25% of New U.S. E85 Production Now on Hold

25 of new u s e85 production now on hold

The recently enacted U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act mandated 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022. Good luck with that. Purchasing.com reports that soaring corn prices, a go-go ethanol industry and so-so E85 sales have turned the current bio-fuels boom into a damp squib. "Late last year, about 5.6 billion annual gallons of new or expanded fermentation ethanol capacity was due for completion in 2008, reports Nathan Schaffer, a fuels analyst with PFC Energy in Houston. Of that, he says, about a quarter has been 'put on hold or taken off the boards' since the start of the fourth quarter of 2007." Maybe that's because America already has an eight billion gal/year ethanol production capacity, relative to six billion gallons worth of domestic consumption. As R. Jeffrey DeReamer, president of EthanolMarket.com puts it "Supply is not going to be an issue for [ethanol] buyers this year." Ya think? Oh, and "domestically produced ethanol will be supplemented by imports of the commodity from Brazil and the Caribbean this summer." If the ethanol industry is going to stand on its own two feet (i.e. stop sucking on the government tit), consumers and retailers better fall in love with E85 STAT.

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  • Dwford Dwford on Mar 14, 2008

    I think we need to decide what we want: A: freedom from foreign oil B: a clean environment C: both? D: pol pleasing subsidies that solve nothing seems we want D so far

  • Kph Kph on Mar 14, 2008

    Personally, I think biofuels are feasible, just not with corn. Biomass gasification (not celluosic ethanol) doesn't quite reach positive net energy, but it at least gives us liquid fuel from any source of carbon, even trash. As these processing plants scale up, they could bring down the price of ethanol to make E85 a more attractive alternative.

  • Engineer Engineer on Mar 14, 2008

    Exactly, kph! You may be interested in catalytic hydrothermal (i.e. wet) gasification. Seems like there might be some good coming from the federal government, even if it's more by accident than design... Well I’m a contrarian so I’ll just say that it still looks like if they can commercialize the cellulosic ethanol instead of the corn ethanol (and possibly even just use sugar ethanol imported from the Caribbean) it could be pretty good stuff The trouble is that ethanol sucks as a fuel (great for internal consumption) due to its properties. And no amount of research or political interference are going to change those. Bottom line: Biofuels: YES! Ethanol: NO!

  • on Mar 14, 2008

    Ethanol particularly sucks as a fuel in cars designed to run on gasoline, since those engines don't take advantage of ethanol's high octane rating.