Best of America Tour: Driving Cross Country in a Cellulosic Ethanol Truck

Road trips are an American tradition, and a great way to get attention. Tom Holm is using a road trip to raise awareness for cellulosic ethanol by driving cross country using nothing but the homegrown fuel.

Tom Holm, of EcoTrek, has years of experience modifying cars to run on alternative fuel, among them a biodiesel Hummer H2 and a CNG Kia among others. Tom is driving a Ford Super Duty pickup truck fitted with lots of extra fuel tanks on a tour he calls the “Best of America” tour. “You know, I must have taken a 100 road trips, and I find I can really do some soul searching out here on the road.” More than that though, Tom is preaching the cellulosic chorus by driving the proof to people’s doorsteps. Tom’s huge pickup truck can carry enough cellulosic ethanol, provided by POET, to go over 2,500 miles between fill-ups.

“I’ve had this dream of driving across the country using ethanol, and now I’m finally able to do it.” Like a lot of people, Tom backed away from ethanol a few years ago as over concerns about using food as fuel. But there are other methods of creating ethanol that don’t use edible corn kernels, like cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol uses enzymes to break down husks and corn waste material that would otherwise be buried or burned. This creates cellulose, which can then be fermented into usable fuel, exactly what Tom’s truck has been converted to use.

In the brief time I talked to Tom, I got the feeling that here’s the guy who sees how great America can be again. We can make fuel from food waste, and while it isn’t likely to solve all of our fuel concerns, every ounce of oil we don’t use is a few dollars that aren’t going overseas, and a few pounds of yucky emissions that aren’t going into the air. We’re employing Americans and driving innovation, and cellulosic ethanol deserves a fair shot at the spotlight.

Tom is keeping a blog over at EcoTrek, and hopefully he’ll be updating on his progress on the road. He’s got a lot of events planned between now and the end of the tour in March, so make sure you keep tabs on his progress. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to catch up with him in person when he makes it over to the East coast.

Source: Tom Holm/EcoTrek

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.