Corn Growers Tout Ethanol Production Benefits
by Jenni Grubbs (The Fort Morgan Times) …While most vehicles’ engines cannot run on straight or even large percentages of ethanol, some of it is added to gasoline to add more oxygen, which helps the fuel burn more completely and release cleaner emissions. Oxygenating additives like ethanol were mandated for this purpose as part of amendments to the Clean Air Act in the 1990s.
And ethanol results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline and is fully biodegradable, unlike some fuel additives, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
…In fact, there are at least five facilities producing ethanol in Colorado, including plants in Sterling and Yuma.
But those plants wind up creating more than just the corn-based fuel.
Ethanol production also yields a byproduct called dried distillers grains (DDG) that can be used as feed for livestock.
…Jared Fiel , explained that livestock producers make up the largest percentage of corn buyers in the U.S., but the country still has a surplus of feed corn.
“That’s what the ethanol industry is using,” he said.
Merino farmer and CCGA member Charlie Bartlett said all of the cattlemen he knows use DDG — when it’s available.
“The complaint I’ve heard is there’s more people wanting the DDG than there is DDG,” Bartlett said.
That’s something that makes it frustrating for CCGA and its members when they hear livestock producers asking for a waiver in the RFS.
The livestock producers want more corn grown for feed than ethanol, but they also want more DDG.
“Their belief is by waiving the standard, the demand will be lower and prices will go down,” Fiel said.
But he said that a recent government study showed that doing away with the RFS would only make a 5 percent difference in the price of feed corn, which is also affected just as much by global supply and demand.
…One common complaint about ethanol is that it takes more energy to make it than it yields.
Research conducted by Argonne National Laboratory has shown that corn ethanol produced today delivers a positive energy balance, unlike in the past.
This is due to greater efficiency in corn production that nets greater yields, and due to ethanol production using a dry-milling process that uses quite a bit less energy than the old wet-milling process. READ MORE and MORE (Ethanol Producer Magazine) and MORE (E&E TV)