Ethanol

Feb. 10, 2015 - The federal government is investing $3.7 million to help Integrated Grain Processors Cooperative (IGPC) Ethanol Inc. install a Fiber Separation Technology (FST) system to help boost production through operational efficiencies.

According to a news release, the investment will enable IGPC Ethanol to have a higher output of ethanol, corn oil and distillers' grains, develop new higher value animal feed products and lower the plant's energy consumption. The introduction of FST at the IGPC plant allows for the early separation of fibre from corn prior to its fermentation, increasing the efficiency of the distillation process and producing a cleaner fibre product.

The investment enables IGPC Ethanol to purchase approximately 18 million bushels (up from 16 million currently) of corn grain from local farmers for use as feedstock.

Founded in 2002 by 780 farmers and agri-businesses, IGPC Ethanol is a division of IGPC Inc. and is one of Ontario's largest cooperatives. It employs 50 full-time staff at its plant in Aylmer, Ont. The plant began commercial operation in December 2008.

 

 

is supporting an innovative greenhouse project in Chatham-Kent that will create up to 90 local jobs, strengthen the local economy and help the environment.

In a first of its kind in North America, Cedarline Greenhouses will use surplus heat and carbon dioxide from a local ethanol plant to produce up to 21-million kilograms of Ontario grown tomatoes each year. This project will lower heating costs for the greenhouse by 40 per cent while increasing tomato production by five per cent.  

Quick Facts

  • This project will create up to 90 direct and indirect jobs upon completion and up to 400 direct and indirect job opportunities as it meets its expansion target.
  • Ontario’s ethanol industry produces more than 885 million litres of ethanol annually (2011-2012), has created over 360 skilled jobs in rural Ontario, and has generated more than $635 million in capital investments.
  • Almost 78 per cent of all Ontario greenhouses are located in the counties of Chatham-Kent and Essex.

Quotes

"This investment supports innovation in Ontario’s agri-food and agri-products industries and brings skilled jobs to Chatham-Kent. This project is a great example of how agriculture is growing Ontario’s future."
Ted McMeekin - Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

"The support from the provincial government will help us effectively supply Ontarians with high-quality, affordable and locally grown tomatoes and create jobs in our Chatham-Kent community."
Greg Devries - CEO of Cedarline Greenhouses and Truly Green Farms

"We are excited to be partnering with Cedarline Greenhouses for a project that will reduce operating costs and strengthen the competitiveness of the greenhouses. This truly is an environmentally sustainable way to produce high-quality products for the consumer year round."
Ken Field - Founder and Chairman of GreenField Ethanol

Sept. 6, 2012 - With so much corn being diverted to be used in ethanol, poultry and livestock farmers are paying more for feed, even more so because of the drought.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has delved into this debate, with opinions from three individuals affected by the debate and asked if the corn crop should be used, given the current marlet, be used to produce food or fuel?

The three commentators are Mike Giles (president of the Georgia Poultry Federation), the CEO of Al-Corn Clean Fuel, Randall J. Doyal and Emory Forrester - the director of feed milling and delivery for Fieldale Farms Corp.

Each commentator discusses a different issue on the topic, and some interesting points are raised.

For the full discussion, visit the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Aug. 20, 2012, Columbia, MO - America is looking for more biofuel through the use of crops such as corn and soybeans, but concerns about higher food prices persist when land for biofuel displaces land for food crops. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri are hoping to increase biofuel production without impacting food production. MU scientists are beginning a study to determine how non-food biofuel crops, such as switchgrass, grow in marginal land along the floodplains, where most crops cannot thrive.

Now, the team in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources has received a $5.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to further its research. The project is part of a $125 million international project to further research that will study how to use marginal land to grow high-yield, biofuel crops and convert them to advanced biofuels.

“In the 10 states along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, 100 million acres of marginalized agricultural land is unused or underutilized often due to frequent flooding” said Shibu Jose, H.E. Garrett Endowed Professor in the School of Natural Resources and director of the MU Center for Agroforestry. “If farmers can plant just 10 percent of marginal floodplain land with crops designated for use in biofuels, we can produce 6 to 8 billion gallons of liquid fuel annually. Planting this land with crops designated for biofuels would have little to no effect on the food supply.”

As part of the five-year grant project, MU researchers are planning several trials. One trial will field test 15 types of biomass sorghum and 15 types of switchgrass. Switchgrass is a perennial plant that needs little care once planted. Sorghum is an annual crop, but requires less water and fertilizer compared to corn. In addition, the strong root systems reduce erosion and water pollution by filtering water as it runs into streams and rivers. The team will identify which varieties grow best under flood and drought conditions, as well as in different soil types.

To make biofuel, farmers grow crops that are harvested and shipped to a nearby facility where the biomass is condensed into small pellets or converted to fuel. The pellets also can be shipped to larger plants where they are converted into fuel if rural plants are not equipped for the biofuel conversion. Jose envisions a network of farmers producing biomass and shipping it to local pellet-producers, who will ship the pellets to refineries.

“We need to build a network of pellet producers because transportation costs need to be low enough that farmers can still profit off of growing crops for biofuel,” Jose said. “With the smaller condensed pellets, we can transport a great amount of energy at a low cost.”

As a land-grant university, research benefitting the state is part of MU’s mission. This research which helps provide American consumers with abundant, affordable agricultural products was part of the goal of the Morrill Act, which established land-grant institutions in 1862.

Jul. 19, 2012, Washington, DC - In response to a new economic study on the impact of corn ethanol production on food prices and commodity price volatility, a coalition of livestock and poultry groups is urging Congress to reform the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which mandates the amount of ethanol that must be produced annually.

 Conducted by Thomas Elam, Ph.D., president of FarmEcon LLC, an Indiana agricultural and food industry consulting firm, the study found that federal ethanol policy has increased and destabilized corn, soybean and wheat prices to the detriment of food and fuel producers and consumers.
 
The RFS, first imposed in 2005 and revised in 2007, this year requires 15.2 billion gallons of ethanol to be produced. Most of that amount is blended into gasoline at 10 percent.
 
“The increases we’ve seen in commodity prices are strongly associated with the RFS mandate,” said Elam. “At the same time, we haven’t seen the promised benefits on oil imports or gasoline prices. This means that while Americans are forced to pay more for food, they’re also not seeing lower prices at the pump; it’s a lose-lose situation.”
As a Senate Biofuels Investment and Renewable Fuels Standard Market Congressional Study Group examines several aspects of the RFS, the study will provide critical facts needed to reform the current standard. Among other results, the study found that because of the RFS:

  • Ethanol, because its energy cost is higher than gasoline and because of its negative effect on fuel mileage, added about $14.5 billion, or 10 cents a gallon, to motorists’ fuel costs in 2011.
  • Increased ethanol production since 2007 has had no effect on gasoline production or oil imports, contrary to supporters’ claims.
  • Corn used for ethanol production rose 300 percent from 2005 to 2011, increasing from 1.6 billion bushels to 5 billion. (Ethanol production now uses more than 40 percent of the U.S. annual corn supply.)
  • Corn now represents about 80 percent of the cost of producing ethanol compared with 40-50 percent before implementation of the mandate.
  • Corn prices jumped to more than $6 a bushel in 2011 from $2 in 2005.
  • The rate of change for the Consumer Price Index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs increased by 79 percent while it decreased by 41 percent for non-food items since the RFS was revised in 2007.
  • Ethanol production costs and ethanol prices have all but eliminated a market for ethanol blends higher than 10 percent.
  • The United States exported 1.2 billion gallons of ethanol in 2011.

In addition to the effects of the RFS, the study pointed out that on an energy basis, ethanol, which has only 67 percent of the net energy per gallon of gasoline, never has been priced competitively with gasoline. It also found that, contrary to supporters of the RFS, oil imports have declined not because of increased ethanol production but because of increased domestic crude oil production and higher gasoline and distillate fuel oil yields.

In urging reform of the RFS, the coalition cited the Elam study’s conclusion that the mandate should be revised to allow automatic adjustments to reduce incentives for ethanol production when corn stocks are forecast to reach critically low levels.

The coalition supports legislation – the “Renewable Fuels Standard Flexibility Act” (H.R. 3097), sponsored by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Jim Costa, D-Calif. – that would require a biannual review of ending corn stocks relative to their total use. If the ratio falls below 10 percent, the RFS could be reduced by 10 percent. If it falls below 7.5 percent, the mandate could shrink by 15 percent; below 6 percent, it could be reduced by 25 percent; and if the ratio falls below 5 percent, the ethanol mandate could be cut by 50 percent.

Such relief is extremely urgent, the coalition points out, because the recent spike in corn prices prompted by drought conditions in much of the Corn Belt has analysts predicting the United States will run short of corn this summer. Another short corn crop would be extremely devastating to the animal agriculture industry, food makers and foodservice providers, as well as consumers, says the coalition.

Because of the RFS, however, corn-based ethanol manufacturers are protected from sharing the burden of a corn harvest shortfall.  

The Elam study was funded by the American Meat Institute, California Dairy Inc., the Milk Producers Cooperative, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers Council and the National Turkey Federation.

A full copy of the study is available by clicking here and an infographic summarizing the study’s findings can be downloaded here.

May 18, 2012, Dondo, Mozambique -Mozambique makes history today as it witnesses the opening of the world’s first sustainable cooking fuel facility. Inaugurated by Federal Minister of Agriculture, José Pacheco, the facility will be dedicated to producing ethanol-based cooking fuel for sale with the company’s cookstoves in Mozambique’s capital Maputo. CleanStar’s complete “NDZiLO” cooking solution will offer Mozambican households an affordable new form of cooking that is cleaner, faster and safer than using charcoal.

Based in Dondo in Mozambique’s Sofala Province, the facility will produce 2 million litres per year of ethanol-based cooking fuel from surplus cassava supplied to the company by local farmers following CleanStar’s sustainable farming systems. The biofuel manufacturing plant is a key part of the integrated food and energy business of CleanStar Mozambique, a company formed in 2010 by Novozymes and CleanStar Ventures to use Mozambique’s rising urban demand for food and cooking fuel to drive sustainable rural development and environmental restoration.

“Today marks an important milestone in the mission to eliminate dirty cooking fuels from Africa’s leading cities”, says CleanStar Mozambique Chairman, Greg Murray. “This facility produces clean cooking fuel in a way that generates a reliable new income stream for local farmers, while ensuring that a continuous and affordable fuel supply reaches urban households. Our private-sector led approach in Mozambique provides an encouraging example for other resource-constrained African countries that are struggling to respond to rising food and energy prices, growing cities, and shrinking forests.“

From charcoal to clean biofuel

In preparation for this launch, over the last year CleanStar has been transitioning local subsistence farmers from slash-and-burn farming to more resilient conservation agriculture techniques involving synergistic cultivation of crops and trees to drastically increase their production and nutrition levels. CleanStar provides participating farmers with basic inputs and technical assistance, and purchases their surpluses at its rural agricultural centres in communities around the facility. Surplus cassava is converted to ethanol, and beans, sorghum, pulses and soya are processed into packaged food products for sale in Mozambique’s cities.

In Maputo, CleanStar has started pre-sales of its NDZiLO cookstove and cooking fuel products through its company-owned shop network, which is being expanded across the city in preparation for full launch later this year.

“We never estimated this much customer demand”, says Thelma Venichand, CleanStar’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “City women are tired of watching charcoal prices rise, carrying dirty fuel, and waiting for the day that they can afford a safe gas stove and reliable supply of imported cylinders. They are ready to buy a modern cooking device that uses clean, locally-made fuel, performs well and saves them time and money.”

Rise of a new industry: Clean cooking in African cities

The rapid growth of CleanStar Mozambique has been enabled by the finance, long-term vision and technical capabilities of the venture’s strategic shareholder, Novozymes.

“Sustainable biofuels have the potential to not only help solve critical energy needs, but also to spark wider positive changes in developing societies”, says Novozymes Executive Vice President Thomas Nagy. “We see this venture as a great example of what we call the biobased economy. Of how sustainable agriculture together with biotech solutions can meet the needs of people around the world.”

Throughout Africa, more than 80% of urban families buy charcoal to cook their food, a commodity that is increasing in price as forests retreat, in a market now estimated to be worth more than $10 billion “deforestation dollars” per annum. In Maputo for example, charcoal prices have doubled over the last 3 years.

According to the World Health Organization inhaling charcoal smoke has the health impact of smoking two packs of cigarettes per day, and the organization estimates that indoor air pollution from solid fuel use, including charcoal, causes almost 2 million deaths annually.

Several companies and organizations are joining Novozymes and CleanStar Ventures in the effort to create a new industry for clean cooking in African cities. ICM of the United States, a global leader in ethanol process technology, helped custom-design, finance, build and commission CleanStar’s highly replicable cooking fuel facility at Dondo. In addition, in November 2011, Bank of America Merrill Lynch provided significant upfront carbon financing to CleanStar Mozambique which is helping to unlock additional equity and debt for the scale up of the business. Discussions are underway with several international and regional counterparties who seek to join the coalition.

Read more at www.cleanstarmozambique.com

b. 7, 2012, Guelph, ON - Once again the George Morris Centre pits farmers against one another in a report falsely accusing the ethanol industry of causing harm to livestock farmers.

Since one third of the corn used for ethanol becomes livestock feed through an ethanol byproduct called distillers grains, the effect of the ethanol industry in Ontario on our feed supply is negligible. In fact the George Morris Centre report actually shows that livestock production has been maintained in recent years and livestock prices have been at or near record high levels despite the growth of the ethanol industry.

“There are so many examples of erroneous information in this report that I am disappointed Canadian livestock producers would choose to point a finger at the ethanol industry as the culprit for lost revenue,” says Don Kenny, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Many of my neighbors with livestock are also enjoying high grain prices so we are talking about the same farmers here.”

Instead of pointing fingers and placing blame, Grain Farmers of Ontario offers to work cooperatively with the livestock industry in pursuit of solutions that will raise the value of the whole agricultural industry. Grain farmers are pleased with the recent gains in the livestock industry because the grain industry depends on a healthy livestock sector.

Corn yields in Ontario are growing at a rapid rate and without the ethanol industry to take the corn, there would be a significant glut in the market with a detrimental impact on corn farmer income. In fact, the increase in corn production since 2000 is almost equivalent to the increased amount of corn going for ethanol production.

The George Morris Centre study states that there is unfair competition between livestock and ethanol grain buyers due to government subsidization and tariffs. Grain farmers in Ontario are not protected from an influx of American corn by a tariff. In addition, subsidies are not unique to the ethanol industry.

“The benefit of ethanol should be looked at from the big picture in Canada, not through the single lens of livestock production. Let’s not forget that the 5% ethanol mandate is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 2 million tonnes each year,” says Kenny. “That is equivalent to taking 440,000 cars off the road.”

Ethanol production from grain has meant a 62 percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions on a per-litre, per-calorie-of-combustible-energy basis. This Canadian-made fuel contains 1.6 times the energy content that is required to grow the grain.

Feb. 7, 2012, Guelph, ON - The George Morris Centre, according to the Grain Farmers of Ontario, is falsely accusing the ethanol industry of causing harm to livestock farmers.

Dec. 15, 2011 - Atlantic BioEnergy Corp. expects to be producing ethanol at its new $6.2 million demonstration plant in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island by the end of January. The 79,000 gallon a year ethanol plant will use beets as a feedstock and the leftover pulp as a feedstock for an anaerobic digester that will power the facility.

The Ethanol Producer magazine reports that earlier this month, the Canadian government announced almost $2 million in funding for the project, along with the government of Prince Edward Island, through Innovation PEI, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

“This new facility will be active in the production of ethanol from sugar beets and will serve as a working model to demonstrate the ethanol-making process to future customers interested in Atlantic BioEnergy Corporation’s ability to deliver industrial-scale facilities,” said the Honorable Allen Roach, minister of innovation and advanced learning.

Atlantic BioEnergy has been conducting feedstock trials since 2007 and has operated a pre-commercial processing facility in Milford, Nova Scotia, since 2010. The Prince Edward Island facility will give customers a place to see the technology at work.

Atlantic BioEnergy’s technology produces a low carbon fuel and the anaerobic digester will produce thermal heat and electricity for the facility. And, at the end of the process, the company can extract nutrients and excess water for its crops.

Dec. 13, 2011 - Royal Dutch Shell plc is scouting a location in southern Manitoba for potential use as a cellulosic ethanol plant.

According to an article in the Ethanol Producer magazine, the operation, entitled the Solstice Cellulosic Ethanol project, would use approximately 350 metric tons of (primarily wheat) straw per day to produce about 40 MMly (approximately 10 MMgy) of cellulosic ethanol using technology developed by Ottawa-based Iogen Corp.

Shell and Iogen have been working together since 2002 with Iogen Energy, a project to commercialize cellulosic ethanol technology using enzymatic hydrolysis.

Shell’s first location choice for the Solstice project is Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, a city of about 12,000 located an hour’s drive west of Winnipeg. According to Jeff Gabert, senior communications representative for Shell Canada Ltd., Portage’s abundant supply of available feedstock and proximity to main roadways makes it an ideal location for the plant.

The company has begun the process of completing an environmental assessment, but there’s “no ink wet” on the paperwork yet, so the process is far from being complete. An alternative site has been scouted closer to Winnipeg, but Gabert says Shell is very focused on Portage la Prairie.

 

Nov. 29, 2011 -A product of ear mould is making the rounds in the fields of southwestern Ontario, and it is almost as significant an issue to ethanol processors as it is to livestock producers. The wet fall weather has led to the development of ear mould that produces vomitoxin, and that is a concern to many with Greenfield Ethanol, in Chatham.    READ MORE

Nov. 29, 2011 -A product of ear mould is making the rounds in the fields of southwestern Ontario, and it is almost as significant an issue to ethanol processors as it is to livestock producers. The wet fall weather has led to the development of ear mould that produces vomitoxin, and that is a concern to many with Greenfield Ethanol, in Chatham.    READ MORE

Oct. 31, 2011 -Volatility, whether it has come from speculators, ethanol or the rise of China on a global scale, is here to stay, and according to Linda Smith, DTN's markets editor, the time is now for growers to do more to manage risk, including cash forward or hedge-to-arrive contracts.      READ MORE

Aug. 19, 2011 -Concerns are being raised by food aid organizations regarding a new corn hybrid which could yield higher amounts of ethanol. The primary concern is that this hybrid would replace corn grown for human consumption at a time when global food shortages are threatening countries such as Somalia.      READ MORE

July 5, 2011 - Four years after attracting attention for its "next generation" cellulosic ethanol, Ottawa-based Iogen is having a tough time establishing itself, from financial viability to success in research. Yet the search goes on, complete with cost-cutting measures, a new chief executive officer and a drive to find the right recipe. | READ MORE
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