A pipeline in the Southeastern United States that has already tested moving biodiesel (see my Feb. , 2009 post) is now looking at sending ethanol through that same conduit.
This Reuters story says Kinder Morgan Energy Partners is looking at shipping ethanol on the Louisiana to Virginia Plantation duct:
“We are evaluating the Plantation pipeline … as the next possible pipeline system that can handle ethanol,” Jim Lelio, a renewable fuels business development director at the company, told the Alternative Fuels & Vehicles conference in Orlando on Tuesday.
Late last year, Kinder said it had started sending batches of the biofuel through a 105-mile (170-km) petroleum products pipeline in Florida on demand from customers seeking to cut the costs of transportation of the fuel via rail and trucks.
Lelio said there were a number of challenges in sending ethanol on product lines and the challenges are bigger for a much bigger line like Plantation. Petroleum products can travel about 10 times as far on Plantation than on the Florida duct.
Th article goes on to say that there are concerns that the ethanol will absorb excess oxygen, causing stress corrosion cracking. But officials with the Association of Oil Pipelines say there are ways to control the problem. And that is good news for other companies, such as Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP.N) and Poet, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, expressing interest in moving ethanol through pipelines.