To Readers:During the past decade, interest in the production of biofuels from renewable resources has continued to grow throughout the United States. Major grain producing states have placed special emphasis on the production of ethanol. The production and use of ethanol generates a variety of essential economic activity at the local, stateand national level.
(Readers wishing to learn more about specific economic benefits associated with the production of ethanol may wish to review the CFDC Issue Brief series available at www.ethanolacrossamerica.net.)
As concerns about the economic downturn in the agricultural sector and rural communities continue to mount,many groups and individuals have been motivated to consider the potential for producing ethanol. Across thecountry, farmer cooperatives, rural development coalitions, bio-energy advocates and others have gathered toexplore the process and prospects for developing ethanol production facilities. In many cases these efforts haveresulted in the successful development of ethanol plants.The current demand for ethanol and the projected increase in the use of these fuels under a national renewablefuels standard continues to stimulate interest in the prospects for the development of new ethanol plants.This publication is designed to assist interested parties during the initial stages of evaluating the potential fordevelopment of a processing facility. During this process, interested parties can consider the requirements andpotential impact of an ethanol production facility in a community or region of the state. With this information,the parties can make a more informed decision about the viability of a proposed project and the level of commitment and cost required to proceed.Entities interested in development of ethanol processing plants are often attracted by the variety of economicbenefits generated by the plants. The value-added aspects of producing a high value product from lower cost raw materials has considerable appeal in agricultural states and areas where reliable supplies of biomass feedstocks exist.For example, high protein co-products made in the fuel ethanol production process, such as distillers dried grainsand gluten feeds, have gained the full acceptance of feedlot operators and dairymen as premium feeds for theircattle. Used in wet form, these protein feed supplements induce significant economic benefits for the livestock and dairy industries while reducing the input of energy at ethanol plants. These high value co-products alsorepresent billions of dollars in value-added exports.In many states where virtually all liquid transportation fuels must be imported from sources outside the region,the use of ethanol can also help retain energy dollars in the state’s economy when such fuels are produced locally.On a broader scale, the use of ethanol nationally will also help offset our dependence on imported oil. Under nocircumstance should dependence on imported oil at the level we are now experiencing in the U.S. be acceptable.Domestic production of renewable biofuels from a host of feedstock materials can play an increasingly importantrole in meeting our transportation fuel needs while creating opportunities for rural economic development.
AGuide for Evaluating the Requirements of Ethanol Plants
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