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Monday, May 19, 2014

Owensboro Community and Technical College Shows Off Flex Fuel Cobra Replica to Launch Advanced Fuels Auto Technicians Program

Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC) has launched its Preparing Vehicle Technicians for Advanced Transportation Fuels initiative by unveiling a replica 1965 AC Cobra that runs on 85% ethanol. The initiative is supported by KyCorn and will be the first college program in the state and nation to offer technician training in all of the advanced transportation/alternative fuel vehicle technologies.

"We are thrilled to be part of this alternative fuels education program," said Philip McCoun, KyCorn Promotion Council chairman and farmer from Shelbyville. "KyCorn was approached two years ago to support the modification of the Cobra engine to utilize a higher percentage of fuel ethanol, and we believed that was an excellent way to introduce future auto technicians to the technology."

The initiative objectives include summer academies, student technician training, incumbent worker training, secondary and post-secondary teacher STEM training, and a National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey event to increase public awareness of alternative fuels. The Cobra will be used to promote the initiative at schools and events across the Commonwealth, showcasing flex fuel vehicles and fuel ethanol. The initiative will also provide curriculum on conventional hybrid, plug-in electric, dedicated electric, biodiesel, propane, compressed and liquefied natural gas, and fuel-cell vehicles.

"Our initial investment in OCTC's Cobra project planted the seed to develop an entire training program around advanced and alternative fuels," said McCoun. "Our hope is that the program will produce a workforce that understands how ethanol works and will promote the benefits of our home-grown fuel."
Additional partners of the Preparing Vehicle Technicians for Advanced Transportation Fuels are the Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition, ATech, Atmos Energy, ConsuLab, Cummins Crosspoint, Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence, Kentucky Propane Gas Association, Kentucky Soybean Board, and Owensboro Grain Company. Project partners serve as the project steering committee and provide expertise to specific program areas.

According to Mike Rodgers, OCTC Southeastern Campus Director and head of the Advanced Transportation Division, participating partnership allows them to enhance the connection between education and industry.

"This partnership enhances what we were already doing in the lab, and it allows our faculty to remain on the cutting edge," said Rodgers. "OCTC is dedicated to preparing its students for the 21st century workforce in Kentucky and in the nation by ensuring they are knowledgeable of the evolving technologies transforming the transportation industry."

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