“Henry Ford’s original Model T was designed to run on ethanol fuel. But subsequently the US built a motor fuel system based on the availability of cheap sources of petroleum. Now that we are again in transition from the oil age, it is time for us to invest in a more sustainable future.”

“Novozymes supplies more than half of commercial enzymes used to produce the 6 billion gallons of ethanol in the US. Today biofuels still only make up 3-4% of America’s gasoline consumption, but together we see much larger potential.”

These were just a few of the remarks from speeches when George Bush visited Novozymes in Franklinton, North Carolina on 22 February.


The visit

The president was in fine form with lots of jokes, and obviously interested in the theme of biofuel. His "mantra" was that the US must become less dependent on oil, particularly from other countries.

He focused on three things that ethanol can help with:

  1. Oil can be used by foreign countries to shape the direction of the US, sometimes in undesired ways
  2. Oil prices will rise as long as demand rises, particularly with the industrialization of China and other countries
  3. The environment.


Gathered for the occasion was a very enthustiastic audience, which included a mixture of government officials, executives, employees and customers representing a number of major American corporations within biofuel.

Thomas Nagy, president of Novozymes North America, gave an introduction to the company, and President Bush thanked Novozymes for investing in the US, for creating jobs and for helping the US to develop an alternative energy strategy.

President Bush’s and others’ speeches were followed by a tour of the plant and a panel discussion. The entire visit lasted under three hours.


The media

Around 100 journalists covered the event. Media coverage ranged from international media such as the BBC and CNN, a variety of US-national media all the way to the local high school paper.