‘Biofuel Truth Express’

Mobile education center hits road with positive message
By Holly Jessen | September 12, 2011

America has a jobs problem and an energy problem. “As an industry we are doing our part to be part of the solution,” says Dave Sovereign, chairman of the Golden Grain Energy board of directors. “We need to get this message out to the people and help spread it as far and as wide as we can.”

In Iowa, a handful of ethanol plants and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board found the vehicle—literally—to do that. The mobile biofuels education center has spread the truth about ethanol at events such as fairs and political rallies. It’s an eye-catching display that tells the story of a fuel that’s good for the environment, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, is good for the economy, creates jobs and keeps American money here in America, Sovereign says.

The Iowa ethanol plants onboard with the project are Golden Grain of Mason City, Absolute Energy LLC in St. Ansgar, Homeland Energy Solutions LLC in Lawler, and Big River Resources LLC, which operates one plant in Dyersville, and another in Galva, Ill. Besides visual displays, the trailer contains six computers, three DVD players and three television sets, Sovereign says. It’s handicapped accessible and has its own generator for power, which includes air conditioning. One of the most popular displays is a bushel of corn, 2.85 gallons of ethanol and 17 pounds of distillers grains.“People really enjoyed getting in here and running their hands through the corn and the DDGS,” he says.

Sovereign urges others to get involved in ethanol advocacy wherever they are. Ethanol plant boards can do that by forming political action committees or allocating funds for advertizing and promotion. Individuals can make themselves available as sources for local newspapers or to speak at community clubs. “Don’t think for a minute that one person or a place can’t make a difference or an impact,” he adds. 

—Holly Jessen