Worldwide 90% of Consumers Want More Renewable Energy

According to a new study released today by Vestas Wind Systems, 90 percent of consumers worldwide want more renewable energy, 65 percent prefer to purchase brands produced using wind energy and 53 percent in China and 7 percent of respondents in the U.S. view climate change as the greatest challenge. The Global Consumer Wind Study 2011 as well as the Corporate Renewable Energy Index (CREX) 2011, show the relationship between consumer demand for renewable energy in the products and services they purchase. In addition, the studies highlight what corporations are or are not doing to meet consumer demands for greater use of renewable energy.

Ditlev Engel, President and CEO of Vestas said, “Consumers around the world see climate change as the greatest single challenge, and 90 percent of consumers want more renewable energy. This shows a real global desire to reduce carbon emissions. It gives corporate decision makers something to think about and act upon.”

The Global Consumer Wind Study 2011 is the largest undertaken of its kind with 31,000 respondents participating in 26 countries. The goal of the survey was to learn more about consumer demand for products made with renewable energy. Consumers were asked how energy decisions made by companies affect their purchasing decisions. In addition, consumers were asked about their perceptions of climate change. The annual study was commission by Vestas and conducted by TNS Gallup.

“The Global Consumer Wind Study provides insight into the role of renewable energy, in particular wind, in relation to the products and services consumers buy,” added Engel.” This in turn should drive the adoption of renewable energy sources by the corporations that sell these products and services.”

The Corporate Renewable Energy Index, with 176 respondents, was based on data from CREX, commissioned by Vestas and conducted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The companies using the most renewable energy are News Corp., Plum Creek Timber, Kohl’s Corporation, and Whole Foods Market, who uses 100 percent wind energy and has been named Global Wind Energy Champion.

New Ethanol Yeast Product Released

A new yeast product for the ethanol industry was introduced this week by Lallemand Ethanol Technology. While the patent-pending product as of yet has no name, it is being commercialized through the partnership between Lallemand and Xylogenics, Inc. The new yeast is engineered to demonstrate characteristics that significantly change sugar uptake kinetics. The result is increased yields of up to 4 percent, increased capacity, reduced fermentation time and reduced ingredient costs. The yeast is being marketed as a replacement for existing yeast in first generation ethanol biorefineries.

“Our success is defined by our customer’s success, whether it be efficiencies attained, increased volume output or greater profitability,” said Bill Nankervis, Lallemand Ethanol Technology General Manager. “Because of the introduction of this technology, we expect our customers to realize real benefits that help them remain in the black in today’s challenging market environment.”

Growth Energy FEW Press Conference

Following this morning’s opening plenary session at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop, Tom Buis, CEO, Growth Energy, met with members of the press. He gave us an overview of where things stand on a number of issues facing the ethanol industry before taking questions. I’ve posted the overview for you to listen to.

Tom’s farm is right down the road from Indianapolis so he was very happy to come to FEW this year. He says that even with all the challenges facing the industry there are a lot of opportunities. He started out discussing the most recent political maneuvering on ethanol policy. He says they will continue to work on policy issues like infrastructure, tax credit extensions and Federal investment into flex fuel technology. He says the big question is “Where do we find a legislative vehicle that actually is going to get enacted into law?” You can listen to or download Tom’s remarks on this and other issues here. Growth Energy Press Conference

2011 FEW Photo Album

Our coverage of the 2011 Fuel Ethanol Workshop is being made possible by the Renewable Fuels Association.

EPA Finalizes 15% Ethanol Pump Label

Another step toward getting 15% ethanol blended fuel on the road was taken today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

EPA has released the final official government label for fuel pumps to dispense blends containing up to 15 percent ethanol, known as E15.

“The new orange and black label must appear on fuel pumps that dispense E15,” according to the EPA news release announcing the new labeling. “This label will help inform consumers about which vehicles can use E15. This label will also warn consumers against using E15 in vehicles older than model year 2001, motorcycles, watercraft, and gasoline-powered equipment such as lawnmowers and chainsaws.”

In response to a request by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers under the Clean Air Act, the EPA granted two partial waivers that allow, but do not require, the use gasoline that contains up to 15 % ethanol for use in model year 2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles. “This is another step in the process to get E15 into the marketplace later this year, which will create U.S. jobs, improve the environment and strengthen national security by displacing foreign oil,” said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis of the new labeling regulation.

The final label is less threatening than the original proposal by EPA that was bright orange and said “CAUTION” in large red letters. The ethanol industry had provided comments to EPA regarding the label and suggesting that it be toned down.

A NASCAR Conversation at FEW

Our “Keynote Conversation” this morning at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop was between Brian France, NASCAR CEO (left) and Tom Buis, Growth Energy, CEO. These two CEO’s talked about the relationship between the racing league and American Ethanol and what it means for ethanol producers and the general public. As we have seen with the Indy Racing League starting several years ago and continuing today, the high performance race cars of NASCAR are now proving that they can run just fine on a fifteen percent blend. At the beginning of the conversation you’ll hear Brian talk about how well ethanol performs in their cars. “Our industry with a lot of testing in the most difficult circumstances, 500 miles at 200MPH . . . this fuel has been a great fuel for NASCAR and we’re happy to be your partner.” He says it has been a step in the direction of going green since the fuel reduces emissions. I think you’ll find the conversation very enlightening, especially if you’re one of the critics out there who for some reason refuse to believe the facts on performance and why we should all be supporting an American made biofuel.

You can listen to or download the conversation here. A NASCAR Conversation at FEW

2011 FEW Photo Album

Our coverage of the 2011 Fuel Ethanol Workshop is being made possible by the Renewable Fuels Association.

Ethanol Express on the Water

The Ethanol Express was one of more than 50 racing boats that sped around Cedar Valley Reservoir running ten percent ethanol fuel (E10) at the National Boat Racing Association (NBRA) “Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Nationals” this past weekend in Garnett, Kansas, sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

The custom boat is piloted by “Burnin’ Vernon” Barfield, a boat racer from Kansas who hosted the race in Garnett. “We’re running a bone stock engine on that particular boat and it has been testing out about 81-82 miles an hour,” said Barfield, pictured below showing off the boat to some young fans.

RFA partnered with NBRA earlier this year to help dispel concerns about the use of ethanol fuel in boat engines. “We’ve stuck with pump fuel, right out of the same pump that everyone else is using to put in their cars. We mix in our oil, and that’s what we run in our two-strokers, been running it all year and I personally have had no problems whatsoever,” said Barfield. “The only thing that I’m seeing, which is a pleasant surprise, is just a little more speed.”

Barfield says he believes that with proper maintenance, boat engines run just fine on ethanol-blended fuel. “I think it’s just an unfair scenario that everybody likes to blame ethanol because he’s the new kid on the block,” and he thinks over time every one will embrace ethanol “because it keeps Americans working.”

Listen to my interview with Vernon Barfield here: Burnin' Vernon Barfield

Each race in each class is just three laps around a relatively small course, which takes a total of about three minutes. Takes a look in the video below:

See photos from the race here: NBRA Ethanol Boat Race

NCGA CEO Receives FEW High Octane Award

At the beginning of this morning’s opening session of the Fuel Ethanol Workshop, Rick Tolman, CEO, National Corn Growers Association, was presented the High Octane Award by Tom Bryan, BBI International. I will post Rick’s comments later this morning after this plenary session.

Our morning session includes a conversation between NASCAR CEO Brian France and Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. That’s taking place now. I will also have that posted later today as well.

Post Update: Here are Rick’s comments from this morning’s award presentation. Rick Tolman Award Remarks

2011 FEW Photo Album

Our coverage of the 2011 Fuel Ethanol Workshop is being made possible by the Renewable Fuels Association.

The 2011 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Kicks Off

The 2011 Fuel Ethanol Workshop is underway in Indianapolis, IN. The program gets underway tomorrow. I’ll be providing photos and interviews during the next several days.

I got in during the opening reception which was held in the trade show. It was a nice relaxing time to catch up with friends in the industry.

The program is fully packed with simultaneous workshops and general sessions that will cover some of the most current issues in the industry. I’m collecting photos in an online photo album which you can find here: 2011 FEW Photo Album

Our coverage of the 2011 Fuel Ethanol Workshop is being made possible by the Renewable Fuels Association.

Racing Boats on Ethanol

All of the more than 50 boats that raced in this past weekend’s National Boat Racing Association (NBRA) “Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Nationals” had to prove they were using 10 percent ethanol fuel in order to compete for prize money in the race sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

“We have fuel testing to make sure we’re running ethanol because of the contingency prize money,” said NBRA president Dan Crummett. “We are testing all the fuel before the race and then the top three entries in any class are tested when they come in to make sure they are running ethanol.”

The simple fuel test is done with a vial marketed by Mercury Marine that uses water to allow the ethanol to come out of suspension with the fuel to be measured. Most of the racing fuel is purchased at local gas stations since regular unleaded in most areas contains 10 percent ethanol.

The NBRA races include a number of different classes with light, single person boats than run as fast as 96 miles per hour. “We race stock and modified outboards with hydroplanes and runabouts,” said Crummett. Ethanol is a sponsor for all the NBRA races being held around the country this year to show its performance in marine engines. Crummett says most of the issues that boaters experience when using ethanol-blended fuel are maintenance related. “Any fuel will degrade over not a long period of time once the oil is mixed in it,” he says, which is why it’s so important for boaters to avoid leaving fuel in the tank for an extended time without running the engine.

Listen to my interview with Dan Crummett here and watch him demonstrate the ethanol test in the video below: NBRA President Dan Crummett

See photos from the race here: NBRA Ethanol Boat Race

Ethanol Producing Town Hosts Boat Race

Boat racers from coast to coast gathered in the ethanol-producing town of Garnett, Kansas over the weekend to speed around Cedar Valley Reservoir on ten percent ethanol fuel (E10) at the National Boat Racing Association (NBRA) “Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Nationals.”

“This was an opportunity to tell our story that E10 blends will run in any commercial type of vehicle, whether boats, auto or whatever,” said Steve Gardner, general manager of Garnett’s ethanol plant East Kansas Agri-Energy. “If this will run in racing boats, it will run in any type of boats.”

Gardner (pictured here in the middle) is on the board of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) which partnered with NBRA earlier this year to help dispel concerns about the use of ethanol fuel in boat engines. The partnership includes the use of the RFA “Fueled with Pride” logo on signage around the racing events, as well as on all the racers boats and haulers.

Representatives from RFA, East Kansas Agri-Energy, and the Kansas Corn Growers Association had a hospitality tent at the race this past weekend and handed out fan bags to help provide information and answer questions about the use of ethanol in marine engines.

Listen to my interview with Steve Gardner here: East Kansas Agri-Energy at NBRA Boat Race

Get an idea of how loud and fast these speed boats are here: NBRA Boat Race

See photos from the race here: NBRA Ethanol Boat Race