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Increasing Ethanol and Distiller Grains Production

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Cal

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2/25/2005 11:05:16 AM

Julianne Johnston



The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today congratulated Voyager Ethanol, LLC for beginning construction on its ethanol plant near Emmetsburg, Iowa.


“The RFA congratulates Voyager Ethanol as it begins its journey toward full production,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA president. “Ethanol production will revitalize the Emmetsburg economy – raising corn prices, creating jobs, and returning money to Main Street.”


Voyager Ethanol, LLC will process over 17.5 million bushels of corn into 50 million gallons of ethanol and 150,000 tons of distillers grains annually. The plant is expected to employ approximately 40 people.


The plant is being built by Broin Companies of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “We are excited about the continued growth in the ethanol industry and we’re pleased to be creating a new market for corn producers in the Emmetsburg region,” said Jeff Broin, CEO of the Broin Companies. “This plant will be a win for everyone involved by providing a number of quality jobs and by impacting the local economy with millions of dollars each year. This is an exciting opportunity for our company and the community of Emmetsburg.”


Currently, 83 ethanol plants nationwide have the capacity to produce over 3.7 billion gallons annually. There are 15 ethanol plants and two major expansions under construction with a combined annual capacity of nearly 700 million gallons.
 

Bro

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Are these ethanol plants in the states actually making money? I read somewhere that the energy balance does not make sense; that the ethanol produced by these plants does not make up for the resources that go into producing the crop. ie the natural gas used to make the fertilizer, the energy required to seed and harvest the crop, etc. I know alot of people were excited about ethanol in the 90's up in Canada, that it would be the answer to low grain prices, but I haven't heard to much about it since then. I guess if they are expanding and building new plants, then it must make economic sense?
 

Cal

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Bro said:
Are these ethanol plants in the states actually making money? I read somewhere that the energy balance does not make sense; that the ethanol produced by these plants does not make up for the resources that go into producing the crop. ie the natural gas used to make the fertilizer, the energy required to seed and harvest the crop, etc. I know alot of people were excited about ethanol in the 90's up in Canada, that it would be the answer to low grain prices, but I haven't heard to much about it since then. I guess if they are expanding and building new plants, then it must make economic sense?

Reports I've heard are that the whole process is becoming more efficient, and there's approximately a 33% net energy gain. Also a good replacement for the reportedly harmful fuel oxygenator MTBE, although I'm skeptical at anything labeled "harmful" with all of the creative scientists around.
 
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