It was a somber yet determined group of ethanol industry representatives that met last week in Omaha for the American Coalition for Ethanol 32nd annual conference, in the wake of the EPA granting another 1.43 billion gallons of refinery waivers.
ACE CEO Brian Jennings says they had a tough and honest board meeting prior to the start of the conference. “People are generally optimistic, but there’s going to be some pain here for a while,” he said.
Jennings says the board approved a new growth strategy combining octane with low carbon. “Refiners can’t show meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jennings. “The more ethanol you add to a gallon of gasoline, the better you make it in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. So we think it’s that double barrelled strategy.”
If the refinery waiver announcements had not been made the Friday before the conference, Jennings says it might have been a very different meeting. “But now we know what we are dealing with,” said Jennings.
The theme of the conference this year was “What it Takes” and Jennings says it takes a lot of “grit and toughness and determination” for ethanol producers to keep going in the face of great challenges “but that really epitomizes who these people are.”ACE Conference wrap up interview with CEO Brian Jennings