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Green Car of the Year Touring California on Synthetic Fuel

October 20, 2010

A pair of Audi A3’s are currently making a 1000-mile trek across California on clean burning synthetic RenDiesel® fuel.  The Audi A3 TDI was named Green Car of the Year for 2010.  2009’s Green Car was a Jetta TDI.

Audi's A3 TDI, 2010 Green Car of the Year.

“With many thousands of miles already behind the wheel of Audi’s outstanding A3 TDI over the past year, Green Car Journal editors are well acquainted with the model’s thriftiness and fun-to-drive nature,” said Ron Cogan, Editor and Publisher of theGreen Car Journal and Editor of  “Running on a 100% low carbon fuel will make this 1,000 mile journey all the more satisfying.”

The Green Car of the Year Tour™ will arrive at the Petersen Automotive Museum on Thursday, October 21, where an A3 TDI will be added to the museum’s Alternate Power exhibit. This exhibit showcases historic and modern ‘clean’ vehicles that run on alternatives fuels and electric drive.

This brings the venerable diesel engine, first demonstrated in Augsburg, Germany by Rudolf Diesel, to a new level of practical and sustainable relevance.  It also brings Diesel’s concept full circle. Rudolf Diesel never intended his invention to be run on cheap, dirty petroleum fuel…his vision was a clean, environmentally friendly vegetable oil powered engine.  He demonstrated his motor running on peanut oil at the 1900 Paris Worlds Fair.

The sophisticated Audi’s utilize the turbo “clean”-diesel power plant developed jointly with VW and Mercedes.  But, like all diesel engines it runs efficiently on a wide range of fuels including biodiesel and advanced synthetics like RenDiesel®.

Rudolph Diesel would approve.

RenDiesel® provides a viable solution that can be deployed today to minimize the transportation sector’s environmental impact. The renewable RenDiesel® to be produced at the Rialto Project is expected to reduce GHG emissions on a lifecycle basis by as much as 97% over conventional diesel fuel and by a comparable amount over electric vehicles. A vehicle using RenDiesel® is also expected to be as much as two times more fuel efficient than one running on ethanol. RenDiesel® contains approximately 60% more energy per gallon than ethanol and diesel engines typically achieve 20-40% more miles per gallon than gasoline engines. RenDiesel® also produces fewer volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions than ethanol or traditional diesel.

Rentech has made a 25% strategic investment in ClearFuels Technology Inc. a biomass gasification and project development company. ClearFuels owns a proprietary flexible biomass gasification technology platform that converts multiple rural cellulosic biomass feedstocks such as sugarcane bagasse and virgin wood waste into clean syngas suitable for integration with synthesis gas-to-liquids technologies.

Rentech synthetic fuels are derived from natural biomass feedstocks.

Over the course of 20 years, more than $20 million has been invested in the development of the technology underlying the highly efficient ClearFuels HEHTR technology platform. Between 1987 and 2004, Pearson Technologies, Inc. developed and tested the underlying biomass gasification technology at a 5 ton per day pilot scale facility in Mississippi, converting a wide range of feedstocks including bagasse, wood waste, rice straw and corn stover, into syngas during over 10,000 hours of operation. From 2005 to 2007, ClearFuels co-funded additional testing of the gasification process for the conversion of bagasse into syngas. Multiple third parties, including Idaho National Laboratory and Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, have independently validated the results of the biomass gasification testing at the pilot facility. ClearFuels has since further developed the HEHTR technology platform with its EPC and fabrication partners.

For more information on gasification or the role it plays in clean energy production, please visit If you are a gasification technology provider and have questions or comments, please contact Rentech at

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