Better Benchmarks = More Accurate Ethanol Picture

John Davis

Ron AlversonOne of the issues ethanol producers struggle with is some outdated information being used to argue against the positive effects of the green fuel. It’s an issue attendees of the recent American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) “Unite and Ignite” conference in Des Moines, Iowa have been facing for some time. In fact, last March, Joanna talked with Ron Alverson, current President of ACE and who serves on the board of Dakota Ethanol. They spoke during ACE’s Biofuels Beltway event when about 70 ethanol backers gathered in Washington, D.C., to talk ethanol with the Nation’s lawmakers.

“When the Renewable Fuels Standard was created, it was mandated that they do life cycle assessments of carbon intensity for all these fuels, including gasoline and all these biofuels, to give us a benchmark about where we sat in terms of carbon reduction. And the first benchmarking that was done used very old data for ethanol,” he said, giving ethanol a carbon intensity score similar to gasoline. That prompted the environmental groups to quickly turn against ethanol. But five years later, Ron said there’s lots of new data out there that shows a dramatic lowering of ethanol’s life cycle carbon rating. “We’re really pleased to see that new data come out, and [soon] we’ll have that carbon intensity of corn ethanol down to at least 50 percent of gasoline.”

Ron said that each ethanol plant can make their case again to the California Air Resource Board (ARB) to show how much better ethanol really is. But even without new approvals, he believes ethanol still makes a very strong case in the economic benefit it has brought to rural America, pointing to his own community back in South Dakota, where his company’s ethanol plant is located.

“So much more economic activity going on now. We’ve created about 45 jobs at the ethanol plant, and the town only has 200 people!” Ron said. Plus, all over the ethanol industry, farmers are seeing more markets and more value for their corn, and in turn, for everything else in those rural communities. That’s a good story to tell. “Get the facts out, and I’ll think we’ll win the war.

Listen to Joanna’s interview with Ron here: Ron Alverson, current President of ACE

Visit the ACE 26th Annual Ethanol Conference photo album.

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, Ethanol