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Contact: Kathryn Courbe, Weber McGinn

USA Today
Tuesday, August 3, 1999
By Earle Eldridge

Grass clippings, leaves, sawdust, cardboard, banana skins, junk mail and other trash could become fuel for the family car.

Pure Energy, a New York-based company working with Princeton University, has created a fuel that's a blend of ethanol, natural gas liquids, a solvent, and up to 70% cellulosic wastes -trash with fibers that create energy when burned.

It can be used in flexible fuel vehicles that can run on gasoline or ethanol. Such vehicles are sold primarily for government and business fleets but also are available for consumers. Models currently available include the Ford Taurus sedan and Ranger pickup and all Chrysler minivans.

Philadelphia has agreed to a one-year test of the fuel, called P-Series, in its municipal flexible-fuel vehicles.

Last year, the Department of Energy approved P-Series as an alternative fuel, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson estimated it could replace about 1 billion gallons of gasoline annually by 2005.

But the company faces several challenges before P-Series is ready for everyday use. It would have to build refineries around the nation, each costing $120 million to $150 million to build. And the company would likely need the support of the oil industry to set up pumps at existing gas stations.

Pure Energy says the fuel emits about 35% less hydrocarbons and 15% less carbon monoxide than gasoline. And it's sulfur-free.

Stephen Paul, a Princeton University research physicist who helped develop P-Series, says "The real issue is the cleanliness of the fuel." He says the fuel will never replace gasoline because there is not enough trash generated annually. But "we would have a source for some of our energy needs rather than depending on foreign oil."

Copyright 1999, USA TODAY. Reprinted with permission.

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