Tri-State Biodiesel sees response to 'myth campaign'

By Suzanne H. Schmidt | August 08, 2008
In early 2008, Brent Baker, president of Tri-State Biodiesel LLC in Brooklyn, N.Y., designed a campaign to address the misconceptions regarding biodiesel. Baker's campaign focuses on providing accurate information about biodiesel to three main groups: the biodiesel industry, political groups and the public via mass media.

Information from the campaign was distributed through flyers at conferences, e-mails and through Tri-State's Inquiry Package. The information served as a resource to answer questions about the biodiesel industry, production methods and the renewable fuel's impact on food prices. "I definitely got a lot of calls and e-mails back saying, 'Hey this was great,'" Baker said. "A few people were requesting to use the flyers, and we encourage them to do so."

Baker noted that the public's attitude toward biodiesel is generally based on mass media coverage. "One thing that I've been hearing pretty consistently is frustration by the lack of understanding in the media with the way the word 'biofuels' is used in a very vague way," he said, pointing out that this causes many people to believe that biodiesel and biofuels are the same. "Often when [the media] are referring to biofuels, they'll go on to talk about corn ethanol and insinuate that the data is the same for all the different feedstocks and biofuels when it isn't."

Baker said it will take more than one company to facilitate clear communication between the biodiesel industry and the general public. "We need to do a better job as an industry and a movement for alternative fuels in getting the information out there," he said. "We need to challenge ourselves-from the National Biodiesel Board through the industry to the people who are biodiesel supporters-to make the effort to address mistakes when they are reported in the media and set the record straight," he said.

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