AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A Detroit-area
brownfield site was anything but brown this year due to a unique experiment
by a Michigan State University researcher. Sunflowers, corn, soybeans and
other crops lent their colors to a section of the former dump site under
the watchful eye of Professor Kurt Thelen, Ph.D.
Thelen has partnered with DaimlerChrysler, the State of Michigan, the
United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and NextEnergy of
Detroit in a project to reuse the former dump site to research and develop
better renewable fuels. He is leading the investigation into the
possibility that crops can be grown on former industrial sites for use in
ethanol or biodiesel fuel production. His first crops of soybeans, corn,
sunflower, canola and switchgrass -- harvested this fall -- will be tested
for their potential to be refined into renewable fuels.
The Rose Township Project will serve as a model for potential reuse of
hundreds of Superfund and brownfield sites nationwide. The EPA has endorsed
the research under the agency's Return to Use initiative, designed to
encourage the reuse of Superfund sites. Approximately two acres of the 110-
acre site are being used for research.
"This site may seem like a drop in the bucket, but we're looking at the
possibility of taking land that isn't productive and using it to both learn
and produce," said Professor Thelen. "The research we're conducting in Rose
Township could have major implications for both rural and urban brownfield
sites nationwide. If I had a brownfield in my neighborhood, I know I'd
prefer it be 'greened' and put to a constructive use."
"Bio-fuels represent a huge opportunity to reduce our nation's
consumption of petroleum," said Deb Morrissett, Vice President - Regulatory
Affairs for the Chrysler Group. "The Rose Township Project could give us a
homegrown solution to our energy, environmental and economic challenges,
and a chance to return these contaminated lands to use."
Fuels produced in Thelen's research will be tested at the National
Biofuels Energy Laboratory located at NextEnergy Center, the headquarters
of Michigan's non-profit alternative energy business accelerator program.
"This research, and related work here at NextEnergy, will further position
Michigan as a leader in the national effort to reduce our dependence on oil
and reduce the impact of transportation on our environment," said
NextEnergy CEO Jim Croce.
DaimlerChrysler is a global leader among automakers in using and
promoting renewable fuel sources. More than 15,000 Jeep(R) Liberty CRD
diesels have already been delivered to customers running on B5, a fuel
comprising 5 percent biodiesel and 95 percent conventional diesel made from
petroleum. In early 2007, DaimlerChrysler will launch the Jeep Grand
Cherokee CRD with 3.0-liter, common rail, turbo-diesel engine, and the
Dodge Ram diesel, both of which also will be fueled with B5 at the factory.
These vehicles are also approved for regular use with B5 biodiesel fuel.
The company has emerged as the leader in supporting the development of a
national B20 -- 20 percent biodiesel fuel -- standard, and has approved the
use of B20 in the 2007 Dodge Ram for commercial, government and military
In 2007, DaimlerChrysler will produce more than 250,000 Flexible Fuel
Vehicles (Fives) capable of running on E85 fuel, conventional gasoline or
any combination of the two fuels. The company's FFV fleet will increase to
nearly 500,000 in 2008. The 2007 FFV lineup includes:
* The Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander, Dodge Durango and Chrysler
Aspen SUVs (4.7-liter engine)
* Dodge Ram and Dodge Dakota pickups (4.7-liter engine)
* Chrysler Sebring sedan (2.7-liter engine)
* Dodge Caravan, Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans
The Rose Township site was used by waste haulers for the unauthorized
disposal of oils, paint sledges and solvents in the late 1960s. More than
5,000 drums of waste were removed from the site between 1979 - 1986. While
DaimlerChrysler wasn't responsible for all the pollution at the Rose
Township site, an agreement was reached between all responsible parties and
the company took over the cleanup project in 1988.
The Chrysler Group, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., produces
Chrysler, Jeep(R), Dodge and Mopar(R) brand vehicles and products. The
company increased worldwide sales in 2005 by five percent to 2.83 million
vehicles, making the Chrysler Group the only North American-based automaker
to achieve a sales increase last year. Its product lineup features some of
the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, the
Jeep Commander and the Dodge Charger. The DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund,
the company's philanthropic arm, gave $26 million in grants in 2005. The
Chrysler Group is a unit of DaimlerChrysler AG, the world's fifth largest
automaker, which produces passenger and commercial vehicles including the
Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, smart and Freightliner brands.
For more information on the EPA's Return to Use initiative, visit their
website at http://epa.gov/superfund/programs/recycle .
SOURCE Chrysler Group