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New "Wet Ethanol" Auto Debuts

The nation's first operational hydrous "wet ethanol" automobile will be demonstrated this week in South Dakota.

It runs on a 50% water-ethanol mixture

A new patented sparkplug, called Smartplug, provides a "blow torch" ignition hot enough to explode an ethanol-water mixture, thus creating what many describe as an internal combustion steam engine. It is already in limited use by the military and in some airplanes and is being investigated by snowmobile and ATV manufacturers.

"The technology greatly reduces emissions, let's machines run on a watery alcohol mixture instead of an oil and gas more, and increases power and efficiency, says Mark Cherry, an Idaho man, who invented the Smartplug. It was developed by Automotive Resources, Inc., of Sandpoint, Idaho.

Much like the nation's first E85 auto, this auto running efficiently on hydrous ethanol could be another huge technological break through, says Jason Freirich, a senior engineering student at SDSU who is heads up the wet ethanol project.

It would make E85 ethanol 50% more efficient because of the increased miles per gallon.

"This exciting technology will assure a more productive use of our agricultural resources," states Orrie Swayze, vice chair of the Farmers Union E-85 Action Team.

The South Dakota Farmers Union is one of the sponsors of the wet ethanol auto visit to the state. Other sponsors include the SDSU Collegiate Farmers Union, SDSU Agriculture Systems Technology/ASABE Club, SDSU Students Association, SDSU University Programs Council, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, Farmers Union Industries, Glacial Lakes Energy, and the Alternative Fuels Institute

The hydrous ethanol powered van will travel to Brookings on Wednesday, Feb. 7 with a presentation/demonstration at the SDSU Agriculture Engineering Shop and Classroom 125 at 7 p.m. On Thursday and Friday the van will be at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown. On Thursday there will be a presentation/demonstration at 1 p.m. in the Lakes Area Technical Institute Automotive Tech building. Saturday the van visits the South Dakota Farmers Union Convention in Huron at the Crossroads Convention Center.

Cherry will give a presentation at 11:15 a.m. and will offer rides throughout the day.

For more information, contact Jason Frerichs at (605) 949-2204 or see the Alternative Fuels Institute Web site at

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