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A SHORT BACKGROUND ON ETHANOL

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A Short Backgroud On Ethanol
  • The fuel ethanol industry is here to stay, and it is growing!
  • There are two reasons why that bold statement can be made today.
    • One is the intrinsic economic value of ethanol when blended at a 10% level with gasoline;
    • the other is the recognition of the additional benefits of ethanol by the U.S. Congress and state and local government agencies.
    • Economic benefits include
      • increased energy security,
      • reduced agricultural program costs,
      • and cleaner air.
  • Today the primary market values of ethanol are as a high-quality octane enhancer and as an ''oxygenate fuel component for cities with air quality problems.
  •  When the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlawed the use of lead in gasoline, the petroleum industry was forced to increase the severity of its refining process and add a greater percentage of ethers and aromatics in order to achieve the necessary octane levels in gasoline.
  • The addition of 10% ethanol increases the octane level of gasoline by three octane points, and helps to reduce the inefficient practice of refining crude oil into high-octane components.
  • National energy security is strengthened by a stable, domestic, renewable energy supply that is outside the realm of foreign policy decision.
  •  Ethanol production is cheaper than the Strategic Oil Reserve,
    • It is not subject to an embargo,
    •  and does not require a huge military presence at the risk of U.S. Dives,
      • as does oil from the Middle East.
  • Ethanol production reduces costs of agricultural programs, because grain surpluses are reduced.
  • These costs include both the indirect costs of idling good farmland, and the direct costs of grain storage and income support for farmers.
  • As we utilize our renewable grain crops for non-food uses such as ethanol production, the marketplace will replace the government as an income source for agriculture,
  • Ethanol is known as an "oxygenate" because it contains 35% oxygen by weight. When blended with gasoline, it enhances combustion, and therefore reduces carbon monoxide exhaust emissions from 17% - 33% depending on the vehicle.
  • The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have experienced violations of federal carbon monoxide standards since 1975 and were required to implement an oxygenated fuel program which began November 1, 1992.
  • As with any new industry, new product, or new idea, there are always critics and those who resist change.
    • There will always be battles over market share.

2006 Gilles Desormeaux