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Old January 27th, 2009, 01:23 AM   #121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Perhaps they should reconsider more research into algae-based fuels ... plenty of that in our waters, especially due to the excessive pesticides and feeds we pour into the ground that end up in our lakes and rivers.
yea! that's true...
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Old January 31st, 2009, 05:25 PM   #122
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Waste could be crucial in search for cleaner fuels

LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - What we throw away could soon be used to power our cars, if projects to produce ethanol from commercial waste are ramped up.

Some companies are exploring the environmental and financial benefits of putting waste to good use and are developing technology to produce bioethanol.

Magazine paper company UPM Kymmene and renewable fuel supplier Lassila & Tikanoja are currently running pilot tests to produce bioethanol from the pulp-based waste created by the paper industry.

"We will start discussions with the European Union over investment support in February and hope to make a decision on a full-scale plant by the end of the year," Lassi Heitanen, senior expert at Lassila & Tikanoja, told Reuters.

By developing waste processing units, Finnish energy company St1 Oy's biofuel division hopes to produce 70 million litres a year of bioethanol by the end of 2011.

Industrial and household waste is vastly under-utilised and is usually burnt or disposed of in a landfill. Decaying waste can generate methane which is even more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.

Using it to produce a cleaner type of fuel could also help reach EU's target that 10 percent of the bloc' transport fuel should come from renewable sources by 2020.

Ethanol burns with a greater efficiency than gasoline, thereby emitting less carbon dioxide. The world produced 52 billion litres of ethanol in 2007, mostly in the United States and Brazil.

In a similar move to use waste efficiently, British renewable energy company New Earth Energy has partnered with waste management group Biossence to generate renewable energy in the northwest of the UK.

They want to use household and industrial waste as an energy source at two plants in the northwest of the country by 2010.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 05:03 PM   #123
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ADM says 21 percent of U.S. ethanol capacity idle

CHICAGO, Feb 3 (Reuters) - U.S. ethanol producer and grain processor Archer Daniels Midland Co said on Tuesday nearly 21 percent of U.S. ethanol production capacity has been shut due to weak demand and poor margins.

U.S. ethanol plants with a production capacity of 10.2 billion gallons per year are currently operating, down from 12.9 billion last year, ADM Executive Vice President John Rice said on a conference call with analysts.

U.S. capacity to make the alternative fuel rocketed last year as companies raced to build plants amid generous subsidies from the government in an effort to begin to wean the country off foreign oil.

The oil price crash and credit crunch, however, proved too much for some producers. Many also have struggled with volatile prices for corn, which most ethanol is made from in the United States.

Even with the tough times, a few plants are still opening as producers hope that U.S. mandates for traditional ethanol, which are set to increase every year until reaching a peak of 15 billion gallons per year in 2015, will help fuel demand to recover.

"We are on pace to finish our ethanol plants," Rice said about ADM's two new distilleries.

After filing for bankruptcy protection in October, VeraSun Energy Corp has shut 12 out of 16 ethanol plants. The company, which used to be the second largest U.S. producer of the fuel, suffered from costly hedging bets on the price of corn and the credit crunch.

Since then a string of plants have filed for bankruptcy protection, including a subsidiary of Panda Ethanol Inc , Northeast Biofuels and, last week, the private Wisconsin distiller Renew Energy LLC.

Under the 2009 U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard, refiners and fuel blenders are required to blend 10.5 billion gallons per year of traditional ethanol into gasoline in 2009. If U.S. capacity to make the fuel falls short, it could mean the country would have to import more ethanol from Brazil.
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Old February 6th, 2009, 07:41 PM   #124
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Weak crude can erode ethanol exports-Cosan

LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Continuing weak crude oil prices could mean a drop in Brazilian ethanol exports, but demand for the cane-based biofuel in Brazil is rising, said Mark Lyra, ethanol commercial director of Cosan .

Cosan is Brazil's leading ethanol exporter, which probably means that it is the world's largest, Lyra said. Cosan and another company, Vertical, in which it has a stake, together account for some 30 percent of Brazilian ethanol exports.

"If crude prices, and therefore commodity prices, remain low, we should see a drop in exports indeed," Sao Paulo-based Lyra told Reuters in an interview via email late on Wednesday.

"Especially since, on the other hand, consumption in Brazil continues to grow, providing domestic price support."

In 2008 Brazil exported some 5 billion litres of ethanol and Lyra estimated that 70 percent of this volume was fuel ethanol.

The share of sugar is likely to rise and ethanol fall in Brazil's 2009/10 crop compared with the previous year, said Lyra, who will be a keynote speaker at the February 8-10 Dubai sugar conference.

He said that 43 percent of Brazil's 2009/10 cane crop was likely to be allocated to sugar and 57 percent to ethanol.

This compared with 41 percent sugar and 59 percent ethanol in 2008/09, he added.

"Forecasting the mix for next year is a challenge because it depends not only on the strong fundamentals we see for sugar but also on the installed sugar capacity and flexibility of each mill," he said.

"Investments in recent years have been mainly in expanding ethanol production and given the amount of cane each mill must crush, product flow could be favoured over sugar production - and ethanol provides the most product flow through the mill," he added.

Cosan and Vertical's main markets today are evenly distributed among the United States, Europe and Asia -- with the United States and Europe taking a larger share of fuel ethanol versus Asia with industrial grade.
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Old February 15th, 2009, 03:12 PM   #125
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Look who's coming to dinner: Nation's biggest refinery makes its move into ethanol
10 February 2009

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - If federal renewable fuel mandates require ethanol to be mixed into gasoline, the nation's largest independent oil refiner figures it might as well just do it itself.

The ethanol industry is under duress partly due to overcapacity and biorefineries can now be had for pennies on the dollar.

Valero Energy Corp. became the first conventional energy company to test the waters last week, bidding $280 million for five ethanol plants owned by VeraSun Energy Corp., which is now under bankruptcy protection.

It would be the largest ethanol buyout in U.S. history in terms of production capacity, according to Raymond James & Associates.

Cory Garcia, a senior research associate with Raymond James, said it was only a matter of time before the petroleum industry got into ethanol, much like agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. did years ago.

"This is the first time we've seen a refiner get out there and do this," Garcia said. "If they're bullish long-term on the blending ability of ethanol, you can't beat this price."

The nation's renewable fuel standard ensures demand for ethanol by calling for 11.1 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be blended into gasoline this year, with that number climbing to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

"To this point, we've just been buying it, not producing it," said Bill Day, Valero's spokesman. "But once we realized that ethanol is likely to remain an important part of the fuel mix here in the United States, we decided to start looking at opportunities to produce it as well."

The ethanol industry has been hammered during the past year by volatile commodities and shrinking profit margins.

Those market conditions pummeled the stocks of many smaller publicly traded companies and landed VeraSun, the nation's second largest producer, in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Raymond James estimates that Valero is buying the plants for around 25 percent to 33 percent of book value.

"With all the plants and the capacity that they had, it was basically a fire sale at this point," Garcia said. "And Valero stepped in and got a very, very attractive price, in their opinion."

Valero during its history has taken advantage of opportunities created by distressed assets and bankruptcy filings, Day said.

"Right now, ethanol assets can be purchased at significant discount to what they would cost to build new because of the state of the industry," he said.

Valero's bid is for production facilities in Aurora, S.D.; Charles City, Fort Dodge, and Hartley, Iowa; and Welcome, Minn.; and a development site in Reynolds, Ind.

"The Valero bid suggests reports of ethanol's death are premature," said Oppenheimer Research analyst Joseph Gomes Jr.

Sioux Falls, S.D.-based VeraSun owns 16 biorefineries with the total capacity to produce 1.4 billion gallons of ethanol annually, or about 13 percent of the country's total capacity. Only four of those refineries -- all ones targeted by Valero -- remain operational.

VeraSun is looking to sell all of its production facilities and has set a March 13 deadline for bids. VeraSun has a plant in Hankinson, N.D.

If Valero's offer prevails, the company would group the plants under a subsidiary and use the staff already in place at the refineries.

The $280 million bid values the 560 million gallons of existing capacity at 50 cents per gallon, well below the $1.50 to $2 per gallon cost of a new facility.

That low price doesn't bode well for Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings Inc. and Pacific Ethanol Inc., ethanol companies that saw their stocks lose about 95 percent of their values during 2008, Gomes said.

"In an acquisition, the shares would appear to have little, if any, value," he said. "On the positive side, Valero is betting the industry has a future."

Gomes said more cross-industry acquisitions could be on the way.

"We would not be surprised to see additional players in the petroleum industry step up and bid on the remaining VeraSun assets," Gomes said in a research note.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 11:24 AM   #126
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(video)
http://link.brightcove.com/services/...ctid9561533001

The Next Big Biofuel?A Florida farmer thinks the next big biodiesel alternative will come from the seedpods of the jatropha tree...........
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Old February 21st, 2009, 09:33 PM   #127
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totally doubting the whole biodiesel shindig. even my spell checker doesn't recognize biofuel. this means its a fat lie. growing something and then processing it to make fuel doesn't sound even remotely as efficient as solar cells and a s***load of batteries. or cold fusion for that matter.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 02:19 AM   #128
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Obama budget proposes shift to green energy
26 February 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's first budget plan moves aggressively to tackle climate change and shift the U.S. from reliance on foreign oil to green energy.

The proposed budget released Thursday by the White House would rely on $15 billion a year, beginning in 2012, from auctioning off carbon pollution permits to help develop clean-energy technologies, such as solar and wind power. But Congress has yet to write a bill that would regulate heat-trapping gases and collect that money.

Across the government, Obama's commitment to dealing with climate change is apparent.

There is more money at NASA for space-based monitoring of greenhouse gases, expanded support at the Energy Department for finding ways to economically capture carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants, and more money for the Interior Department to mitigate the impact of climate change on public lands and wildlife.

The document also asks Congress to approve an additional $19 million for the Environmental Protection Agency to measure how much climate-related pollution industries are releasing.

The administration "will work expeditiously" to get Congress to approve an 83 percent reduction in global warming emissions by mid-century, the budget document says.

The administration's success on global warming will depend on a second set of priorities outlined in the budget document to reduce the nation's dependence on fossil fuels, including oil and coal, by quickening the transformation to renewable energy and development of technologies to help people use less energy.

The budget would impose a new excise tax and fees on companies that take oil and natural gas from federal waters and reimposes a tax -- again largely targeting the oil industry -- to pay for cleaning up Superfund sites.

The budget calls for "significant increases" in cutting-edge research into renewable energy, including solar, wind and geothermal sources and ways to produce non-corn ethanol, and eventually a gasoline-like fuel, from plants.

"By investing in groundbreaking research, making homes and businesses more energy efficient and deploying solar, wind, biomass and other clean energy, this budget will help ensure that America once against leads the world in confronting our global economic, energy and climate challenge," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The budget calls for collecting $646 billion between 2012 and 2019 from the auctioning of greenhouse pollution allowances under a yet-to-be enacted plan to combat climate change. Democratic leaders in Congress hope to produce a climate bill this year, but there is disagreement over whether allowances should be auctioned to given to carbon-intensive industries to hold down costs.

House Republican leader John Boehner criticized Obama's auction plan, calling it "a carbon tax which will increase taxes on anyone who uses electricity, anyone who drives a car." But White House officials who briefed reporters on the budget said large portions of the money from the auctions would be used to help people offset higher energy costs.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 06:47 PM   #129
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Ethanol to bolster US corn price, plantings-report

WASHINGTON, March 6 (Reuters) - The expansion of the fuel ethanol industry will support U.S. corn prices and plantings this year and in the future, a University of Missouri think tank said on Friday.

Larger ethanol use is "one of the major drivers" in corn prices, said Pat Westoff of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute. Because corn is the major feedstock for ethanol, larger use will bring larger plantings.

Crop prices have fallen sharply since last summer due to economic recession. FAPRI forecast this year's crop will sell for an average $3.74 a bushel, down 15 cents from the 2008 crop average but still the third-highest price on record.

Over the next few years, corn prices are forecast to rise and plantings to gradually increase. FAPRI projected an average corn price of $3.99 a bushel for the 2014 crop and plantings of 89 million acres, compared to 86.3 million acres this year.

The federal target for biofuels use is 10.5 billion gallons this year and peaks at 15 billion gallons annually from 2015.

"Starting in 2016/17, more corn is used in ethanol production than is fed directly to livestock," said FAPRI. For 2009/10, 4 billion bushels would be used for corn and 5.3 billion bushels for livestock. In 2016/17, 5.4 billion bushels would go to ethanol and 5.3 billion to livestock.

In an economic baseline book released in February, the Agriculture Department also said ethanol demand, "in combination with other long-term factors, holds prices for corn and many other crops well above their historical levels." Like FAPRI, USDA said corn plantings will rise due to ethanol.

"A gradual shift to corn away from other crops reflects the high levels of domestic corn-based ethanol production and gains in exports that keep corn demand and producer returns high," said USDA.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 04:16 PM   #130
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U.S. ethanol prices seen rising - Merrill Lynch

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - U.S. ethanol prices are likely to rise, boosted by reduced supply and growing demand, Merrill Lynch said in a report on Friday.

"Limited access to credit and low, volatile refining margins are curbing biofuels output," the report said.

Merrill reduced its estimate for global biofuels output in 2009 to 1.9 million barrels per day, down from a previous forecast of 2.1 million.

The report said mandated targets will push up consumption against a constrained supply environment.

"In our view, U.S. ethanol prices could increase against a backdrop of rising demand and falling inventories," Merrill said.

The report said that as crude oil prices recover, food and fuel competition would intensify.

Biofuels are currently mainly produced using food crops such as grains, sugar and vegetable oils.

"We believe a second round of food and fuel competition could happen as soon as next year.

"A pick-up in global oil demand next year could again drag millions of tons of corn, sugar and wheat out of the food pool into the fuel pool."
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Old March 17th, 2009, 04:21 PM   #131
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USDA chief backs ethanol blend boost in gasoline

WASHINGTON, March 9 (Reuters) - An increase in the ethanol-gasoline blend rate to 12 or 13 percent could be accomplished quickly and with minimal scientific review, giving a needed boost to the future of the industry, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Monday.

A formal request to boost the ethanol blend rate to as high as 15 percent from the current cap of 10 percent was submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week by Growth Energy, an ethanol trade group. The EPA has 270 days to review, collect public comment and make a decision.

"We'd love to see 15 percent. Right now my focus is on 12, 13 percent because I think it is doable more quickly," Vilsack told reporters.

"Our hope is that EPA can come to the same conclusion we have, which is that this is something that can be done within existing regulations without a great deal of time spent reviewing the science," he added.

During the review, the EPA will examine whether a higher blend would harm emission control systems, including catalytic converters, in vehicles. For now, many believe the EPA has the authority to allow a temporary jump to 12 or 13 percent before a final decision is reached on the 15 percent request.

Vilsack said he has had several conversations with EPA head Lisa Jackson and her team to encourage the agency "to take aggressive action on the blend rate." An increase to 12 or 13 percent would be a good "first step" and would help expand market opportunities and improve the stability of the ethanol industry, he noted.

Ethanol, once the cornerstone of the U.S. plan to wean itself from foreign energy, has drawn fire from the food industry and aid groups for diverting corn from livestock and foodmakers and pushing world food prices up.

Food manufacturers and livestock and environmental groups have lined up against a higher blend rate for ethanol made from corn. They say the EPA should wait until ethanol made from crop waste and grasses is commercially available.

Some analysts and the Renewable Fuels Association, an ethanol trade group, forecast consolidation among ethanol companies this year due to tighter margins and slow demand due to a drop in gasoline use.

The industry suffered a large casualty when VeraSun Energy Corp , the No. 2 U.S. ethanol producer, filed for bankruptcy in October.

An increase to a 12 or 13 percent blend rate "is a fundamentally sound and scientifically supported intermediate step that would provide some more immediate relief to a constrained US ethanol market," said Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Washington-based Renewable Fuels Association.

Ultimately, EPA must decide whether to change the blend rate. The USDA and other federal departments can offer advice and information.

A preliminary study released last October and updated last month by the Energy Department found emissions and exhaust temperatures in cars running on higher blends of ethanol did not change significantly from those using traditional fuels.

The DOE has been working on other studies of how the blends affect engines and emissions.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 05:02 PM   #132
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Groups urge US govt against higher ethanol blends

WASHINGTON, March 26 (Reuters) - A coalition of environmental, agricultural, business and consumer groups on Thursday urged the Obama administration not to raise the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline until testing is finished to determine if higher ethanol blends would cause harm.

Ethanol is required to be blended in to up to 10 percent of a gallon of gasoline, but some ethanol producers have called on the Congress or the Environmental Protection Agency to boost the blend to 15 percent even before independent and comprehensive research on higher blends are complete.

"We collectively, and strongly, oppose such an ill-considered approach as contrary to scientific integrity and potentially harmful to our environment, public health and consumers," the coalition said in a joint letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and White House energy and climate change czar Carol Browner.

The letter was signed by some four dozen groups, including the Sierra Club, American Lung Association, American Meat Institute and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

Foodmaker, livestock and environmental groups are against a higher ethanol blend. Ethanol is mostly made from corn, which is also used in livestock feed and consumer food products.

To support their position, the coalition pointed out President Barack Obama's comments made earlier this month that his administration would rely on the best science when making policy decisions.

"Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and protection of national security," Obama said at the time.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 11:59 AM   #133
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That what i think about US with ethanol..Ethanol use in the US will not increase because of the huge subsidies ganted to oil. It would be much better to gradually decrease such subsidies gradually, as they're moved toward local-producing Ethanol farmers. It's better than financing the spectacular growth of Arab nations or local power-thirsty dictators-to-be such as Chávez in Venezuela. Besides, Brazil implemented a large-scale ethanol use back in the '70s (as stated before), but it wasn't untill the late '90s that it really became largely popular, mainly due to bi-fuel cars (which run in any mixture of ethanol and gas), that have really layed the competition between the two fuels according to market rules, and the high prices of oil.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 05:28 PM   #134
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Winnebago ethanol plant considers using Minn. city's wastewater in its distillation process
The Free Press of Mankato
28 March 2009

WINNEBAGO, Minn. (AP) - The city of Winnebago discharges a minimum of about 350,000 gallons of treated wastewater into the Blue Earth River each day.

The ethanol plant just east of town uses up to 350,000 gallons of fresh groundwater daily to produce its fuel.

The ethanol industry is facing criticism for the growing amounts of water it is sucking out aquifers across the Upper Midwest.

For officials at Winnebago's Corn Plus ethanol plant, which has made a habit of seeking innovative solutions to boost efficiency, the thread that tied those three facts together was difficult to ignore.

So Corn Plus General Manager Keith Kor talked to Winnebago officials about exploring the possibility of diverting the city's wastewater from the river to the ethanol plant.

"They really liked the idea, so I made a few phone calls," Kor said.

The calls included state lawmakers who represent Winnebago -- Sen. Julie Rosen and Rep. Bob Gunther, both Fairmont Republicans who are sponsoring state legislation to finance the cost of a pipe running from the wastewater facility to the ethanol plant.

Gunther described the bill in a House committee hearing recently as legislation for a city and an industrial water consumer "that simply wants to do what is right." The legislation seeks an unspecified amount of money, but the total is expected to be somewhere between $250,000 and $300,000 when final costs are tallied up.

State help is needed because Corn Plus has struggled to make a profit in the current economy, Gunther said. In addition, the legislation makes sense from a water resources standpoint.

"They want to eliminate some of the controversy about using water in ethanol plants," Gunther said.

That controversy is difficult to miss with numerous environmental groups and media stories describing the large water demands that ethanol plants place on aquifers. A study by the Argonne National Laboratory released earlier this year projects that water consumption for biofuels production will increase from 7.4 billion gallons a day in 2005 to more than 26 billion gallons daily in 2030.

The vast majority of that water will be consumed by ethanol production in the Upper Midwest, the report predicts. In the region made up of Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, water consumption for ethanol production alone is projected to grow from under six billion gallons a day in 2005 to nearly 19 billion in 2030.

Much of the projected water use is in areas where farmers use irrigation in corn production, but water consumption for the processing of grain into ethanol is also significant. The consumption averaged six gallons of water for each gallon of ethanol in early ethanol plants, although the average has dropped to a four-to-one ratio in recent years.

Already, Corn Plus has reduced its ratio to three gallons of water for each gallon of ethanol produced.

"We'd like to get that at least down to two or even a one-to-one ratio," he said.

When looking at ground-water usage, the ratio could potentially drop close to zero if Corn Plus is able to rely almost exclusively on wastewater from the toilets, bathtubs and sink drains of Winnebago.

There's more analysis to do about the quality of the water coming from the Winnebago treatment plant and how much additional treatment might be required, but Kor is optimistic.

"Our water engineer took some samples, and preliminary indications look like it will work," he said.

Kor is unaware of any other ethanol plants using municipal wastewater as their water source, but other industrial facilities have made that transition. The Calpine power plant in Mankato is a recent example, using up to 2 million gallons a day of treated city wastewater.

"It's a wonderful reuse of water that otherwise would just be discharged in the river," said Mary Fralish, a deputy director of Public Works in Mankato. "And that kind of use is catching fire across the country."

Fralish said Winnebago or Corn Plus will need to be prepared to add some treatment technology to meet government standards for water reuse. And a decision will need to be made about whether to remove phosphorus, which isn't required for reuse but would allow for the sale of phosphorus credits to cities or industries along the Minnesota River watershed that aren't meeting pollution standards -- something Mankato is doing.

"It's really a wonderful reuse," Fralish said of the Corn Plus plan. "I hope it works out for them."

Darold Nienhaus, Winnebago's wastewater superintendent, said more research is needed to see how much additional treatment would be needed to make the Corn Plus plan work.

"There are some issues," said Nienhaus, who nonetheless is intrigued by the idea. "... It sounds pretty exciting."
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Old April 11th, 2009, 05:54 PM   #135
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Congressional estimate: Ethanol could cost government $900 million on nutrition programs
10 April 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Food stamps and child nutrition programs are expected to cost up to $900 million more this year because of increased ethanol use.

Higher use of the corn-based fuel additive accounted for about 10 percent to 15 percent of the rise in food prices between April 2007 and April 2008, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That could mean the government will have to spend more on food programs for the needy during the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30. It estimated the additional cost at up to $900 million.

The CBO said other factors, such as skyrocketing energy costs, have had an even greater effect than ethanol on food prices. CBO economists estimate that increased costs for food programs overall due to higher food prices will be about $5.3 billion this budget year.

Ethanol's impact on future food prices is uncertain, the report says, because an increased supply of corn has the potential to eventually lower food prices.

Roughly one-quarter of corn grown in the United States is now used to produce ethanol and overall consumption of ethanol in the country hit a record high last year, exceeding 9 billion gallons, according to the CBO. It took nearly 3 billion bushels of corn to produce ethanol in the United States last year -- an increase of almost a billion bushels over 2007.

The demand for ethanol was one factor that increased corn prices, leading to higher animal feed and ingredient costs for farmers, ranchers and food manufacturers. Some of that cost is eventually passed on to consumers, since corn is used in so many food products.

Several of those affected groups have banded together to oppose tax breaks and federal mandates for the fuel. They said Thursday that the report shows the unintended consequences of ethanol.

"As startling as these figures are, they do not even tell the story of the toll higher food prices have taken on working families, nor the impact higher feed prices have had on farmers in animal agriculture who have seen staggering losses and job cuts and liquidation of livestock herds," the Grocery Manufacturers Association, American Meat Institute, National Turkey Federation and National Council of Chain Restaurants said in a statement.

Supporters of ethanol disagreed, saying the report was good news.

"The report released by the Congressional Budget Office confirms what we've known for some time: The impact of ethanol production on food prices is minimal and that energy was the main driver in the rise of food prices," said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, an ethanol industry group.

Ethanol producers asked the Environmental Protection Agency last month to increase the amount of ethanol that refiners can blend with gasoline from a maximum of 10 percent to 15 percent, which could boost the demand for ethanol by as much as 6 billion gallons a year. They said raising that cap would create thousands of new jobs.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said he believes the administration could move quickly to raise the cap to at least 12 percent or 13 percent, but the EPA has not yet decided.

The report also looked at ethanol's effects on greenhouse gas emissions, concluding that over time ethanol's benefits over gasoline could diminish. The report says the use of ethanol reduced gasoline consumption by about 4 percent last year and reduced the gases blamed for global warming from the burning of gasoline by less than 1 percent. But the clearing of cropland and forests to produce more ethanol could more than offset those reductions.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 05:54 PM   #136
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Report: Ethanol raises US cost of nutrition plans
9 April 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - A congressional report says the increased use of ethanol could cost the government up to $900 million for the food stamps program of income subsidies and child nutrition programs.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says higher use of the corn-based fuel additive between April 2007 and April 2008 accounted for about 10 percent to 15 percent of the rise in domestic food prices during that period. That translates into higher costs for food programs for the needy, the report said.

CBO says that other factors, such as skyrocketing energy costs, had an even greater impact than ethanol on food prices during that time. The report says ethanol's affect on future food price inflation is uncertain.

Roughly one-fourth of corn grown in the United States is now used to produce ethanol.
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Old April 14th, 2009, 03:12 PM   #137
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U.S. ethanol capacity growth to slow in 2009-EIA

NEW YORK, April 14 (Reuters) - U.S. growth in ethanol capacity will slow this year on softer fuel prices and as financing for new plants evaporates, the government's top energy forecasting agency said Tuesday.

The explosive growth in ethanol plant capacity over the last few years will "slow dramatically in 2009" as lower gasoline prices hurt ethanol margins, and the credit crunch halts construction plans, the Energy Information Administration said in its monthly short-term forecast.

Ethanol capacity grew about 60 percent last year amid generous government incentives and mandates calling for steep increases in the amount of the alternative fuel to be blended into gasoline.

As a result, the blending of ethanol into gasoline this summer should hit an average of 670,000 barrels per day, up from 635,000 bpd last summer, EIA forecast.

But the plant slowdowns and company bankruptcies have hurt the market since late last year. Last week Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings Inc became the latest producer to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after suffering from poor margins and declining liquidity.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 04:38 PM   #138
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More Brazil ethanol to enter U.S. via Caribbean

SAO PAULO, April 17 (Reuters) - Greater quantities of Brazil's U.S.-bound ethanol exports will be routed through the Caribbean for processing to exempt it from a U.S. import tariff, a Brazilian agricultural analyst said on Friday.

The United States has ended a loophole that enabled oil companies to import some ethanol tariff-free with credits they earned by fueling aircraft headed abroad, closing a window through which Brazil was able to export its biofuel fuel more competitively.

The only other means to avoid the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on ethanol is to process it in the Caribbean from where it can be imported tariff-free because of a trade accord that began in the last years of the Cold War to win favor in the region.

"A greater share of the Caribbean (processing) capacity will be utilized this season," said Plinio Nastari, chairman of Datagro, meeting with reporters and an analyst in Brazil's business capital, Sao Paulo, on Friday.

"The quota for U.S. ethanol imports through the CBI (Caribbean Basin Initiative) was set at 2.353 billion liters for 2009," He added that this represented a 30 percent increase over the 1.732 billion liter quota last year.

Some Brazilian ethanol shipments bound for the United States stop in the Caribbean for conversion into anhydrous ethanol from hydrate.

Despite the recent uptick in local ethanol prices, more and more mills are harvesting now, and the flow of ethanol from the center-south cane fields should force domestic prices down and divert the biofuel to international markets.

However, analysts, including Nastari, think Brazilian ethanol exports may fall overall.

LOCAL DEMAND RISING

Brazil is seen exporting a total of 4 billion liters of ethanol in 2009/10, down from the 4.8 billion liters in 2008/09, Datagro forecast and the U.S. auto fleet is the main consumer of Brazilian ethanol exports.

Some have forecast an even greater drop in exports due to a 10 billion reais ($4.6 billion) credit the government pledged earlier this week for stocking ethanol through the harvest.

"We will have to see how much of the government's pledge for mills to stock the fuel gets into borrowers hands," said Nastari, who added he was sceptical all the funds would be used.

Nastari said the growth in Brazil's cane output to 601 million tonnes in 2009/10 from 565 million tonnes last season, however, would not keep pace with the expansion in demand from Brazil's flex-fuel cars, which can run on ethanol alone.

A greater share of Brazil's cane crop will go to sugar production this season than last due to the weakening of the local currency, the real <BRBY>, against the dollar, which has boosted sugar export prices for producers, Nastari said.

This year, 57.2 percent of the center-south cane crop will be used to produce ethanol, down from 60.4 percent last year while the rest will be used to produce sugar. A smaller cane harvest in India has helped boost world sugar prices.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 05:18 PM   #139
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ANALYSIS-California rule could end ethanol's honeymoon

NEW YORK, April 24 (Reuters) - California's newly adopted low-carbon fuel standard may mark the beginning of the end of ethanol's coveted status as the sole U.S. alternative motor fuel.

The U.S. state with the most cars late on Thursday approved the world's first-ever regulations to slash emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide from vehicle fuels.

The ruling, which will be subject to further studies, will not kill the ethanol industry. But it sets the bar higher for cleaner development of corn ethanol, which enjoyed an investment boost over the last few years thanks to generous federal incentives and mandates calling for increasing amounts of the fuel to be blended into gasoline.

The measure also sets the stage for emerging alternative fuels -- such as cars that run on compressed natural gas and electric vehicles like plug-in hybrids that run on both gasoline and rechargeable batteries -- to compete with second-generation ethanol.

That fuel, known as cellulosic ethanol, is expected to be made in commercial amounts from non-food feedstocks like switchgrass and fast-growing trees.

"The ruling is the first sign that the ethanol industry could be brought out of its honeymoon phase," said Sander Cohan, an alternative motor fuels analyst with Energy Security Analysis Inc in Boston.

"First-generation ethanol, especially corn ethanol, is a poster child for who might be put at a disadvantage."

To give fuel producers time to adjust, the bulk of the carbon limits required under the regulation do not go into effect until 2015.

But analysts said California has fired the first shot in a battle that could widen in coming years. At least 11 other states in the U.S. East are considering adopting a low-carbon fuel standard for cars by the end of the year. In addition, the main climate bill being considered in the U.S. Congress seeks to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from fuels.

California's regulators ranked 11 different ways of making corn ethanol. They found that traditional distilling methods used in the Midwest, accounting for the bulk of U.S. supplies, emit the most carbon over a lifecycle measured from production to combustion.

The state gave much better carbon savings scores to corn ethanol made in California with a distillery fired by a blend of natural gas and crop waste, also known as biomass.

In the race to make ethanol, little regard has been paid to emissions of the distillery itself. A handful of nearly 200 plants are fired by coal, the most carbon-heavy fossil fuel, while many others have been slow to convert to biomass.

Cellulosic ethanol faired better.

"The standard is favorable to cellulosic and to plug-in hybrid development, but not favorable to U.S.-produced corn ethanol," said Divya Reddy, an analyst with the Eurasia Group in Washington.

Cars fueled by compressed natural gas, which are not yet widely available, scored slightly better than California-made ethanol, and vehicles that run on batteries, which also are just beginning to be made in the United States, scored much better.

LAND USE

The ethanol idustry challenged California's findings, and said it would fight the regulations.

The ethanol industry's biggest objection is that the standard calculates an indirect carbon footprint attributed to land-use changes from the clearing of grasslands and forests to cultivate corn.

Nathan Shock, a spokesman for private company Poet, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, said those land-use calculations are unfair because the rule as currently written applies to biofuels alone, putting ethanol at a relative disadvantage.

Bob Dineen, head of ethanol industry group the Renewable Fuels Association, said the ruling could hurt investments in the development of next-generation ethanol.

Paul Winters, a spokesman for the Biotechnology Industry Association, said the ruling could hit investments by the biggest producers of corn ethanol into cellulosic. Some traditional ethanol makers have plans to make cellulose-based fuel using readily available crop waste like corn cobs and stalks.

But as the ethanol industry argues its case, natural gas and battery-powered cars will likely make inroads in replacing petroleum, Cohan said.

"The strength of the low-carbon standard ... is that it forces attention toward non-agricultural alternative fuels that will likely play a role in any sort of alternative fuel mix," he said.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 08:58 AM   #140
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U.S. corn girding up Calif low-carbon fuel standard

CHICAGO, April 23 (Reuters) - The corn market is girding for California regulators to adopt carbon emission rules for motor fuels that may trim the use of corn-based ethanol.

California regulators are poised to adopt landmark rules curbing carbon emissions for motor fuels, which contribute to global warming, as early as Thursday or Friday.

"The corn trade is understandably nervous and watchful," said Rich Feltes, senior vice president at MF Global Research.

"We all know the extent to which ethanol has been a factor in the last three years in pumping up risk premium in corn. Anything that would unwind that, destabilize that, is going to be viewed as negative."

The proposed low-carbon fuel standard, the first of its kind in the United States, is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor fuels by 10 percent, or 16 million metric tons, by 2020. It also outlines a complex method for determining the "carbon intensity" of all transportation fuels.

Current U.S. law mandates 10.5 billion gallons of ethanol be consumed in 2009 and 12 billion in 2010, up from 9 billion in 2008, as the government works to wean Americans from foreign oil. This season, one-third of the 12.1 billion bushel U.S. corn crop will be used to produce ethanol.

"They certainly created some uncertainty -- it's a concern but not something that spells the beginning of the end of ethanol," said analyst Marty Foreman with grain consultancy Doane Advisory Services.

Any regulation that might affect demand for corn-based ethanol will not be taken lightly by the market, analysts say. Corn soared to an all-time spot high of $7.65 in the summer of 2008 due in part to strong demand for corn to meet the needs of the then-booming biofuel industry.

Since then, ethanol makers have fallen upon hard times, squeezed by high prices for corn and a steep decline in gasoline prices as the global recession took hold.

Corn prices, in turn, have fallen 50 percent since then, with the spot price for Chicago Board of Trade corn closing at $3.81 a bushel on Thursday. But that is still well above historical levels in the $2 to $2.50 range.

Analysts were still determining how the California low-carbon fuel standard would impact ethanol use from 2011 when the standard would be implemented.

Ethanol advocates say the measure used to determine "carbon intensity" unfairly penalizes grain-based biofuels.

Similar rules are under consideration in 11 other states that are waiting for California to act.

Additionally, the National Corn Growers Association, representing 35,000 U.S. corn farmers, in a recent statement said the proposed fuel standard did not take into account rising corn yields since 2001.

"Just as the corn market was pumped up by ethanol it can certainly lose some of its risk premium if we slowly see them unwinding corn ethanol as a favored form of green energy," Feltes said.
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