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Research Partnership to Evaluate Effectiveness of E85 Flex-Fuel Vehicles

Rochester Institute of Technology and the County of Monroe, New York have created a research partnership to assess the performance of the County’s fleet of E85 flex-fuel vehicles.

RIT’s Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) will work with the County Department of Environmental Services to analyze the environmental and economic impact of these vehicles and assist the county in determining a future course for the integration of additional alternative energy technologies into their operations.

Throughout the course of the research, the center will be performing a number of laboratory and field studies on the County’s “green fleet” to quantify the impact of ethanol on propulsion system durability, reliability, vehicle availability and life-cycle cost. Monroe County maintains a fleet of 78 hybrid-electric and E-85 flex-fuel vehicles.

CIMS will also be looking to work with regional technology companies seeking to test, validate and launch alternative energy products.

Additionally, the RIT-County partnership will study the potential expansion of the E85 vehicle fleet, explore additional types of flex-fuel vehicles that meet County work requirements, analyze methods to increase the amount of biodiesel used in County vehicles and research the long-range outlook for fuel cells and hydrogen power.

RIT’s work leverages a 4-year, Department of Transportation grant that set up the center’s Alternative Energy and Life Cycle Engineering Program in 2006.

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