Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Conference examines state of the ethanol industry

Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, expects the US ethanol industry will survive the world's financial crunch, coming out as a stronger, more competitive, and more sustainable industry.

Speaking to the National Ethanol Conference in San Antonio, Tex., on Feb. 24, he reported the US has 171 ethanol plants in operation and 21 more under construction.

“While I also see the 23 [ethanol plants] that are currently idled and know that more may well follow, I firmly believe that is a temporary misfortune that will be corrected when the economy turns around and the market rebounds,” Dinneen said.

Several companies are racing to be the first to produce commercial volumes of cellulosic ethanol in the US. Currently, nearly all the ethanol produced in the US comes from corn.

Dinneen noted a few pilot plants in the US produce cellulosic ethanol along with at least one demonstration plant in Canada. The ones of most interest to Oil & Gas Journal are companies having joint ventures with oil companies.

Verenium Corp. is producing ethanol from bagasse and sugar waste at a demonstration plant in Jennings, La., that can produce 1.4 million gal/year. Verenium and BP PLC formed a joint venture to commercialize cellulosic ethanol from nonfood stocks.

Iogen Corp. is producing ethanol from wheat straw at an Ottawa plant and has plans to build commercial scale facilities in the US and Canada. Iogen and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have a cellulosic ethanol alliance.

Meanwhile on the international front, three of the world’s largest ethanol trade associations have formed a global biofuels organization called the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA). Its 29 member countries represent 60% of the world’s renewable fuels production.

Dinneen’s RFA, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, and the European Bioethanol Fuel Association cooperatively formed the GRFA. Brazil is not yet a member but Dinneen said GRFA is in talks with Brazil’s sugar cane ethanol industry.

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March 28, 2017 at 10:06 PM  

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