Toledo joins with firm to test ethanol fuelWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The City of Toledo is partnering with a local startup company, SuGanit Systems, to test the firm’s formula for ethanol fuel produced from non-food cellulose known as biomass material.
The City of Toledo will run a pilot program to test SuGanit’s ethanol fuel in three city vehicles this summer. The program will include tests for emissions, miles per gallon and cost differentials, according to Ken Neidert, commissioner of fleet and facility operations for the city.
SuGanit’s formula for biofuel will be used as a 10 percent mix with gasoline for the pilot program with city vehicles. Once in production, the fuel will be stored in a double-wall tank at the City’s Streets Bridges and Harbor Facility on West Central Ave. near the Interstate-75 and I-475 interchange.
Neidert also said the City of Toledo will be testing the use of propane to run 10 police vehicles that are Ford Crown Victoria models this year. That test will begin as soon as appropriations for it become available, he added.
SuGanit Systems was founded by Praveen Paripati to develop the ethanol product from research being conducted by Sasidhar Varanasi, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Toledo.
UT developed and licensed the technology to SuGanit and Paripati. Varanasi continues to work on the refinement of the ethanol product in laboratories at the College of Engineering where SuGanit Systems currently operates from an incubator space.
“The City of Toledo is providing us with an opportunity for a pilot program to test the ethanol made from non-food cellulose biomass,” Paripati said at a May 27 press conference. “We could not have reached this point without the research conducted at the university, and help of [Regional Growth Partnership (RGP)] and the Port Authority.”
RGP and Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority helped SuGanit Systems to obtain a $997,000 grant from the Third Frontier Alternative Energy Program of Ohio’s Department of Development. The funds will be used to test and produce the ethanol product for commercial use.
Paripati said that it would create 20 to 25 jobs for the pilot program and later as many as 100 jobs for the production of the ethanol. They expect to produce as much as 20 million gallons per year when full-scale production begins in the next 18 to 24 months.
“It’s as green as it gets using waste products to produce ethanol for fuel,” said Mark Sobczak, president of Toledo City Council, who recognized the partnership involving the city, SuGanit, Port Authority, RGP and UT.
“It’s part of the future where Northwest Ohio is going with technology developed at UT,” said Megan Reichert-Kral, director of incubation for the Office of Research Development at UT.
“Toledo has been recognized as the Glass city for many years but there will come a day 20 years from now when people will know Toledo as an alternative energy community,” said Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.