It’s About Time Biofuels Became Cool

By Mike Bryan | January 16, 2013

In the recent RFA Daily Clips, I read an article about a new ad campaign that was put out by UNICA in Brazil, touting biofuels (particularly ethanol) as “Cool.” While I know we have had our issues with Brazil, it’s important to give credit where credit is due, and I believe kudos should go to UNICA on this one.

Frankly, ethanol has never been viewed as cool by anyone but those who produce it and those who provide the feedstock. But despite its not-that-cool status, ethanol has done very well and has garnered a significant place in the world’s petroleum pool.

Frankly, fossil fuels were never viewed as very cool either, once the novelty wore off a 100 or so years ago. They remain not very cool today, in fact have slipped into the shameful-but-necessary category and no amount of bling will ever make fossil fuels look cool again. Ethanol, on the other hand, has gone from not very cool to an easy mark for anyone with an inclination to use it as target practice.

Biodiesel was cool, solar, wind, geothermal, even MTBE, were all viewed as cool. Ethanol was like the nerdy chemistry major, compared to the star quarterback role garnered by other alternative energies. Trouble is, the star quarterback often ends up wishing he would have been the nerdy chemistry major as life unfolds.

In fact, ethanol always has been cool! What could be cooler than to annually grow a new supply of feedstock for a major energy source? What could be cooler than to go from a few million gallons to providing 10 percent of the America’s petroleum demand? And what could be cooler than to help keep agriculture strong, America safer and improve our environment?

While I firmly believe we chose the correct path by promoting the environmental, economic and security benefits over its coolness, perhaps it is time for ethanol to take off the glasses with the tape holding them together and to don some cool shades.

It’s been said that perception is 90 percent of reality. If that’s the case, then let’s begin to redefine ethanol’s reality. We’ll always be the nerd and proud of it, just with some cool shades.

That’s the way I see it. 

Author: Mike Bryan
Chairman, BBI International