American Ethanol powers NASCAR Green, innovation

first_imgIt now boasts the largest recycling program in sports, the largest solar-powered sports facility (Pocono Raceway) and a massive tree-planting program to off-set carbon emissions from its Sprint Cup Series races.But fuel is fundamental in racing, and making the decision to switch to a drastically different formula was not only a matter of science but of overall vision.“There was a significant degree of caution from the start and we had to be absolutely certain,’’ said Dr. Mike Lynch, managing director of NASCAR Green Innovation. “We had to take all the risk out through hard work, time and careful analysis. We needed performance without compromise and we’ve ended up with all the good things and no negative trade-offs.’’The 15-percent ethanol blend has transitioned from carburetors to fuel injection engines and from the Car of Tomorrow to the 2013 debut of the Generation-6 cars, thanks to a concerted and diverse effort from NASCAR, its teams, manufacturers and a nearly three-year old partnership with the American Ethanol industry.Hundreds of man-hours and even more manpower went into developing this project through track tests, engineering trials and engine dynos. That effort resulted in an E15 blend that produces 20 percent less emissions from the race cars, and just as importantly, a 9 to 12 horsepower increase.“We’ve come a long way and I really give NASCAR credit for their green initiative,’’ said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, an American Ethanol advocacy group. “This wasn’t something the government made them do or they were forced to do.“I think you have to give NASCAR a lot of credit for being bold enough to undertake the initiative. Not only has (NASCAR Chairman) Brian France talked the talk, but he’s walked the walk. They’ve put over 3 million miles on these cars in practice, qualifying and race conditions without any problems and for us, that’s a real validator of our product.“You couldn’t ask for a tougher testing ground.’’In May, NASCAR will have accumulated four million miles fueled by E15 among NASCAR’s three series without so much as a hiccup or disparaging word. And NASCAR fans, long known for their extreme loyalty, have taken note.According to a study conducted in 2012, NASCAR fans are now 50 percent more likely than non-fans to support the use of ethanol blended gasoline in their own cars. The study also found they are now 100 percent more likely than non-fans to indicate their households are “very green” — all encouraging statistics that show NASCAR it is proceeding in the right direction.”The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, says, ‘Look, if it’s good enough for Jimmie Johnson, it’s good enough for my car,’” Buis said. “And that’s exactly the connection I think we’re making with this partnership.”“I think what’s really impressive about NASCAR is the fans are very well educated,’’ Buis continued. “They follow the sport closely, they listen to people and that was one of the reasons we were attracted to work with NASCAR. We know we have a good product, but it doesn’t matter if you have a good product if you don’t get the message out there.“I like to tell people, there’s no sport more American than NASCAR and no fuel more American than ethanol. It’s a natural fit.’’For more information on NASCAR Green initiatives, visit the official NASCAR Green website here.READ MORE: FULL SERIES COVERAGE• View all articles  • View all videos  • View all photos WATCH: Edwards returns to Victory Lane WATCH: Bowyer hits pit crew member READ: Carl Edwards ends losing streak ___________________________________________________________________________________________We apologize. We are having technical issues with our comment sections and fan community and it is temporarily unavailable. We are actively working on these issues and hope to have it up and running soon. We are also working on enhancements to provide a better forum for our fans. We appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience. READ: Phoenix a different story for Danica One bold initiative and almost four million miles later, NASCAR’s switch to American Ethanol-infused fuel for its race cars has gone so smoothly it’s difficult to imagine a time when the sport wasn’t using it.Not only has the move to Sunoco Green E15 gasoline proven to be an environmentally beneficial decision, it’s actually boosted the performance of the race cars in all three of NASCAR’s marquee series — lowering emissions and increasing horsepower.The ultimate endorsement came when the sport’s favorite son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., declared “a seamless transition” to Green E15 fuel upon winning the 2011 Daytona 500 pole position — the first time out with the American Ethanol blend. And just like that, any doubts or fears that fans or competitors had about such a radical change in fuel were quickly dispelled.“Without fuel, we’re not able to race so there was a lot of pressure on making sure we got it right,’’ said NASCAR Vice President for Competition Robin Pemberton. “We were proud to be able to do that. It wasn’t that long ago we were using leaded fuel, then moved on to unleaded and that was a big change, and then the move to ethanol came just a couple short years after that.“Because it goes under the radar when things are successful, they probably don’t receive the hype they deserve.’’In terms of significance, this ranks right up there. When NASCAR went green five years ago, it went big. Move to American Ethanol ‘a seamless transition’last_img read more

Founders, VCs call for start-ups to innovate, look for opportunities amid COVID-19

first_imgAccording to the Research and Technology Ministry’s National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), only 13 percent of around 1,037 start-ups in Indonesia can scale up their business, while most were reported to be stagnant or dissolved.Ride-hailing start-up giants Gojek and Grab have recently had to retire some of their non-core businesses because of the pandemic’s impact on the companies’ operations.Singapore-based Grab announced in June that it would lay off 360 people, just under 5 percent of its region-wide employees, because of the ongoing crisis. Not long after, Gojek did a headcount cut of 430 workers or around 9 percent of its total workforce, as the company aims to focus on its ride-hailing, food delivery, e-payment and logistics services.Fishery e-commerce start-up Aruna cofounder Utari Octavianty said during the webinar that she pivoted her business in just a week after Indonesia announced rising COVID-19 cases in the country.“Almost all of our products are for exports, but as our logistics were disrupted, we quickly marketed our goods to domestic consumers,” she said. “In times of uncertainty, we can learn to ride the wave.”Aruna recently received US$5.5 million in its latest funding round. The company also reported a 86 percent revenue growth in the first quarter of the year from the same period in 2019.“Start-ups that are negatively affected can look at the room for improvements in their company first. Not every start-up needs to immediately pivot their business,” Amvesindo chairman Jefri Sirait said at the same event.He went on to say that start-ups needed to maintain their liquidity and build runway, which is the calculation on how long a company can survive when income and expenses stay constant.Start-ups need to determine and leverage their competitive advantage at the beginning to become the basis or scalability in the future, according to Jefri.Some venture capital firms (VCs) will consolidate with other VCs to disburse funds amid the pandemic. However, some VCs may hold back their investment plan.“If your start-up has a good product and it needs cash, you can meet with investors, preferably your existing ones, to build up your survival rate,” Jefri said, adding that founders needed to stay prudent but also make quick decisions during this time.Meanwhile, former Jakarta deputy governor and entrepreneur Sandiaga Uno said he saw many start-ups emerge during the pandemic as a sign that Indonesian entrepreneurs could find opportunities in a crisis.He said start-ups could become another kind of “vaccine” as it can provide job opportunities amid a wave of layoffs caused by the pandemic.The government predicts that 2.9 million to 5.2 million workers could lose their jobs during the health crisis as almost all components of economic activities has fallen.“I think we are going to face a new start-up landscape and we won’t experience the pre-COVID situation. Times are changing anyway, and we need to innovate,” he said. “In the current situation, good things come to those who move.”Topics : Adrian advised start-ups in their early stages to focus on building their team and product-market fit, among other measures, while weathering the current situation.Meanwhile, start-ups in the growth stage should focus on scalability and profitability to survive the health crisis and possibly attract new investors.He added that to revive a start-up, founders must also first determine the underlying problem that started the company’s demise in the first place.“If the company is facing a systemic problem, then founders need to rethink their teams, hire new people and build the company up again,” he said. Industry players and venture capitalists have urged start-up founders to innovate and look for opportunities to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.An estimated 15 percent of the country’s start-ups were “severely affected” by the global health crisis between March and May, according to the Venture Capital and Start-Up Indonesia Association (Amvesindo). The figure had gone up to 25 percent by August and is projected to further increase as the pandemic progresses.“In every crisis, start-ups should look for new opportunities or entry points. For existing companies, you can pivot your business to stay resilient,” fintech start-up Investree founder Adrian Gunadi said during a webinar on Thursday.last_img read more