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Fwd: High School dropout turns Diesel Engine Conversion Specialist

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  • mzsuzuki@aol.com
    ____________________________________ From: QuietStormTJS To: Mzsuzuki Sent: 6/9/2008 6:58:24 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time Subj: High School dropout turns Diesel
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 9, 2008
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      From: QuietStormTJS
      To: Mzsuzuki
      Sent: 6/9/2008 6:58:24 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
      Subj: High School dropout turns Diesel Engine Conversion Specialist

      Biofuel-Powered by Design
      By Lindsey Irwin/staff writer/Article: July 2007 Issue of Bioiesel Magazine
      Biodiesel is moving into the world of posh consumer sport utility vehicles
      thanks to diesel engine conversion specialist Johnathan Goodwin. His fuel
      economy- and horsepower-enhanced vehicles have been featured on MTV’s Pimp My
      Ride, sold on eBay and have now caught the attention of some high-profile
      figures, including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
      He’s the one they call when all the others say, “It can’t be done.” His
      peers refer to him as the "foremost authority on Duramax diesel conversions of
      all vehicles." His work is in such high demand that he could sell one
      converted diesel engine Hummer an hour, if he wanted. Although he has a right to
      brag about his innovations, Jonathan Goodwin’s quiet, reserved nature
      communicates his preference for a low profile. That’s not quite possible, however, as
      the Wichita, Kan., native’s talent keeps him in the spotlight. In fact, his
      upcoming conversions are going to be taped for a television series that is set
      to air on the Discovery Channel, and one of his diesel conversions involves
      California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s personal vehicle. Goodwin’s projects
      are cutting edge, but he insists that he’s simply a hard-worker and a
      determined problem solver, doing what he loves. "I’m not a chemist, I’m not a
      scientist or an electrical engineer," Goodwin says. "I’m just one of those people
      that will take something that I’m interested in and I can’t leave it alone,
      and I will push it to the highest edge."
      Now the head of two of his own companies, Jonathan Goodwin H-Line
      Conversions, a Hummer conversion business in Wichita, Kan., and SAE Energy, a
      technology development entity, he got his start working on motorcycle and all-terrain
      vehicle engines when he was 15 years old. In 1998, Goodwin converted his
      first Hummer, an H1, to a Duramax diesel engine after a few roadside repairs,
      running it at high speeds through a pond, pushing all the vehicle’s limits and
      bending all the rods in the motor. He decided to drop in the new engine to
      modify a few complications and gain more horsepower and has been refining issues
      associated with the Hummer line ever since.
      Goodwin began to hone in on the environmental and fuel-efficiency aspects of
      his conversions at the request of a client and since then his business
      opportunities have snowballed. In 2006, Goodwin partnered with a group called the
      EcoTrek Foundation to convert the perceived worst gas-guzzler of all sport
      utility vehicles (SUVs)—the Hummer H2—to run on biodiesel rather than
      conventional gasoline. Goodwin and environmentalist and auto enthusiast Tom Holm,
      founder of EcoTrek and the host of Outdoor Life Network’s “Adventure Highway”
      television series, aligned with General Motors Corp. (GM) to customize the
      vehicle with a Duramax LBZ engine, an Allison M1000 transmission, sustainable
      soy-foam seats and nonpetroleum-based tires, along with several other upgraded
      features. Needless to say, the EcoTrek H2 Hummer was a hit at the 2006
      Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, the premier automotive
      specialty performance products trade show that attracts more than 100,000 industry
      professionals each year. “We’ve gotten a lot of interest with mass
      transportation and some fleets of 800 are just waiting for us to come out and offer this
      to them,” Goodwin says. “We’re getting close to wanting to do that, but we’
      ve just been having so much fun refining the technology. It’s been
      Hot Commodity
      Almost immediately following the SEMA Show, Goodwin received a call from
      Martin Tobias, the CEO of Imperium Renewables, with an out-of-the-ordinary
      pitch. He wanted to convert a beat-up classic American muscle car to run on
      biodiesel for a special Earth Day episode of MTV Network’s “Pimp My Ride” (PMR)
      television show. Goodwin agreed and flew out to Galpin Auto Sports’ garage in
      Southern California to begin work earlier this year. After 500 hours of taping
      and build time, the outcome was the ideal “green machine”—an 800 horsepower
      biodiesel-powered 1965 Chevrolet Impala that gets 25 miles per gallon (mpg).
      Not only did Goodwin convert the engine despite skepticism from producers of
      the show, but the car also demonstrated the sheer performance that can be
      achieved using the renewable fuel. The upgraded Impala raced a Lamborghini at
      the Pomona Raceway and left it in the dust. “I’m glad that I was able to show
      them that this diesel engine running on canola oil can pretty much yield all
      the power that you want,” Goodwin says.
      When the green machine covered a quarter mile in about 12 seconds it caught
      a lot of attention. Rap artist Dr. Dre offered to purchase the vehicle dubbed
      the “Bio Rocket,” and Tobias and Schwarzenegger were in attendance for the
      race during the final day of the PMR shooting. Both are having their personal
      vehicles converted by Goodwin this summer. “Governor Schwarzenegger came
      right up and started talking to me about the conversion, and I introduced myself
      as the person who had done it,” Goodwin says. “The next thing you know we
      were over there talking about his Jeep Grand Wagoneer and we are now in the
      middle of negotiations on converting that.” Goodwin is putting a Duramax diesel
      engine into a 2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT for Tobias, and adding his patented
      ethanol fuel injection technology that will allow the car to get 30 mpg and
      add 110 percent horsepower to somewhere around 800, conservatively, Goodwin
      says. The vehicle will have a number of customized changes, including no
      chrome parts, he says.
      Goodwin will then start converting Schwarzenegger’s 1987 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
      to run on biodiesel. GM has also talked to Goodwin about having him build an
      H2 Bio/Hydrogen Hummer for the governor, a dual-fuel technology vehicle that
      can run on both biodiesel and hydrogen. This would “pretty much just emit
      water and vegetable oil,” he says. A similar process may take place with one of
      the governor’s old military-style H1 Hummers. Details of all the conversions
      Goodwin has planned will be captured by the Discovery Channel and a German
      television channel comparable to National Geographic, which began filming its
      first installment in early June. Goodwin says another possible show topic wo
      uld cover the work he is doing on biodiesel engine conversions in offshore
      pleasure boats. Portions of the series will be taped in high definition, and all
      the conversions will be completed by the end of the summer, so the vehicles
      can be displayed at the 2007 SEMA show in late October.
      Goodwin says the response from his participation in the PMR episode has been
      overwhelming, along with the questions and comments. His conversions also
      seem to have had an effect on GM. GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner announced in
      February that all vehicles in the Hummer 2010 model year will be
      renewable-fuel compatible, including an H2 with the same Duramax diesel engine, as well
      as a V8 E85 Hummer H3. If the interest and demand is any indicator then there
      is certainly a market for vehicles that can run on biofuels, Goodwin says.
      In early June, Goodwin and his team were just getting settled into SAE Energy
      ’s new workshop, a 1,000-square-foot space in Wichita. “Things are kind of
      a mess but there has just been a huge demand for what we are doing, so we had
      to step it up a little bit,” he says. While the majority of his projects
      have focused on biodiesel, Goodwin has developed an H1 Hummer that is completely
      computer controlled and can run on several different fuels, including
      propane, natural gas, ethanol and hydrogen. Once the dust settles, Goodwin plans to
      begin work on a specialized vehicle for himself—a bioelectric H3 Hummer. His
      design will feature a four-cylinder biodiesel-powered Isuzu motor, which
      already gets 50 mpg, that will power the batteries for the vehicle’s electric
      motor. The electric motors have 2,000 pounds of torque, that can propel the car
      from zero to 60 miles per hour in under five seconds, he says. “I am really
      excited about doing that because I’m going to personally be driving the
      wheels off of that one,” he says. “I’m going to play with that one quite a bit.”

      Lindsey Irwin is a Biodiesel Magazine staff writer. Reach her at
      lirwin@... or (701) 746-8385.

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