Expect the a lot more plants like this one to be built to lessen the ethanol industry’s dependence on natural gas. Archer Daniels Midland has announced its fourth coal-fired co-generation (Co-Gen) plant in Columbus, Nebraska to help power its corn milling and ethanol operations. According to the company release, the plant will be permitted to burn a blend of fuels, including high and low sulfur coals, tire derived fuel and biomass to produce process steam and electric energy. The addition of this Co-Gen plant will help lower ADM’s overall energy costs and lessen its vulnerability to energy market price fluctuations. Co-generation reduces the amount of fuel burned per unit of energy output, and reduces the corresponding emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. ADM currently operates similar Co-Gen facilities in Decatur, Illinois and Cedar Rapids, Iowa and has another under construction in Clinton, Iowa.
The American Coalition for Ethanol is trying to clear up some confusion in the minds of the public about the term “ethanol.” According to an organization release, ethanol means different things to different people. Because of the way the terminology is used, two misunderstandings frequently arise: people mistakenly believe it takes a special car to run on ethanol and that ethanol is only available at a few gas stations in the Midwest.
“Every single automobile on the road today is ethanol-capable,” said Brian Jennings, ACE Executive Vice President. “All vehicles can operate on a 10 percent blend of ethanol with gasoline, and Flexible Fuel Vehicles can use E85, an alternative fuel containing 85 percent ethanol.”
Ron Lamberty, ACE Vice President / Market Development, added that ethanol is much more widespread than many people realize: “Ethanol-blended fuel is available at thousands and thousands of America’s gas stations, literally from coast to coast. E85, the alternative fuel that is 85 percent ethanol, is available at a smaller number of stations and that figure is growing very quickly.”
ACE also has a page on it’s website providing information about cellulosic ethanol for the public.
Ag Secretary Mike Johanns has joined the roster of speakers at the National Ethanol Conference coming up February 20-22 in Las Vegas. The former governor of Nebraska and former chairman of the Governor’s Ethanol Coalition will speak on Wednesday morning, right after the current chairman of the Coalition Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, and just before the current Governor of Nebraska (and soon to be chair of the GEC) Dave Heineman. That’s what I call symmetry.
Expect Johanns to talk about the administration’s commitment to putting more dollars into ethanol research.
Ford and GM both used Super Bowl XL to kick off new campaigns with domestic fuel themes.
Ford went with a big name star to promote its new Escape Hybrid. The ad, which premiered during the Super Bowl – held appropriately in Detroit’s Ford Field – featured a frog with a familiar face. More ads starring the famous Muppet are scheduled to run this year during popular network television shows such as American Idol, CSI: Miami, and the Barbara Walters Academy Awards Special. You can also expect to see Internet, print and billboard ads featuring Kermit. You can watch the Ford Kermit spot here. Hey – maybe they’ll name a car after him! The Ford Kermit kinda has a nice ring to it…
While Ford was turning green during the Super Bowl, General Motors was a curious yellow in pre- and post-game commercials, touting its “Live Green, Go Yellow” theme. GM had planned to launch the campaign today as a tie-in to the opening of the Winter Olympics this week, but decided to ride on the momentum of the President’s State of the Union address last week and take off early. The yellow stands for corn and the campaign is promoting GM’s yellow fuel-filler caps on its E85-capable vehicles to raise consumer awareness, starting March 1.
Ford Motor Company and VeraSun Energy are working to create a “Midwest Ethanol Corridor” through Illinois and Missouri to increase the availability of E85 fuel. According to a Ford press release – The first phase in the creation of the Midwest ethanol corridor is to convert approximately 40 existing gasoline fuel pumps in Illinois and Missouri to E85. The move will increase availability by approximately one-third this year. Ford estimates there are 50,000 owners of Ford flexible fuel vehicles (FFV) in Illinois and 28,000 in Missouri. Ford will work with fuel providers and officials in other states to further develop the Midwest ethanol corridor.
Missouri’s four ethanol plants have created a significant impact on the state’s economy, according to a new study just completed by the University of Missouri-Columbia. The study, which was funded by the Missouri Corn Growers Association,used the sophisticated input-output statistical model called IMPLAN to determine the economic impact of the ethanol industry in Missouri. Basically, they found that:
4 ethanol plants = $92,359,577 in labor income with a total of 2,784 jobs
+ $177,740,334 in value added dollars
+ $390,198,411 in net total output dollars – that is, the estimated amount that ethanol contributes to Missouri’s economy
So, that’s pretty impressive. And with more plants due to come on-line soon, the impact will be even greater, according to a statement from MCGA president Terry Hilgedick. “According to this study, when Missouri ethanol production reaches 350 million gallons, just the day-to-day operations will result in the creation of 5,613 jobs, $63 million in tax revenues and a total net increase of $726 million to Missouri’s economy each and every year. This is value-added agriculture at its best.”
Here is a link to the MCGA release, and a link to the MU Commercial Ag Program page where you can find the study in PDF format.
The CEO of the National Corn Growers Association was in Japan last week to talk about the history and the future of ethanol in the United States. CEO Rick Tolman attended the Japan Biomass Ethanol Fuel International Symposium in Misasawa, Japan – according to a story on the NCGA website.
Tolman said Japan has many renewable fuel advocates.
“They like the environmental benefits and economic aspects of renewable fuels,” he said. “The focus of the symposium was discussing the potential to build a local industry from surplus rice and from wood chips and forest residue. They were very interested in how the renewable fuels industry has developed in the United States.”
Japan recently passed a law that allows a 3 percent ethanol blend in some vehicles. The nation has one ethanol plant that produces ethanol from sugar.
Tolman said Japan is looking for ways to increase value-added opportunities for its rural communities, just like the United States.
EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson spoke at the National Biodiesel Conference this morning and talked about the future of the domestic fuel industry in America. “Renewable fuels like biodiesel are the next step in our steady march toward cleaner, healthier air.” Johnson said. “President Bush and the EPA are encouraging investments in the technology that are powering the nation’s economy and driving our environmental successes.” Listen to his interview with biodiesel conference blogger Chuck Zimmerman here.
After his talk, Johnson visited the Ride & Drive area outside the convention center, where Chuck took this picture of him checking out a biodiesel powered VW. (Johnson is the one in the center of the photo)
The Renewable Fuels Association’s 11th Annual National Ethanol Conference promises to be bigger and better than ever.
The conference will be held February 20-22 at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada. Among the highlights on the agenda will be addresses by US Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) and ExxonMobil Vice President Dan Nelson, as well as Governors Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas and Dave Heineman of Nebraska.
Registration is available on-line at www.nationalethanolconference.com but if you are interested you better act quickly because they intend to cap registration at 1400 and not offer on-site registration.
Did you know that America pays a “national security surcharge” for each gallon of oil that is imported from the Middle East? I didn’t, but thanks to C. Scott Miller of the BioConversion Blog for bringing it to my attention. Here is a link to Scott’s post which includes an article by a “USAF Lt. Col. (who) calls for a Manhattan Project solution involving cellulosic ethanol, biorefineries, and PHEVs.” Interesting and a real eye-opener. Thanks, Scott.