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$4 Million Federal Grant


$4 Million Federal Grant For Two John Fitch Projects

LIME ROCK - The federal government has awarded $4 million to Advanced Power Systems International (APSI), the company with offices at White Hollow Farm that was founded by John Fitch, a former world-renowned race car driver and the designer and engineer of the race track at Lime Rock Park.

U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Johnson announced the award Monday and said it is part of a $44.6 million appropriation for nine defense projects for Connecticut companies. The money was awarded to APSI for two projects involving the Fitch Fuel Catalyst. Three million dollars will be spent by the U.S. Navy to purchase permanent pre-combustion fuel catalysts from APSI for 4,000 of the service's biggest fuel guzzlers, including patrol boats, escort boats, security boats, tugs and workboats.

The Fitch Fuel Catalyst makes engines operate more efficiently so they use less fuel. In some cases, Navy vessels have used as much as 25 percent less fuel when the catalyst was utilized. The other $1 million will be used for further fuel catalyst research on ground-based vehicles. This is the second year the government has invested in APSI. Last year, $500,000 was awarded to the firm for research and evaluation of the catalyst.

"The Fitch Fuel Catalyst refines gasoline and other hydrocarbon fuels immediately before combustion in an engine, thereby increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions in Department of Defense vehicles," according to a press release from Johnson's office.

Fitch, 85, was one of the most famous drivers in American racing history. He was the only American ever invited to drive on the Mercedes-Benz factory team.

In addition to his work at Lime Rock Park, where he was formerly the race track's manager, he also invented the yellow energy-absorbing cones called Fitch Inertial Barriers that are used on highways across the country and have been credited with saving thousands of lives. Fitch is passionately committed to improving car safety on and off the race track and he is also working on a safety harness that could help prevent fatal injuries such as the one that killed NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt.

By Cynthia Hochswender, The Lake Ville Journal


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