January 1, 2006

U.S. Ethanol Production Will Diversify Nationwide

One of the advantages of an liquid fuel energy paradigm based on ethanol production is that the feedstock resources (biomass and corn) are distributed nationwide. Below are maps that demonstrate that the distribution of biomass resources in the nation neatly dovetail the current installation of sugar fermentation ethanol plants in the nation's corn belt. This means that investment decisions can be made regionally based on the best combination of resources and existing infrastructure. It also means that each region and municipality could develop solutions independently.

Here are some excerpts from a document that was previously mentioned in our December 2005 archives - Win-Win-Win for the Environment, Farms, and the Nation


The New Harvest: Biofuels and Windpower for Rural Revitalization and National Energy Security by The Energy Foundation, funded by The McKnight Foundation.

Abundant, economical biomass resources are available across much of the U.S. (from the U.S. Department of Energy/NREL).

Ethanol plants so far are concentrated in the corn belt. With a shift to cellulosic feedstocks ethanol production will diversify to every corner of the nation. Credit: Renewable Fuels Association, January 2005

Biofuels made from grains and vegetable oils now supply around two percent of the nation’s light-duty vehicle fuel. Studies by leading national research institutions show that biofuels, when teamed with more efficient vehicles and smart growth, could virtually replace gasoline use in light duty vehicles by 2050. That would displace nearly eight million barrels of oil daily, more than three times our current Persian Gulf imports. This could be accomplished with only a modest increase in cropland as part of a system that also generates the food and fiber America needs.

Advanced biofuels made from cellulose, of which most of the plant world is constituted, will unlock this promise. Cellulose offers vastly larger and less expensive feedstocks than grains. With policies to commercialize the first billion gallons of capacity on the ground by 2015, a burgeoning cellulosic ethanol industry could add $5 billion to farmer profits by 2025.

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