The chairman of the Prime the Pump fund says getting more fuel infrastructure in the marketplace is vital to getting higher level ethanol blends to consumers.
“It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg,” says Ray Defenbaugh of Big River Resources in West Burlington, Iowa. “The autos hold off because of the pumps, pumps hold off because of the retailers, because of the autos.”
Defenbaugh says government programs are nice, but it’s really important for the industry to help early retail adopters of high-level ethanol blends through grants to reduce their initial investment in infrastructure. “This is a self-help effort by not only the ethanol industry, but people who benefit from the ethanol industry.”
Syngenta announced a major donation to Prime the Pump at the recent NASCAR American Ethanol 200 in Iowa, which Defenbaugh was pleased to accept from Chris Tingle with Syngenta Enogen. “Syngenta contributed a nice check – $225,000 for the effort, and they’ll have two more installments,” said Defenbaugh. The company will be contributing $1 for every acre planted with Enogen corn enzyme technology, which they expect to ultimately total about $600,000.
Listen to Ray explain more about Prime the Pump in this interview: Interview with Prime the Pump chair Ray Defenbaugh
2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
It’s NASCAR race time with the American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen. I’m on location at Iowa Speedway and the race is tonight. Right now we’re in a lull between practice sessions. I’m here courtesy of Syngenta Enogen and will be covering their events.
One of this things is the effort Syngenta is doing with Iowa FFA members again this year. They are raising money and awareness for flex fuels and FFA benefits too.
Money raised for flex fuel infrastructure by FFA members at the Iowa Speedway on race day will be matched by Syngenta, with a portion of the proceeds going to participating FFA chapters. “Engaging the public about ethanol and renewable fuels is a good opportunity for my students,” said Miranda Johnson, advisor of the Twin Cedars FFA Chapter. “They are the future and they understand the importance of conservation and preservation of our land and resources – and the vital role farmers play in feeding and fueling our country.”
I’ll be until the winner’s circle tonight so keep an eye on photos. I’m collecting photos from today’s activities here: 2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
American Ethanol is using one of its most popular venues, NASCAR races, to rally fans to support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). This item from the National Corn Growers Association says races in Michigan and St. Louis this weekend will put the power of ethanol on display, while asking fans to let known their displeasure of the Obama Administration’s cut to the amount of ethanol in the RFS.
The highlight in Michigan will be Austin Dillon hitting the track in his second American Ethanol paintout of the season in his No. 3 Chevy. At Gateway American Ethanol will a sponsor the American Ethanol Presents Drivin’ for Linemen 200.
In both Michigan and St. Louis, fans will be asked to show their support for American Ethanol by sending postcards to the Environmental Protection Agency telling them to reverse their decision to cut the amount of ethanol currently in the Renewable Fuels Standard.
In both Michigan and Gateway, American Ethanol has teamed up with state corn growers to educate consumers at the race sites.
“This will be a great opportunity to connect consumers, car dealers and the Michigan farmers who contribute to our fuel supply for a weekend of fun and information,” said Jim Zook, executive director of the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan. “When we use more Michigan-made fuel, it translates directly into stronger rural communities, more jobs and more money that goes back into our state. Our corn growers are huge NASCAR fans, and we are proud of the work we do to supply these drivers with American Ethanol.”
“We are excited to be a part of this event because the Gateway track is surrounded by corn and ethanol production and both are critical parts of the economy,” said Lou Lamoreux, chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and a Lanark, Ill. farmer. “This location also gives us a chance to promote E15 and other higher blends of ethanol to drivers from urban St. Louis.”
Over the weekend at Richmond International Raceway, American Ethanol and NASCAR officially celebrated five years and seven million miles of running on 15% ethanol blended Sunoco Green E15, unveiling a new paint scheme with E15 prominently located on the hood of Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet SS.
Dillon, who has been advocating the benefits of ethanol for three years now, drove his first American Ethanol paint of the 2015 racing season in the Saturday Toyota Owners 400 race, which was delayed by rain until Sunday. While he finished 27th in the race, ethanol still came in first.
“This has been a tremendous partnership,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “Since NASCAR switched to Sunoco Green E15 five years ago, we have seen a very a substantial change in the national dialogue regarding ethanol – when people see NASCAR rely on ethanol week after week in all three of its national racing series, they understand that it is a fuel that they can rely on as well.”
American Ethanol driver Austin Dillon, National Corn Growers Association president Chip Bowling, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, RCR Racing owner Richard Childress
During a press conference on Saturday, National Corn Growers Association
President Chip Bowling talked about what the American Ethanol partnership has meant for American farmers. “E15 American Ethanol turns our unrivaled ability to produce corn into a national asset. Consumer demand for ethanol is good for family farmers and fans appreciate that,” said Bowling. “We have grown the 12 largest corn crops in history in the last 12 years so ethanol demand is critical. It means farmers can pay their bills, reinvest in the broader economy and keep family operations like mine viable for future generations.”
Bowling added that according to a 2014 study, NASCAR fans are over 75 percent more likely than non-fans to support the use of ethanol blended with gasoline to fuel their own car.
NASCAR began running Sunoco Green E15 in its three top national series back in 2011 and on Saturday at the Phoenix International Raceway the league surpassed seven million miles of racing on the fuel with American Ethanol.
“NASCAR has shown under the most demanding competition that E15 is safe, reliable and it works,” said Dr. Michael Lynch, Vice President, NASCAR Green Innovation and STEM Platforms. “NASCAR fans are 80 percent more likely than non-fans to support the use of ethanol blends in their own car on the street, because they understand that NASCAR and our diligent race teams did our homework from the start with thousands of miles and hours of testing.”
Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, says the move to Sunoco Green E15 has actually boosted the performance of the race cars – lowering emissions and increasing horsepower. “Since this change took place, we have seen increased horsepower from a higher-octane ethanol fuel blend and decreased emissions. In our own internal tests at RCR, we used ethanol blends up to E30 and found no issues with that fuel, either,” said Childress.
NASCAR made the fuel change in conjunction with their NASCAR Green® Platform, the largest and most comprehensive recycling, tree planting and renewable energy programs in sports.
Fuel with 15 percent ethanol, known as E15, has been approved for sale by the Environmental Protection Agency since January 2011. Two months later Sunoco Green E15 debuted at the 2011 Daytona 500.
Interview with Tom Buis, Growth Energy, at Daytona 500
American Ethanol celebrated the start of the fifth year of its partnership with NASCAR at the Great American Race this weekend. “They’ve put over six million hard-earned miles at high RPMs on these race cars,” said Tom Buis of Growth Energy at the race on Sunday. “They got better performance, they didn’t lose mileage and they haven’t had a single problem.”
NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar says the partnership with American Ethanol has been very positive for them. “What we love about ethanol is not only is it a great renewable but it’s a great racing fuel, higher octane so it’s great performance for the drivers,” he said. “It’s also great for the environment, reduces greenhouse gases, homemade here in America …. it’s a win-win-win and in car races we’re all about winning!”
Dewar lived in Brazil as that country was moving to higher ethanol blends and he hopes to see it grow here in the United States as well. Interview with Brent Dewar, NASCAR, at Daytona 500
Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association, New Holland and POET-DSM are partners in American Ethanol with NASCAR.
American Ethanol NASCAR driver Austin Dillon is proud of his affiliation with homegrown ethanol and pleased with the performance of E15 on the track.
“I really support what we’re doing with American Ethanol,” said Dillon in an interview this weekend. “It’s funny that you wouldn’t think NASCAR would be a “green” sport” but what we’ve done with American Ethanol has helped us be the leader in sports with green American Ethanol.”
Dillon drove the number 33 car in the Xfinity Series Alert Today Florida 300 race at Daytona Speedway on Saturday, finishing 4th, and is driving the #3 car in the Daytona 500 race for Richard Childress Racing. Prior to the race on Saturday, Austin spent some time with a group of New Holland dealers. New Holland is a strong supporter of American Ethanol.
Listen to my interview with Austin here: Interview with NASCAR driver Austin Dillon
They say that everything is bigger in Texas so it’s appropriate that one of the largest E15 promotions of the year will be held this weekend about the benefits of American Ethanol for NASCAR fans at the Texas Motor Speedway.
“We have done 12 major promotions this year and have exposed millions of NASCAR fans to the performance and environmental benefits of Sunoco Green E15, but there is a lot of excitement surrounding this event,” said Jon Holzfaster, chairman of the National Corn Growers Association’s NASCAR Advisory Committee. “American Ethanol will be everywhere at this race, on the track, on the Midway, in the campgrounds and even on Big Hoss.”
Big Hoss is the world’s largest, high-definition LED video board, stands 218 feet wide by 94.5 feet tall and features 20,633.64 square feet of high-definition display. The 108 ton beast of a screen will be showing an American Ethanol video throughout the race.
American Ethanol partners Growth Energy and NCGA are joining forces with the Texas Corn Producers to make sure E15 fuel is prominently promoted at this high profile race.
The contest for the NASCAR Championship is now in its third round, and results in Texas and Phoenix will trim the field to only four drivers who will be eligible to win the Sprint Cup Trophy on November 16. As a result, tens of thousands of fans are expected to flock to the full weekend of races, with millions more tuning in on Sunday for the marquis Sprint Cup duel. Every car will be fueled with E15, and will sport the green American Ethanol fuel port as they have all season.
Mechanics in Kansas had the opportunity to learn about NASCAR first hand when they attended the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Race on Sunday, October 5, 2014 at the Kansas Speedway hosted by the Kansas Corn Commission. The Commission has been a part of the American Ethanol partnership with Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association and several state corn associations since 2011.
“All NASCAR race vehicles have raced on E15, 15 percent ethanol fuel since the 2011–that’s over 6 million miles of racing on E15,” said Kansas Corn Commission CEO Greg Krissek. “This race was a great opportunity to help mechanics see firsthand how high performance ethanol works in NASCAR race vehicles.”
Austin Dillon, who drove the #3 American Ethanol car spoke to the group and answered questions before the race. Dillon is the American Ethanol spokesman. He drives for the Richard Childress Racing team and is one of the top rookie drivers in the Sprint Series. The Kansas mechanics spoke with Dillon and were treated to a tour of the garage and pit areas and walked through the RCR team’s American Ethanol hauler before going to their seats for the race. The RCR team drivers, Dillon, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard all had top ten finishes Sunday. Newman had a sixth place finish and Menard was ninth.
“It was a good day for everyone on the No. 3 team,” Dillon said. “I’m happy that we could get a top-10 finish for American Ethanol, Dow, Cheerios, Bass Pro Shops, and everyone associated with Richard Childress Racing. We’re working hard and learning a lot. It was a good day and I’m excited for Charlotte Motor Speedway next week and finishing the rest of the season out strong.”
The American Ethanol group brought about 400 fans to the race on Sunday. The fans included farmers, ethanol producers and industry partners.
“Austin and Richard Childress are both fantastic spokesmen for American Ethanol and are true believers in the high performance qualities of ethanol blended fuel. They were excited to have the mechanics come through their garage Sunday,” added Krissek. “The mechanics in our group asked very good questions about the fuel and the NASCAR engines. They learned that ethanol blends work just fine in NASCAR race cars as well as the cars and trucks they work on every day.”
The American Ethanol NASCAR program is in its fourth year now and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) considers it to be a big success.
NCGA incoming Vice President Rob Elliott of Illinois says American Ethanol began its partnership with NASCAR in 2011 supporting the transition to 15% ethanol. “NASCAR in its three levels has run over six million miles (on E15) which is the same number of miles EPA drove to prove E15 to be a good fuel,” Elliott said during an interview at Farm Progress Show this week. “The feedback we get is that 80% of NASCAR fans are now more likely to be very supportive of the use of ethanol in their own cars.”
The challenge still remains in getting more E15 into the market. “The ready availability of E15 at a broad number of stations, we’re just not there yet,” said Elliott, but he believes promoting through NASCAR is having an impact for the long term. “We’re moving the needle with 100 million NASCAR fans and we’ve seen the great benefit in the synergy created with NASCAR itself at a high level.”
American Ethanol is a partnership between NASCAR, NCGA, Growth Energy, New Holland with a number of individual ethanol producers and state corn grower groups.
Listen to an interview with Rob here: Interview with Rob Elliott, NCGA
2014 Farm Progress Show photo album