WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Ethanol

Moline Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is promoting the Heroes Act after it passed in the House late last week. 

One of the country’s largest ethanol producers has idled three plants and postponed the opening of a fourth. 

POET posted a statement on its website saying bioprocessing at the locations in Chancellor, South Dakota and in Coon Rapids and Ashton, Iowa has stopped. Another plant in Shelbyville, Indiana was on track to open this spring but that is now on hold.

As the price of gasoline plummeted amid COVID-19 restrictions, so has the price of ethanol.

 

A recent federal court decision may reduce the number of small refinery waivers the Environmental Protection Agency issues in the future. The ethanol industry is celebrating the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, but the impact may not be the full course-correction renewable fuels need to recover from some difficult years.

At Hummel’s Nissan in Des Moines, Kevin Caldwell sells the all-electric Leaf. Driving one is basically the same as driving a typical gasoline or gas-electric hybrid car, he said, except for a few new features like the semi-autonomous hands-free option. And the fact that you plug it in rather than pumping gas into it.

About a quarter to a third of Caldwell’s Leaf customers are farmers, some of whom grow corn for ethanol.

Scott Pruitt’s resignation from the Environmental Protection Agency this month has many in the renewable fuel industry hoping that federal agencies will get on the same page.

That’s because for the last few years, the EPA and the Department of Energy have been at odds, with taxpayer money creating a new biofuel industry that may not have the room to grow outside the lab.

Ethanol Spills on the Rise in the Midwest

Dec 13, 2016
Darrell Hoemann/The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

An ethanol spill occurs every two days on average in the Midwest, the worst of which result in contamination of water supplies, major fish kills, loss of life, and millions of dollars of damage.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

A major player in the U.S. ethanol market is filing for bankruptcy, following pressure from Midwest corn suppliers who say they're owed millions of dollars. 

(File: Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media)

U.S. energy policy that effectively promotes corn ethanol is holding back a generation of more environmentally sound fuels, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

More Money, Fewer Grasslands: Corn Ethanol's Impact on Rural America

Jun 2, 2015
Emily Guerin/Inside Energy

Ethanol is one of the most important industries in the Midwest, and it's an industry about to change. The U.S. EPA proposed new targets for the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, which dictates the amount of ethanol the oil industry has to blend into our gasoline.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. EPA is proposing tweaks to ethanol policy. The agency proposed a cut to the amount of corn ethanol oil companies are required to blend in to our gasoline, as well as ambitious targets for low-carbon cellulosic ethanol, which is produced from grasses and other inedible parts of plants.

Courtesy USDA NRCS South Dakota

Scientists have noticed a change in the atmosphere.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The EPA said Friday it won’t release rules for how much ethanol oil refiners have to mix in to our gasoline supply this year.

eXtension Farm Energy/Flickr

Biofuels made in the Midwest from corn stover -- the leftovers of harvested corn plants -- might be worse for global warming than gasoline in the short term.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Both supporters and opponents of ethanol have had a lot to say since the EPA announced a proposal to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard, the rules that force oil companies to buy and use certain levels of ethanol.

Bill Seeks to Cut Corn Ethanol Mandate

Apr 15, 2013
Discovery.com

A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, last week, would remove the government mandate that requires corn ethanol to be blended with the U.S. Fuel supply.

EPA Will Not Lower Ethanol Mandate

Nov 19, 2012
Discovery.com

This year’s drought caused several governor’s as well as various livestock and poultry groups to petition the Environmental Protection Agency to wave a federal rule mandating the production of a certain amount of ethanol.