Senior Vice President for the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Geoff Cooper participated in the panel discussion “Pathways to Fully Realizing the Bold Promise of the Broader Biofuels Industry,” during this year’s Fuel Ethanol Workshop. Chuck Zimmerman spoke with Cooper about some of the things that struck him as particularly interesting during the conversation. Cooper noted that they spoke about policy issues, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), high octane fuels, the longer term future of ethanol as well as consumer perception issues.
In terms of “promise” Zimmerman asked Cooper, what in fact the promise was. He answered that in his perspective, high octane fuels is the promise. “We have a tremendous benefit with the high octane rating of ethanol. It’s just one of those inherent properties that’s kind of a secret weapon for ethanol. We’ve seen over the past several years how refineries have optimized their operations to really take advantage of the clean, low carbon octane that is ethanol. I see that as really the cornerstone of the industry’s future movement moving forward.” He added that automakers are asking for higher octane fuels for the future and they plan on ethanol having a role in this.
RFA was also represented on the next panel discussion via Robert White, vice president of Industry Relations, who participated on the, “Exploring Strategies to Unlock Greater Marketplace Access for Conventional and Advanced Biofuels,” panel. One conversation point was consumer perception of ethanol. White said it’s important for the industry to continue to promote itself. He noted that other industries spend a significant amount of money promoting their brand and products but this industry does very little of this.“Our resources have been spent defending ourselves. Our resources have been spent on research and analysis and market development,” said White. “All the hurdles we need to overcome to get our fuel to market.”
One of the questions was, “Does the industry need to rebrand itself?”
“I said no because I think our story is as good as it’s ever been,” White answered. “We continue to improve that story with efficiencies at the plant, with technology and the innovations we see within our membership every day.”
White said the rest of the panel discussion focused on increasing infrastructure and offering consumers the choice at the pump.
To learn more about the future of ethanol, listen to Chuck’s interview with Geoff Cooper and Robert White here: Interview with Geoff Cooper & Robert White, RFA
You can find photos from the 2016 FEW here: 2016 FEW Photo Album