Getting To Know Toni

Ethanol Executive Director Toni NuernbergToni Nuernberg is the newest member of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. She joined EPIC as the new executive director about 2 months ago, replacing Tom Slunecka after he accepted the offer to become the Vice President of Business Development for KL Process Design Group in South Dakota. We already heard from Toni during EPIC’s press conference on the “Food and Fuel” discussion. But, I took the opportunity to grab ZimmComm’s first one-on-one interview with Toni at the Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300.

You can hear what Toni has to say about joining EPIC and about recent criticism of ethanol here:

2008 Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300 Photo Album

Beatn’ the Heat on Ethanol

EPIC Food and Fuel DiscussionThere’s no question that there’s been a media barrage giving ethanol a bad rap. Just today, the Kansas City Star’s cover story focused on criticism of the alternative fuel. That story came just in time for today’s Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300. The entire IndyCar Series runs on nearly 100 percent ethanol fuel. And, leading representatives of the ethanol industry say there’s a reason why the IndyCar series backs ethanol. In fact, they say there are numerous reasons why. More importantly, they say there are a handful of reasons why consumers should support ethanol, despite the media’s recent ethanol scapegoating for rising food and fuel costs. The Ethanol Promotion and Information Council hosted a panel discussion at the Kansas Speedway today to address the recent abundance of “misinformation” about ethanol.

The panel included EPIC’s new Executive Director Toni Nuernberg, CEO and President of ICM Dave Vander Griend, Mike Sobetski with LifeLine Foods, and Greg Krissek with ICM. They argue that ethanol has a negligible impact on food prices, specifically corn. They talk about new technology that proves there isn’t a debate about “food versus fuel” but a discussion about “food and fuel.” And, they say that, despite what critics in the media suggest, ethanol actually keeps gas prices lower.

You can listen to the entire panel discussion here:

2008 Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300 Photo Album

Racing Fever

indyethanol.jpgChomping at the bit for the 2008 Indy racing season to get underway? You’re not the only one. A fellow photog that covers the Indy Racing League sent me this all too appropriate IndyCard. I think it’s safe to say that the smell of burning ethanol has quickly evolved into one of the distinct smells of Indy races. That and burning rubber!

Does the smell of ethanol get you excited about racing? Tell others about your obsession with the authentic IndyCard.

And don’t miss the Homestead season opener on March 29 at Miami Speedway. Even if you can’t make it to the track to “smell ethanol,” you can catch the race at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

Ethanol Education Pack and Contests

EPIC kids stuffThe science of ethanol can now be taught in the classroom in an informative and entertaining way with the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council’s (EPIC) new educational fun pack and student contests.

The pack includes six different units for teachers – English, geography, science, math, vocabulary, and social studies. It also includes lots of fun stuff like the “How Ethanol is Made” video, several in-class activities including a crossword puzzle, word find and quiz, wristbands, environmental clings, children’s books, t-shirts and five Team Ethanol IndyCar® Series die-cast cars.

In addition, EPIC is sponsoring ethanol essay, podcast and coloring contests for students. Teachers who teach 4th through 6th grade can go online to to order their free educational materials and find out about the contests.

“Fuel the Change” Video Contest

Consumers can educate other consumers about America’s energy options by participating in the “Fuel the Change” video contest sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC).

EPIC contest Entrants can submit a :30 second video to The producer of the winning video will receive a $10,000 cash prize and get the opportunity to have the commercial aired during the 2008 Indianapolis 500 on ABC.

Entries will be judged in several ways. Beginning on February 11, voters will be able to rate the videos posted to the website. In addition, a panel of judges will view the videos and select winners based on consumer votes, creativity, originality, relevance, broadcast suitability, and adherence to contest rules.

The contest runs from January 28, 2008 through April 21, 2008. Winners will be selected on May 7, 2008. The winning entry could air during the 2008 Indianapolis 500 on May 25.

In addition to the first place video prize, a “People’s Choice” award will be given, the winner receiving $5,000 and three “Sponsor’s Choice” award will be given, the winners receiving $1,250 each. Registered users of the site who vote each day are also entered into a drawing to win weekly prizes including $500 gas cards.

Check out all the rules and regs on the official “Fuel the Change” website – and get those cameras rolling!

E States Number 28

EPIC mapThe Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) state branding program has added another three states to the list of those that have approved the “e” label for ethanol at the pump.

Maine, Mississippi and Wisconsin are the latest to approve the pump label, a project EPIC has been working on for just about a year now. The map shows all of the states that have approved the label so far. The idea is to have a recognizable symbol to identify ethanol blended fuel no matter where a motorist fills up.

It may seem odd that Iowa is one of the state not marked yet, but as EPIC Acting Executive Director Robert White explains, “Iowa is one of the states that has a set label that they use and we are working with our partners, the Iowa Corn Growers Association, to revisit that label.” White says that the Iowa Department of Agriculture wants to have consistency for consumers in the labeling of ethanol from state to state and since they are literally surrounded by states which have now adopted the “e” logo, he is confident that Iowa will soon approve it as well.

The approval means that the state has “given its blessing” for the logo to be used to identify ethanol blends at the pump. It is then up to grassroots efforts within each state to get retailers to use the labels.

Rose Bowl Fans Learn About Renewable Fuel

Illinois Corn Growers GraphicThe Illinois Corn Growers made some in-game statements during the Rose Bowl. Too bad the local team didn’t win. This graphic is an example of the messages they used for this promotional opportunity.

The game on the field may not have yielded the desired results that the University of Illinois football program had hoped for on Tuesday, but Illinois did make a significant impact. It was in fact the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB) that provided a significant “win” for the State of Illinois’ agri-business community, at the prestigious Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The ICMB used the national stage to deliver a few poignant messages. First, Illinois farmers want to help curb the nation’s dependence on foreign oil through the use of ethanol. Secondly, the nation can rest assured that farmers have the capacity to accomplish this, while still providing more than the necessary amount of corn as a food source.

With the University of Illinois making an appearance in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1984, the ICMB partnered with InStadium, Inc., a sports media and marketing company, to harness the national exposure of the more than 93,000 attendees. All of this was done in an effort to increase the awareness of the uses and implications of ethanol, which is widely regarded as an environmentally friendly fuel alternative.

Primafuel Named 2008 Technology Pioneer

PrimafuelPrimafuel is the leader of the pack when it comes to bio energy innovation. The California-based biofuels technology and infrastructure innovator has been named the 2008 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer.

WEF Technology Pioneer awards are given to companies developing and applying highly transformational and innovative technologies in the areas of energy, biotechnology and health, and IT.

The Technology Pioneer award recognized Primafuel’s next-generation biofuels technologies, including aquaculture feedstock and appropriate-scale processing equipment. Primafuel’s goal is to improve the economic and environmental performance of today’s biofuels. With the company’s patent-pending technology platforms, there will be a quicker transition to multi-product bio-refineries.

Technology Pioneers were nominated by the world’s leading technology experts, including venture capitalists, technology companies, academics and media. Technology Pioneers 2008 are invited to participate in the Davos World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008, from 23-27 January and in the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, China from 25-27 September 2008.

Primafuel’s mission is to improve the economic, environmental and social sustainability of low-carbon fuels.

EPIC Fun Pack

EPIC Fun PackThe Ethanol Promotion and Information Council unveiled a new Educational Fun Pack last week at the Green California Schools Conference.

The pack is equipped with six different units for teachers. The materials focus on English, geography, science, math, vocabulary, and social studies. The fun pack also includes 30 wristbands, 30 environmental window clings, 30 children’s books, 2 girls and 2 boys t-shirts, five Team Ethanol die-cast cars, a crossword puzzle, a word find, the “How Ethanol is Made” video, the “Ethanol 101” Power Point, and a poster with a board game on the back.

This fun pack is completely free to teachers and is available at

Chrysler Fuel Cell Technology in California

Chrysler LLCChrysler LLC has joined the California Fuel Cell Partnership, becoming the 34th member of the organization. Chrysler says the CaFCP is valuable colloboration that encourages engineers to develop solutions for hydrogen technology at an accelerated rate.

“We are pleased to welcome Chrysler as the California Fuel Cell Partnership’s ninth automotive member,” said Catherine Dunwoody, CaFCP’s executive director. “We’re looking forward to the new perspectives and ideas Chrysler will bring to the table as we all work together to commercialize this important transportation solution.”

California Fuel Cell PartnershipChrysler pioneered fuel cell vehicle technology more than 10 years ago. Fuel cells release energy from the reaction of hydrogen with a catalyst and oxygen. This clean technology operates at a high level of efficiency and is true zero-emission. Hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles emit only pure water vapor as exhaust. Fuel cell systems are part of Chrysler’s advanced- propulsion technology umbrella, which includes efficient gasoline engines, advanced diesels and hybrid powertrain systems.

Founded in 1999, CaFCP members have placed 188 fuel cell passenger vehicles and transit buses on California’s roads. In addition, CaFCP members have built 27 hydrogen stations, with 11 more planned, forming the largest hydrogen infrastructure in the world.

CaFCP describes itself as an organization of auto manufacturers, energy providers, fuel cell technology companies and government agencies, where members work together to promote the commercialization of hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles.

Toyota Says Fuel-Cell Hybrid a Success

Toyota Highlander Fuel Cell HybridThe trek from Fairbanks to Vancouver along the Alaska Highway is more than 2,300 miles long. Toyota says its Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle not only logged all those miles in seven days, but it averaged well-above 300 miles per tank.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A, Inc., revealed a significant achievement in its ongoing hydrogen-hybrid fuel cell development program at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show. A recent 2,300 mile trek in a Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV) from Fairbanks, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia along the Alaska-Canadian (ALCAN) highway confirmed substantial progress in reliability and durability, cold-weather operation and extended range capability of Toyota’s hybrid fuel cell system.

“Beyond the single-tank range capability, this new system was developed to deal with two major challenges to the refinement of fuel-cell power-trains. That is, starting and operating in cold temperatures and standing up to the vibration and harshness of rough road conditions … over a long distance … over a long time,” said Bob Carter, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager.

“Equally important, was to show how the development of Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell powertrains continue to move forward and mature at an impressive pace, far in advance of an infrastructure that will be necessary to support them,” Carter said.

To add a sense of risk and adventure, Toyota engineers planned to accomplish the feat with no practice runs and no pre-trip evaluations. Just get in the Highlander FCHV and drive. If they made it to Vancouver, great; if not, it would be chalked up to research and development.

Toyota adds that the company just began shipping the second-generation Highlander Hybrid mid-size SUV to dealerships, nationwide. The new Highlander Hybrid will the latest addition to Toyota´s hybrid line-up, which includes the Camry Hybrid and Prius Hybrid. Toyota says its hybrid products account for more than a quarter million hybrid sales for 2007 and more than 275,000 total hybrid sales for Calendar 2008.

Allegro Gets on Board with Biomass

Continental Energy CorporationInvestments in bioenergy are smart investments for Allegro Biodiesel. Allegro is moving to diversify the bio-energy sector and acquire a biomass energy company in Colorado.

Allegro Biodiesel Corporation has announced that it has extended a $500,000 bridge loan to Littleton, Colorado-based Community Power Corporation as a first step in potentially acquiring the company.

Established in 1995, privately-held CPC is a leading developer of small modular bioenergy technology and products, which gasify a wide range of biomass residues for generation of power, heat, and synthetic fuels as a substitute for fossil fuels such as natural gas, propane and diesel. The company’s proprietary gasification system has successfully processed over 30 different biomass feedstocks including wood, nutshells, grasses, paper and plastics. The company has received more than $12 million in R&D funding and technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Defense, the California Energy Commission, and other organizations. Under these R&D projects, since 1998 CPC has built and shipped 24 modular biopower units to product development and demonstration sites in the U.S., the Philippines and El Salvador.

“Our agreement paves the way for Allegro to add biomass conversion to our core competency of biofuels production,” said Allegro Biodiesel Chief Executive Officer Bruce Comer. “CPC is a top player in this space with proven, environmentally-sound modular bio-energy technology.”

CPC develops automated, modular energy systems under the BioMax(R) trade name. These systems are designed for on-site conversion of biomass residues to clean energy for farms, schools, small manufacturing enterprises, communities, military encampments and other on-grid and off-grid applications.

CPC says the potential market for its modular biopower systems is more than $3 billion per year. Comer says Allegro will aim to drive CPC technology to the next level of commercialzation.

Youth to Take Up Shell Fueling the Future Challenge

2008 Shell Eco-MarathonThe future of energy and fuel isn´t just in the hands of Congress. This spring, the 2008 Shell Eco-Marathon Americas will give today´s youth the chance to develop their own technologies for the transportation of tomorrow.

50 student teams from North and South America? Check. Young engineers bringing innovative thinking to the future of transportation? Check. Prototype vehicles that travel nearly two thousand miles per gallon as part of a global effort to change the way the world uses energy? Check, and check. The Shell Eco-marathon(TM) Americas may not be the fastest race you’ve ever seen, but it’s probably the most fuel-efficient. In 2008, the stakes are high as student teams prepare their eco-friendly vehicles to drive the farthest distance using the least amount of fuel and break the 1,902.7 miles per gallon record set by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2007.

“Shell is working aggressively to help meet the energy challenge head-on and long-term, and we understand the importance of encouraging technology and innovation in the minds of tomorrow’s leaders and engineers,” said David Sexton, President of Shell Oil Products U.S. “The Shell Eco-marathon promotes fuel efficiency, and we’re challenging students from North and South America to build environmentally friendly vehicles to inspire future transportation.”

Student teams will take up the 2008 Shell Eco-marathon Americas challenge April 10-13 at the California Speedway in Fontanta, CA. The winning team will receive a grand prize of $10,000, which will be awarded to the team´s educational institution.

Renewable Fuels Now Fights for Alternative Energies

e-podcastThe first “official” action of the Renewable Fuels Now coalition was to determine where Americans stand on developing and using alternative energies. The coalition is a new umbrella organization of different associations that are working to provide accurate information about renewable fuels. Greg Krissek with ICM says opponents of alternative energies have swamped the public with misinformation about renewable fuels, particularly ethanol. But, Bob Dinneen, the president of a member organization the Renewable Fuels Association, says despite the barrage of misinformation, Americans are still strong supporters of alternative fueling options such as ethanol and biodiesel. He says the poll sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Now coalition affirms that 74 percent of Americans think the U.S. should be using more ethanol. Bob adds that 87 percent want the government to actively support the development of renewable fuels in the U.S. That’s why Greg says the next step for the new umbrella organization is to educate policy makers about the advantages of renewable fuels. He says the Renewable Fuels Now coalition wants to ensure policy makers have the correct information on alternative energies like ethanol and biodiesel as they debate the next Energy Bill and plan to expand the Renewable Fuels Standard developed in 2005.

This edition features comments from Renewable Fuels Now representatives RFA President Bob Dinneen and ICM’s Greg Krissek.

The “Fill up, Feel Good” podcast is available to download by subscription (see our sidebar link) or you can listen to it by clicking here (5:30 MP3 File):

The Fill Up, Feel Good theme music is “Tribute to Joe Satriani” by Alan Renkl, thanks to the Podsafe Music Network.

“Fill up, Feel Good” is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

Storm Spotlights Ethanol

StormKearney, Nebraska’s Tri-City Storm hockey team is planning to host an “Ethanol Awareness Night” in conjunction with a February home game, according to the United States Hockey League (USHL).

The Friday, Feb. 8 hockey game will be designated as Ethanol Awareness Night. Sponsors in support of the game night event will be on hand to visit with fans about the impact of ethanol on the community. The promotion is being endorsed by the Nebraska Ethanol Board.

“A Storm hockey game provides a unique platform to reach a captive audience, and many companies have found this avenue as a means to display or convey a mass marketed message,” said team vice president of operations, Greg Shea. “We have many fans and business partners that are connected in one way or another to the agricultural community, and thus we intend to use our home games from time-to-time to generate interest and enthusiasm about topics that impact our local economy.”

Ethanol awareness promotions are beginning to dot the sports landscape. The Kansas City Royals, Iowa Cubs and Kansas City T-Bones are just a few of the most recent contributors to ethanol awareness in the Midwest.

“The concept of utilizing a hockey game as a vehicle to drive awareness on the topic was met with great enthusiasm by the Nebraska Ethanol Board,” said Shea. “Ethanol success will mean more dollars in our community and that will trickle down to even the entertainment sector that we represent.”