AVRC plans vehicle, fuel testing facility

By | February 01, 2006
Those who are looking for a vehicle test facility on the East Coast will soon have access to one in North Carolina. The Advanced Vehicle Research Center (AVRC) will be starting track construction in February with the hopes of opening by the end of 2006, according to Executive Director Dick Dell.

In December, a 630-acre site was acquired by Northampton County, outside of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., and five miles south of the Virginia border. Located in a heavily forested area, land clearing was underway in January. With the site right off Interstate 95, Dell said the facility is easily accessible to anyone in North Carolina or Virginia. "Actually, it's convenient for anyone up and down the East Coast, which is probably where we'll do most of our business," Dell told Biodiesel Magazine.

The AVRC is an independent, non-profit company with a mission to provide a vehicle test site with an emphasis on renewable fuels. Indeed, hydrogen and biodiesel fuel will be available at the site's refueling stations. U.K.-based Lotus Engineering will be designing the facility, which will first include a riding and handling course, along with offices and garages that can be leased by participating entities. It will also include a vehicle dynamics area (VDA), essentially an open slab of cement where cones can be placed to perform vehicle maneuvers while testing such things as sway and suspension. Dell said he hopes to add a durability course later in the future.

The facility will be able to provide data results through dynamometers and other testing equipment on-site. Companies that are testing a fuel's ASTM standards, for example, could accomplish that here. The AVRC is currently setting up contracts for the refueling stations.

Funding for construction of the facility came from the state ($7.5 million), and other federal and private sources ($7.6 million). "That gives us just over $15 million for our first year of operation," Dell said. For more information, visit www.avrnc.com.
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