On Friday, Dec. 14, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture awarded the 2012 Paul Dana Excellence in Bioenergy Leadership Award to Thorntons, Inc. Joseph Kelsay, agricultural director, recognized the gasoline retailer at the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Holiday Reception at Piper's West in Indianapolis.
The award was established by Governor Mitch Daniels and Lt. Governor Becky Skillman to honor the memory of Dana's career in the Indy Racing League and his support for the growing biofuel industry in Indiana, after his death in a racing accident in 2006.
From a single facility in New Albany, Ind. to the hundreds of locations which revolutionized the convenience store and gasoline retail model, Thorntons, Inc. has encouraged the growth of mid-level ethanol and E85 blend production and use in the state for years.
Indiana had 13 ethanol production plants in 2011, fueling the state's present 145 E85 pumps with the water soluble, non-toxic, biodegradable fuel source. As one of the largest states for soybean production the biodiesel industry is an important piece of Indiana's economic composition, using an estimated 61 million bushels if soybeans for the alternative fuel's production in 2006 and 2007.
Other winners include the Indianapolis Department of Transportation for Propane/Autogas Award, Palmer Trucks for the Compressed Natural Gas Award, the Ivy Tech Automotive Department for its support of multiple alternative fuels, and the North Central Co-op for Biodiesel Blends.
The Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition is dedicated to lowering the consumption of foreign oil and deploying alternative fuels within the state. From the coalition's start with 11 counties in 1999 they've expanded to two-thirds of Indiana's public and private fleet by hosting educational events, networking opportunities, creating green jobs, reducing dependence on oil, and improving air quality.
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