In the early days of fuel consulting company MEG Corp, founder Hoon Ge would walk into car dealerships offering ethanol education sessions to the dealer’s technicians. Thinking they would be interested in learning more about the clean, green biofuel, the reception was certainly a surprise to Ge.
“We would really get the cold shoulder,” said Ge, who is a chemical engineer and 25-year veteran of the petroleum industry. “So we had the idea of instead going to the mechanics who are still learning and dispel the myths around ethanol, and then when they get in the dealership they can educate the older mechanics.”
MEG Corp is now entering its fifth year of traveling to technical schools throughout the state conducting ethanol educational seminars, holding as many as 20 sessions annually. The objective of each is to stress the safety of ethanol-blended fuels, address misconceptions and emphasize the benefits.
The setup for each educational session begins with Ge explaining the process of how crude oil becomes gasoline, which is a topic that piques the interest of the audience. He then transitions into introductory ethanol topics, including its production from corn, blended fuels and flex fuels. Ge’s objective is to keep the lesson straightforward for the students early on in their education.
By dispelling the misconceptions through education, Ge said his goal is to reduce the likelihood of consumers and technicians incorrectly placing blame on ethanol for vehicle and small engine equipment problems.
As part of its continuing effort to grow awareness around the benefits of ethanol, Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) provides funds for MEG Corp’s ethanol education seminars. Since 2008, MCGA has invested nearly $23 million overall to advance and expand the use of ethanol through research, growing infrastructure, sponsorships and education, like that done by Ge and his team.
Ge has seen this investment payoff firsthand. Since MEG Corp launched in 2005, he said the opinion towards ethanol in the young technician community has evolved.
“When we first started these educational sessions the reception was more ‘who is this guy going on about ethanol,’ but over the last few years you could tell it was something the class is looking forward to and they want to listen.”