Bobby Likis Loves Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

Automotive talk show host and Pensacola service center owner Bobby Likis uses a tag line that plays on his last name – “Like us? You’ll love us!” And Likis doesn’t just like ethanol, he loves it and he lives it.

It is his passion for the domestic renewable fuel that led to his recent partnership with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), not the other way around. That passion was clearly on display this past week during Automotive Service & Repair Week in New Orleans, where Likis took his Car Clinic Network television and radio programming on the road. It was his idea to bring the facts about ethanol to automotive mechanics and technicians at the event and to spotlight new engine technology to optimize ethanol by Ricardo, Inc.

Likis offered a live feed of events at the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service trade show on Watch Bobby Live where he interviewed guests Thursday and Friday last week leading up to his regularly scheduled live program on Saturday from 10 am to noon Eastern. The program on October 13 featured RFA’s Kelly Davis as well as engineers from Ricardo.

I put together a little five minute highlight video of the show below and you can find more on the Watch Bobby Live page.

CARS Event Photo Album

automotive, CARS, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, Video

Global Renewable Energy Investments Growing

Joanna Schroeder

Despite global struggles with the economy, investments in renewable energy technologies have continued to grow in 2011. New investments in renewable power and fuels (excluding large hydropower and solar hot water) reached $257 billion, and increase $37 billion from 2010. This according to research conducted by the WorldWatch Institute’s Climate and Energy program. In addition, during 2011, investments in renewable energy were $40 billion greater than in fossil fuel based technologies.

In 2011:

  • Total renewable energy investment in industrial countries accounted for 65 percent of global investment. This is an increase of 21 percent to $168 billion in total.
  • The 35 percent of global new investment that went to developing countries increased 10 percent to $89 billion. Of this total, China, India and Brazil accounted for $71 billion.
  • “Financial new investment” in renewable energy installations in industrial countries outpaced investments in developing world. In 2010 investments in this category in developing countries surpassed those in industrial countries.
  • Driven by a 50 percent reduction in price from 2010 to 2011, $147.4 billion was invested in solar compared with $83.8 for wind projects and $10.6 billion for biomass and waste-to-energy.
  • Biofuels attracted the fourth highest total investment with $6.8 billion, followed by $5.8 billion for small hydro and $2.9 billion for geothermal installations. Read More
biofuels, Energy, Geothermal, Hydro, Solar, Waste-to-Energy, Wind

First Time for Ethanol at CARS

Cindy Zimmerman

The annual Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) is part of Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW), which is an umbrella for several different related organizations to meet, network and learn about what’s new in the industry.

The whole event is coordinated through the Automotive Service Association (ASA) and president Ron Pyle says having the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) as part of it this year was a great addition. “People understand the reality that we’re going to be dealing with alternative fuels and different technologies,” said Pyle. “Our organization really represents the top echelon of the shops in America today … they’ve very interested in this kind of content.”

Pyle said it was also the first time that Bobby Likis Car Clinic was at the event broadcasting live from the trade show. “Bobby is a long time Automotive Service Association member,” said Pyle. “He spent quite a bit of time with me earlier this year talking about the myths (about ethanol) that he’s going to bust while he’s here and on the show floor they’ve been doing that every day.”

Ricardo engineering rounded out the ethanol education team at the event showing new engine technology under development that can optimize the high octane properties of ethanol as the industry moves toward increased fuel efficiency. “The people that are ready for that revolution will absolutely have a competitive edge,” Pyle said.

Listen to my interview with Ron Pyle here: Automotive Service Association president Ron Pyle
CARS Event Photo Album

Audio, automotive, CARS, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Ricardo Talks Ethanol at CARS

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) exhibit at the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) in New Orleans this past week featured new engine technology developed by Ricardo, Inc. that has the ability to optimize the performance of ethanol in fuel.

Ricardo Chief Engineer for Innovations and Chemical Technology John Kasab was one of the company representatives who presented information at the exhibit and on the Bobby Likis Car Clinic Network broadcasts from the show. During his presentation at the booth, Kasab talked about Ricardo’s history in the automotive realm and how “everything old is new again” when it comes to alternative fuels. “Three key automotive inventors from about a century ago – Henry Ford with Ford Motor Company, Charles Kettering with General Motors and Harry Ricardo our founder – all anticipated depletion of petroleum reserves,” said Kasab. “Henry Ford was thinking about making (fuel) from crops that will help sustain rural economies.” Kettering was thinking about saving the auto industry from oil shortages and Ricardo’s interest was in energy security, especially since he was British, and Kasab noted that all of them also saw the potential of ethanol for anti-knock properties.

Kasab says federal and state regulations calling for dramatically increased fuel economy for vehicles, as well as the Renewable Fuel Standard requiring more alternative fuel use, means a great need for engines optimized to run on fuels other than gasoline in the future. “Over the next decade, we’re going to see a lot of new technology coming into internal combustion engines to significantly improve their efficiency,” he said. “The technologies that are going to facilitate this efficiency improvement will have a natural thirst for higher octane and we see increased ethanol content in the fuel as part of the pathway toward facilitating better engine performance.”

To that end, Ricardo developed the EBDI – Extreme Boost Direct Injection Engine – which we will learn more about from other members of the Ricardo team who attended the CARS event.

Listen to Kasab’s presentation here: Ricardo's John Kasab at CARS
See photos from the CARS event with Ricardo, RFA and Bobby Likis.

Audio, automotive, Car Makers, CARS, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Ethanol Industry Pumps $5B Into MN State Economy

Joanna Schroeder

According to a new report from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the state’s ethanol industry generated more than $5 billion in total economic activity in 2011. In addition, the ethanol industry supported more than 12,600 jobs. The state is 5th nationwide in ethanol production with 21 ethanol biorefineries.

According to the MDA report, ethanol added $912 million to the value of the state’s corn crop in 2011, a second record high. For every bushel of corn processed into ethanol, $2.07 was generated in additional revenue. The report also shows that for every dollar invested into the ethanol plants, more than eight dollars were generated for the Minnesota economy.

“While there have been ups and downs in the ethanol industry, the fact is it’s a huge advantage for us to keep more of the value of the corn we produce rather than ship it to another state or country as a raw commodity,” said Su Ye, the author of the report. “The ethanol industry is an important economic driver that adds value to every bushel of corn grown by the roughly 11,000 farmers who supply it to the plants.”

Last year, of the 1.2 billion bushels of corn harvested by Minnesota growers, 440 million bushels were put into production of ethanol and its co-products including distillers grains. Forty-two percent of the corn is exported and 39 percent is processed. In comparison, 12 percent of the total U.S. corn crop is exported and 50 percent is processed. Ye says the ethanol industry continues to have a critical role in bringing increased returns to the state’s largest agricultural crop.

Agribusiness, biofuels, corn, Ethanol

Platts Acquires Global Sugar & Biofuels Info Provider

Joanna Schroeder

Platts, a division of McGraw-Hill, is in the process of acquiring Kingsman, SA, a Switzerland-based provider of price information and analytics for the global sugar and biofuels markets. If all goes as planned, the acquisition will become official on November 1, 2012. Platts focuses on delivering news to the agricultural and energy sectors.

“Kingsman is widely recognized as the leading global brand for sugar market data and analytics,” said Larry Neal, president of Platts. “Our acquisition of Kingsman deepens Platts’ capabilities in biofuels and gives us a springboard for growth in the global agricultural markets.  It also reinforces our commitment to becoming a leader in market analytics as well as news and price information.”

Neal said the deal was a good fit for the company because it will allow the company to develop benchmarks that support market evolution and enhance price transparency. Kingsman has analysts, researchers and report writers in key markets including London Montreal, New Delhi and  Sao Paulo and the company offers a variety of subscription publications covering sugar, ethanol and biodiesel.

biofuels, International

Clean Currents Hosts Wind Powered Baltimore Week

Joanna Schroeder

Clean Currents, based in Maryland, is hosting Wind Powered Baltimore Week October 15 – 21, 2012 to celebrate Baltimore’s growing community of businesses, non-profits, and homes powered by wind. During the week there will be a series of events and promotions and the official kick-off of the Green Neighborhood Challenge will take place, a program that gives community groups an opportunity to raise funds for green projects while increasing support for clean energy.

There are over 35 businesses who are powered by wind, as well as a number of community groups participating in Wind Powered Baltimore Week. Events range from a B2B networking mixer to benefit Baltimore Green Works to Not Your Mom’s Ice Cream Social spoken word slam with Taharka Brothers.

“Since our Baltimore office opened, we have been welcomed by businesses and residents eager to reduce their environmental impact,” said Gary Skulnik, President and co-founder of Clean Currents, a retail electricity supplier that focuses exclusively on green electricity. “We’re hosting Wind Powered Baltimore Week to celebrate the impressive community of non-profits, triple bottom line businesses, and community leaders that embrace renewable energy and sustainability.”

Darius Wilmore of Taharka Brothers added, “Businesses have a big impact on consumer behavior, and we hope that by setting an example as an environmentally responsible business, we can inspire our customers to be environmentally responsible as well. Wind Powered Baltimore Week is a great way to encourage the entire Baltimore community to be more environmentally responsible and join the wind power movement.”

For complete list of activities, visit

Electricity, Energy, Wind

Ethanol on Display at CARS

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFS), the Bobby Likis Car Clinic Network and Ricardo Engineering have teamed up to drive home the message of ethanol as the future for fuel in America at the Congress for Automotive Repair and Service expo in New Orleans.

RFA Director of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis has been representing the ethanol industry at the event, talking with car mechanics and technicians and being interviewed by Bobby Likis for his Car Clinic Network television show. Davis just started with RFA on September 1, but she is no stranger to the ethanol industry. “My background’s 30 years in corn processing,” she said. “I’ve actually been producing ethanol since 1981.”

Listen to an interview with Davis: Kelly Davis Interview

Davis has been talking up ethanol at the CARS expo and finding that mechanics have some of the same general misconceptions the industry has fought for 30 years and that is why they wanted to speak to this audience. “A mechanic is a very trusted person with your car,” she said. “We’re here to educate them.”

She, Likis and Ricardo representatives will be addressing a targeted group on Saturday with a panel devoted to “busting myths” about ethanol. Likis is global casting his Car Clinic Network program live from the expo on Saturday, October 12, from 10 am to 12 noon Eastern time.

Listen to Bobby interviewing Kelly on the expo floor Friday here: Bobby Likis Live with RFA's Kelly Davis

Audio, automotive, CARS, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Propel 8th Fastest Growing Company in Silicon Valley

Joanna Schroeder

Propel Fuels was recognized as the 8th fastest growing company in Silicon Vally by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal as part of their Fast Private Awards. The award was based on a three-year growth rate in revenues of more than 400 percent. Today, Propel operates 28 fueling locations throughout California and Washington state with more than 200 locations planned for the next two years.

“With more than 1 million alternative fuel capable vehicles on California’s roads right now, Propel must continue to grow our network of stations to meet the rising demand from consumers who want cleaner mobility options and a better choice at the pump,” said Matt Horton, CEO of Propel. “We thank our growing base of loyal customers for helping us receive this recognition as we improve access to renewable fuels, and make progress on our nation’s clean energy goals.”

Propel is one of the leading retailers who offer renewable fuel blends such as E85 and biodiesel blends as well as conventional gasoline. Yet unlike most retailers, Propel offers services beyond the pump including the ability for drivers to calculate their carbon offset from their fuel purchases, tips on how to improve fuel economy, help consumers find rideshare opportunities and more. In addition, Propel is looking to bring drivers future fuels such as natural gas and electric vehicle charging.

Biodiesel, E85, Ethanol

ACE Kicks Off RFS Benefits Campaign

Joanna Schroeder

As the ink dries on all the letters of support for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2), the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has launched a public letter writing campaign to help raise awareness of how ethanol and the RFS benefits America. Another goal of the campaign is to counter inaccurate stories about ethanol and the industry.

A view that is missing, says Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president, are the everyday, personal stories that humanize the positive benefits of ethanol.

“This grassroots letter writing campaign can effectively help convey from the ground-up what is at stake if opponents succeed in repealing the RFS,” said Jennings. “We encourage ethanol supporters to take part in ACE’s effort to tell stories of how the RFS benefits their communities and economies. The campaign will succeed only if people get involved and take action.”

Letter writing topics include the RFS, consumer fuel choice through E15, midlevel blends, job creation, food and fuel, and energy security.

The campaign, that targets national media markets as well as local media outlets, will run through the remainder of 2012 and is part of a multi-step grassroots effort ACE is engaged in to help promote ethanol and defend the merits of the RFS. Campaign participants will be entered in drawings to win Amazon gift cards or the grand prize of an Amazon Kindle Fire. You can get more info about the public letter writing campaign by clicking here.

ACE, biofuels, Education, Ethanol