Arming for a Fact-Based Fight Over Ethanol

bernens1It’s not always fact-based arguments proponents of ethanol are up against when battling Big Oil. But that’s why it’s all more important to make sure you have good facts on your side in the fight. Farmers who attended the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio were able to sit in on a session titled, “Biofuels and the Renewable Fuels Standard, A Farmer’s Avenue to American Energy Independence,” to make sure they can talk about the success stories and silence ethanol’s critics.

“Because of our success, we’ve had Big Oil really come after us and say, ‘We’re not going to lose anymore market share,’” says Jack Bernens, session moderator and marketer of Syngenta’s Enogen corn, specifically designed for ethanol production. “When monopolies get threatened, they like to push back hard.”

Hear more of what Jack had to say here: Jack Bernens, Syngenta

jennings1Jack was joined on the panel by Brian Jennings with the American Coalition for Ethanol, who echoed Jack’s view that you’re not necessarily battling facts when it comes to taking on some of the myths put out by the petroleum industry.

“The message I was trying to relay to the corn growers is stay involved, remain engaged, get your neighbors and friends involved, and know that this isn’t a fact-based fight. When the fight is about facts, we always win,” Brian says, adding that ethanol doesn’t have to stoop to the lies and scare tactics of Big Oil.

Listen to Brian’s interview here: Brian Jennings, American Coalition for Ethanol

doxtad1Another effective tool in the fight is showing the positive change ethanol has brought to Rural America, creating better markets for farmers’ corn, helping the country achieve energy independence, and building up communities, like the one that Northwest Iowa corn farmer James Doxtad comes from. He says while many folks back in his home state are aware of the good the renewable fuel has brought to the heartland, too many people in the country just don’t know. “It’s amazing how many people out there are unaware of the advantages of ethanol. Ethanol is a good thing, and we’re producing a good product, and we’re doing it for a good reason.” he says.

Check out James’ interview here: James Doxtad, Holstein, Iowa

Meanwhile, all three might get some help spreading the word as Syngenta released a new documentary video titled, “Ethanol: Fueling Rural America’s Future – One Community at a Time,” that provides a platform for farmers, ethanol producers and industry advocates to share their passion for an industry critical to the future of agriculture and rural America.

11 thoughts on “Arming for a Fact-Based Fight Over Ethanol

  1. Winston Churchill said it best when he declared “We can count on America to do the right thing,, after they’ve tried everything else.” Conversion of food grains to fuel falls in the “everything else” category. Conversion of agricultural by-products like stalks, leaves, stems etc. to fuel is the “right thing” to do. This produces cellulosic alcohol rather than ethanol and alcohol is a far better mixer with gasoline and it produces a blend that has more rather than less energy per gallon. Then there’s the whole idea of converting food to fuel thing to think about.

  2. This whole discussion is tiresome. To those who decry tax breaks to oil & gas, wind, solar, biofuels, coal, nuclear – I would say then eliminate breaks to all of them.

    That being said the country the country needs a kick in the pants to eliminate the current gasoline-only automotive fuel monopoly that we have now. Part of that is stop thinking miles-per-gallon and think dollars-per-mile. We also need to think in terms of an automotive engine capable of burning multiple fuels. Switching one strategic commodity for another is simply stupid.

    This president has joined his predecessors in doing zero about this. What institutions are holding this back? Why do we want wind farms & solar farms whose environmental footprint is yet established? How long have automotive emissions been studied ? How many cars do we have on our roads? Does burning fuel to generate electricity really generate more emissions that the cars on the road? Let’s make sure we can turn ag by-products (not only corn) into ethanol.

    Finally, let’s stop using the phrase “Big Oil”. Please. Doing so, I submit, places one in the ranks of the intellectually lazy otherwise we might have to suffer, down the road, hearing about “Big Ethanol”.

    If the people in this country approached issues like this as if it was WWII all over again or trying to put a man on the moon, I suspect sites like might not be in existence in a few years because the issues would be solved.

  3. Les, like the quote from Winston, but I think you need to do some more fact checking on your other information. Whether you use cellulosic feedstock or a feed grain like corn, sorghum etc. they all make the same ethanol molecule. So how you can say cellulosic ethanol mixes better or has more energy than ethanol from a feed grain is beyond me? I think cellulosic ethan ol is important and so is ethanol from feed grains, Bottom line, ethanol is a better decision than our continued reliance on oil that is getting more costly to our wallets and our environment. Ethanol is good for the consumer (higher Octane, lower price) a superior fuel when used correctly NASCAR burns E15, good for rural communities (putting dollars in our own backyard) and good for our country (energy security).

  4. Higher power mixed alcohol fuel delivers higher octane and BTU content, yet with a much smaller environmental footprint due to biodegradability in water bodies and cleaner burning combustion characteristics. By converting globally abundant carbon feed-stocks including municipal, industrial and biomass solid wastes alcohol fuels can be produced domestically to create new industry & jobs for world economies and do so without causing increased food costs and a global food crisis because it’s the byproducts of agriculture being used as opposed to using grain as feedstocks.

  5. NASCAR rules must apply to all contenders and ethanol has been ruled preferable to higher octane fuels due mainly to it being less likely to flash ignite when the cars are being refueled and posing danger to the pit crews and drivers.

  6. Jack you and others on here who are chemists probably know more about this than I but take a look at the following and tell me where my thinking has gone astray.

    Production of higher alcohol fuels is accomplished through Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) fuel technology nearly identical to present methanol synthesis as well as other emerging GTL synthetic fuels technologies. The major differences between GTL technologies are the types of synthetic fuels produced are the proprietary catalysts which are used and the costs involved to produce the fuels. Due to their simple, straight-chain molecular structure alcohol fuels are relatively simple and inexpensive to synthesize. The more complex chemical structures of the oil industry’s synthetics make them significantly more expensive to produce. These synthetic crudes (syn-crudes) need multiple passes through refinery operations to break down their long-chain paraffin waxes through hydrocracking into naphtha and syn-diesel, further increasing costs. Conversely, alcohol fuel moves directly through a basic Gasto-Liquids fixed bed reactor and then finishes as a pure alcohol fuel. For example I believe most all higher mixed alcohol fuel production costs are significantly lower than the GTL industry trends.
    Environmentally speaking, both higher mixed alcohol fuel and oil-based syn-crude fuel share the primary characteristic of being sulfur-free. Beyond that, the environmental differences between these fuels are numerous. The single, largest distinction is that syncrude, like traditional crude oil, floats on water and is non-biodegradable.
    Syn-crude does not easily breakdown in the natural environment where alcohol fuels are biodegradable in both land and water environments, becoming part of the biological food-chain for micro-organisms and plants when diluted into water bodies.
    AAEC’s connection to all this is that we are the developer of a syngas production gasifier that we are out to prove can engineer the syngas to the back end technology of choice.
    Les Blevins, President
    Advanced Alternative Energy
    1207 N 1800 Rd., Lawrence, KS 66049
    Phone 785-842-1943 Fax 785-842-0909

  7. Pingback: 2014 Commodity Classic | AgNewsWire

  8. Still waiting to hear from those who are interested in and possibly willing to support demonstration of the newest and most advanced paradigm in alternative energy.