accommodate the lower octane unleaded gasoline.
Oil companies have searched for an octane-boosting additive ever since lead was taken out of gasoline. Unfortunately, all such additives had negative environmental effects. Therefore, until recently, the only way to make premium gasoline with a higher octane rating than regular was through expensive extra refining.
In the last decade, however, oil companies have been increasing the amount of ethanol in their gasoline. Today, nearly all gasoline sold in the U.S. contains about 10 percent ethanol. In the process of blending ethanol and gasoline, however, the oil companies realized that this ethanol also increased the octane level of the gasoline by 3 octane points. This allowed them lower the octane of the gasoline they blended with the ethanol, resulting in a significant savings at the pump for the consumer.
This led researchers and engineers to wonder what would happen if even more ethanol were added to the fuel. It turns out that if the ethanol blend of gasoline was increased from today’s 10 percent to about 25 – 30 percent, a new fuel is created. This fuel, which the Defour Group calls “Eco-Performance Fuel,” has the octane of today’s premium gasoline but costs less to make than today’s regular grade gasoline. This higher octane allows car manufacturers to increase compression ratios in their engines to levels not seen since the 1960s. When these engines are run on the new fuel, testing shows they have twice the torque, better gas mileage and lower greenhouse gas emissions than a comparable car designed to run on today’s regular gasoline.
Sometime, in the not too distant future, you may be driving a vehicle designed to use Eco-Performance Fuel. The low throaty sound of high compression engines will once again be heard throughout the land. This time, however, these beauties will require a lot less gasoline!