Dutch firm Green Fuel Systems, along with several other companies, has developed flex-fuel conversion kits for the Toyota Prius that cost less than $1,000. Converting our existing fleet to second-generation ethanol could be the best near-term play to directly replace fossil fuels.
Although the concept of a hybrid/biofuel combo has been around for a while, it has (at least in our minds) mostly been in the form of diesel hybrids running on biodiesel (which isn’t going to happen). But what if we could take America’s most fuel efficient car and convert it to run on another domestically-produced renewable fuel: cellulosic ethanol?
It looks like that’s what Green Fuel Systems and a handful of other US-based companies want to do. Although ethanol has been beaten to a pulp by mainstream media, non-food based feedstocks (like switchgrass) are in the pipeline and could be seriously producing in the next five years. If you’re still not convinced, make sure to read this article: Dedicated Energy
Crops Could Replace 30% of Gasoline.
While details on Green Fuel Systems’ specific product are lacking (and it’s not even clear if this is coming to the US), two US-based companies selling the same thing, and their systems are cheaper.
For example, a 4-cylinder flex-fuel conversion kit from Change2E85 costs less than $500. They even have a simple video describing how to install it. We’ve also previously covered AAMCO’s promotion of Flex Fuel US’s kits, and the holy grail: Ford’s prototype flex-fuel Escape plug-in hybrid that gets 88 mpg running on E85.
Converting our existing fleet of vehicles to flex-fuel capability, along with building it into new models, is arguably one of our best plays to reduce fossil fuel dependence in the next 10 years. GM thinks so, which is why by 2012, 50% of their new vehicles will have this capability.