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Can farmers keep up with the growing demand for ethanol?

Agriculture.com Staff 03/02/2007 @ 12:02pm

Bruce Howison of Syngentia admits that that question would have seemed a strange one to ask not that many years ago. "We had ample supplies of grain and ethanol industry was only a fraction of the size that it is today," says Howison who leads an industry roundtable table on the topic of biofuel during the 2007 Commodity Classic.

In the past 10 years, ethanol production has quadrupled, expanding up to a 4.0 billion gallon industry. "Ethanol is blended into 46% of the fuel in cars today and 50% is not that far away," Howison said.

The National Corn Growers Association projects that ethanol will displace 311,000 barrels of crude oil by 2010. "The demand for ethanol is definitely going to grow in the future," Howison adds. "So that has leaders in the industry asking what can be done to increase corn production to meet demand for more ethanol."

William Neibur of DuPont reported that his firm is examining efforts to apply technology across the biofuel chain to help farmers more than double the gallons of ethanol produced from an acre of corn. "As a result, the industry will be able to distill 600 gallons from grain and 200 gallons from stover within the next 10 years," Neibur said.

DuPont's partner, Broin Companies, was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to receive up to $80 million in federal funding over the next four years to bring cellulosic ethanol to market. DuPont is developing the technology that Broin will use in its Emmetsburg, Iowa biorefinery, announced during the Commodity Classic.

Bruce Howison of Syngentia admits that that question would have seemed a strange one to ask not that many years ago. "We had ample supplies of grain and ethanol industry was only a fraction of the size that it is today," says Howison who leads an industry roundtable table on the topic of biofuel during the 2007 Commodity Classic.

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