An ethanol plant is coming to Sioux City, IA. Mayor Karen Van de Steeg and the city council proudly made the announcement this morning that an $80 million plant will be built near Sioux Gateway airport. Baard Renewables LLC, a subsidiary of Baard Energy of Vancover, WA, will construct the plant which company officials say will produce 60-million gallons of ethanol every year. The operation will create 48 permanent jobs that pay between 40 and 140-thousand dollars a year. Construction is expected to begin next September with completion set for one year later.
Groundbreaking ceremonies are being held within the next few days in two states for two new ethanol plants.
Siouxland Ethanol will break ground on a plant in Jackson, NE on Friday, November 4. When completed, Siouxland Ethanol will produce 50 million gallons of ethanol annually using 18 million bushels of corn from the region. The plant will provide 32-36 news jobs for the local area. Fagen, Inc. of Granite Falls, Minnesota is handling both construction and management of the project. ICM, Inc. of Colwich, Kansas will provide the process design. According to the American Coalition for Ethanol release, Nebraska is the nation’s third largest producer of ethanol.
Then on Monday, November 7, ground will be broken for the Missouri Ethanol, LLC plant in Laddonia, MO. That plant is a partnership between East Central Ag Products (ECAP), Northeast Missouri Grain, LLC and Broin Companies. Missouri Governor Matt Blunt and other state and national dignitaries will be on hand for that event. Accoring to Missouri Ethanol President David Vogt they hope to begin ethanol production next fall. “The plant should produce about 45 million gallons of ethanol and 134,000 tons of distiller’s grains,” said Vogt. He adds that it will use about 17 million bushels of corn a year and provide about 40 jobs in the area. I interviewed David Vogt about the project for the Missouri Corn Growers Association’s weekly CornTalk program, which you can listen to here.
A small “one stoplight” town in Indiana is trying to make a new name for itself – Bio Town, USA.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels recently announced his ambitious plan to make Reynolds, IN the first community in the country that gets all of its energy from biorenewable sources. “BioTown , USA is an aggressive plan that I believe will become a model for rural communities throughout our state and country,” said Governor Daniels. “We are taking challenges and turning them into opportunities by developing homegrown, local energy production to become independent from foreign sources; creating a cleaner environment; finding new solutions to animal waste management issues; and developing new markets for Indiana agricultural products and by-products.”
Phase 1 of the BioTown, USA plan for Reynolds revolves around biofuels. Governor Daniels announced that an E85 (85 percent ethanol) fuel pump would be located in the center of Reynolds to support the flex fuel vehicles already in the town – and more flex-fuel vehicles are coming. The town has committed to convert its fleet of vehicles to E85. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture is working with a vehicle manufacturer to get more flex-fuel vehicles into this town and is also planning to convert many of the remaining cars and trucks in Reynolds into flex fuel vehicles.
Listen to a USDA newsline report about Bio Town, USDA here.
Ethanol has received a lot of media attention lately. Chuck Zimmerman interviewed Tom Slunecka, Executive Director of the Ethanol Promotion & Information Council to find out why. He provides reasons that include new energy legislation, auto manufacturers who have announced new models built specifically to run on ethanol, the pressure on gas supplies due to the recent hurricanes and higher gas prices. Slunecka also says that EPIC has conducted some recent promotions that show that although consumers may be aware of ethanol, they aren’t sure just how it affects them personally and they don’t yet associate it with the fuel they pump into their cars. This is why EPIC is working on an ethanol brand to help fuel retailers and producers develop a sustainable positive image and demand for ethanol. You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Tom here:
Toronto and St. Louis are the locations for dueling biofuels conferences on almost the same dates in December.
First, by a day, is the 2005 Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit to be held December 13-15. According to the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, the “Canadian biofuels market is poised for a massive expansion. Ontario is about to implement a 10% province-wide renewable fuels mandate, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have already done so.” This is Canada’s second annual Renewable Fuels Summit and the theme this year is “Open New Opportunities.”
On December 14-15, Farm Foundation and USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses are hosting the Energy from Agriculture Conference at the Marriot St. Louis Airport. This conference “will provide farmers and ranchers, rural community leaders, energy executives and state and regional government officials with practical, science-based information on agriculture’s role in energy production,” and is a follow-up to the June 2004 conference, Agriculture As A Consumer and Producer of Energy.
I think this is a real pretty logo. Nice website these E3 Biofuels folks have too – not too flashy, but very classy. Their slogan is “Merging Technologies for Earth, Energy and Environment.” The company made some domestic fuel news this week with the public unveiling of the complex it is building near Mead, NE. The E3 Biofuels Complex is being called a cutting-edge closed-loop system that combines ethanol production, livestock production, and waste management. The system incorporates a dairy or feedlot, an ethanol production process, and an anaerobic digester into a self-sustaining, closed-loop system. The manure from the livestock is handled by an on-site waste management facility and turned into biogas. This biogas powers the ethanol production process, eliminating fossil fuel costs. Wet distillers grain – a co-product of the ethanol production process – is fed to the livestock, completing the loop. Similar concept to the Panda Energy plant planned for Southwest Kansas, which DomesticFuel reported on September 19. The American Coalition for Ethanol has a story about the complex on its website, and the E3 Biofuels website features a story from the OmahaWorld Herald.
The Ethanol Promotion & Information Council, also known as EPIC, has a goal of informing consumers about the benefits of ethanol and recently the organization teamed up with a Wichita, KS car dealer to bring that good news to women. Don Hatten Chevrolet regularly hosts clinics to educate women on the basics of car maintenance and last week’s clinic included information about the performance, safety and environmental benefits of ethnanol blends. About 50 women attended the clinic, according to a release on EPIC’s consumer information site. Steve Rust, a member of the EPIC staff, conducted the ethanol portion of the clinic.
ICM, Inc. of Colwich, Kan., and Davis-Moore Dealerships of Wichita, Kan., partnered to promote the use of ethanol-enriched fuel and donated a fuel-efficient Chevrolet Aveo to the American Lung Association of Kansas (ALA). The American Lung Association of Kansas then gave the car away during a raffle held Oct. 8, with all proceeds benefiting asthma research.
“Our partnership with the ethanol industry has been a wonderful experience. We support the use of alternative fuels such as ethanol,” said Judy Keller, the executive director of ALA of Kansas.
Ethanol reduces tailpipe fine particulate matter (PM) emissions by up to 50 percent. These emissions pose a health threat to children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory ailments. Particulate matter in the air makes it more difficult for everyone to breathe, especially those with respiratory problems, like asthma.
“Through the generosity of this program, we will be able to help thousands of people who suffer from asthma. Ethanol is good for the air and good for asthmatics,” commented Keller.
The American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago credits ethanol-enriched fuels with reducing smog-forming emissions by 25 percent since 1990.
The American Trucking Associations’ Board of Directors has revised the organization’s alternative fuels policy to advocate the use of biodiesel in blends up to 5 percent as part of the national diesel fuel standard.
An ATA news release says the new policy serves as one part of the organization’s efforts to combat rising fuel prices and help shape a comprehensive national energy plan.
“We need to look at all options for extending the supply of diesel fuel,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “Biodiesel represents an important part of a long-term energy plan designed to increase the nation’s fuel supply and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
Interest in renewable fuels is gaining momentum within the trucking industry, which has been struggling against skyrocketing fuel prices. At current prices, the trucking industry, which consumes 35 billion gallons of diesel each year, is on pace to spend an unprecedented $85 billion on fuel this year. For many motor carriers, fuel often represents the second-highest expense after labor and can account for as much as 25 percent of total operating costs.
This is significant because more than 564,000 motor carriers in the United States transport nearly 70 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation. Trucks hauled 9.8 billion tons of freight in 2004, collecting $671 billion dollars, or just under 88 percent, of total revenues earned by all transport modes.
The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its fifty affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States.
USDA’s number two official says ethanol production is growing so fast now it is changing the dynamics of grain marketing in this country. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner says at this point, “we are going to have to go back and re-evaluate our own methods of calculating posted county prices and the determination of local prices because ethanol plants have changed that dynamic substantially.”
Conner points out that ethanol production is also helping the economies of rural areas, with 88 plants currently producing ethanol and another 15 under construction. “Virtually all of these plants are farmer-owned plants. When they are completed these facilities will have about five billion gallons of production capacity. Nationwide, ethanol production capacity, we believe creates just about 150,000 jobs.”
Conner made his comments during a visit to Arkansas last week for a Farm Bill listening session. You can hear his comments about ethanol here.