4 minutes with…Peter Brown, Founder, FFA Fuels and Euromarketingtools.com

November 18, 2014 |

Tell us about your organization and it’s role in the advanced bioeconomy.

What my partner and I have done is look at the present pricing structure and ROI of existing renewable energy hardware and found better and cheaper solutions. For example, existing biodiesel processors were being sold in $15 million per 20 million gallon units, we can provide the same thing for under $5 million with more feedstock options.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

We are focussed on installing more diverse renewable energy solutions from methane digesters to biodiesel processors. Working on the idea of an energy farm where several fuels are made from similar sources and sold into similar outlets. I will also continue to write and support at every level any movement away from big oil and green house gas production. We will deploy a new financing model that will provide the producer with 85% financing at 2% for 18 years on any renewable project.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?

Provide at least 25% of liquid fuels from bio sources at par with existing solutions.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change?

Make investors get off the VC model of high exit strategy and accept steady projects. We already have the technology, there will not be too many surprises there in the near future.

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?  

I’m a mechanic at heart, we are now dismantling and rebuilding diesel cars, and they will be cleaner than gas. My motivation is simple, clean the air, add jobs and convince others that there is money in that.

Where are you from? 

Antweerp Belgium, brought up on a dairy farm and went to primary and secondary school in French and Flemish

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway? 

Modern Languages at Washington College, Chestertown Md. I chose that school because it was the only school in the US that was actually named by George Washington, I liked the tradition and because I was coming from Belgium and had no idea what to look for.

Who do you consider your mentors. What have you learned from them?

Mentors come in many shapes depending on what is required, for example my father taught me tat no matter where you are you probably have someone close by to help you. I did an engineering project in Madagascar and sure enough I met an old guy peddling vanilla that I knew for Antwerp. I had a Jesuit friend who advised me to always go look and that is how I ended up working for the Canadian nuclear engineering group, met Ceaucescu and wrote my Masters thesis on Three Mile Island, I was there. From Nuclear I went to hydro with the James Bay project and now biofuels and energy. Just keep checking, keep your options open.

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?

Never panic and think it through, this applies to business, health, personal relations and almost anywhere else. When I had a brain hemorrhage I learned that he calmer you stay the less it hurst, when racing a car (See hobbies) that first mistake will send you off the track or spinning, don’t panic and you will pull out. In interviews, always stay calm and assess what your are doing and recuperate. Also just as important, maintain a sense of humor or interest, I have told a number of people that I live my life as a spectator mystified by what others are doing and trying to understand. I worked for a small company that went under because of sheer idiocy on the part of management and I realized that I could learn a lot while not being able to do anything about the situation.

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry? 

Mechanics, I restore and race vintage British cars. I play the guitar badly but it did inspire my son to become an almost pro jazz guitarist, I read everything and anything, travel a lot and learned recently that gardening is a competitive sport

What 3 books would you take to read, if stranded on a desert island?

L”Art Poetique” Bossuet, he is a very boring Frenchman with a multitude of solid aphorisms. The shop manual for the outboard engine attached to the dinghy of the boat that stranded me there. The Face of Battle by Keegan.

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?

Biodiesel Magazine, Biofuels International, AG Week, biomass. I just finished Yergin’s The Quest an incredible pile of knowledge badly exposed but a must read for anyone in our business. I read 4 or 5 pieces of trash a week.

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?

Brussels and Montreal. I stay away from large cities as much as possible, Lorient is another gem by the Ocean finally I would love to get back to Madagascar one day.

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Category: Million Minds

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