Deere’s principal scientist for renewable energy John Hickman told the crowd that by the year 2015, most ethanol will still come from starch – or corn – but the growth to cellulosic ethanol will include some intermediary steps.
According to their calculations, Hickman says the United States could produce a 15.6 billion bushel corn crop seven years from now. “If we grow as much corn as we did in 2007 and the yield increases go from where they have in the last ten years, that would be possible in 2015,” he said. “That could then produce 19 billion gallons of ethanol and still provide exports and other uses for corn.”
Down the road, as cellulosic technology improves, Hickman says growers may have to make different planting decisions. “They have a period of time yet. The first cellulosic plants will be rolling on board in 2010, 2011. We’re going to learn a lot from those first plants. That will give growers much better signals than they have today.”
Veteran farm broadcaster Stewart Doan of Little Rock, Arkansas interviewed Hickman after his presentation. Listen to that interview here: