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werkman53
Contributor

Corn based Ethanol

Nameplate production is almost 15 billion gallons, producing ~14 billion in 2011. Seems to hold there until something changes, government mandates, etc.

 

RFS says we need 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022, ten years from now, 21 billion gallon of which has to come from celluosic ethanol, biodiesel, something not from corn, etc.

 

Production in 2011 for celluosic ethanol was like ~7 million gallon. A few plants to come online by 2013.

Production in 2011 for biodiesel was ~800 million gallon.

 

Question:

 

What is going to happen between now and 2022? Can celluosic production do in 10 years what corn based did in 30?

 

Am I going to harvest my corn, sell it to one ethanol plant, then mow and bale my corn stalks, and sell them to another ethanol plant?

 

 

No doubt government could change the mandates and shake things up, especially if they allowed corn based ethanol to get much bigger than it is right now. 

 

All I am saying is that Midwest agriculture could be very interesting in the next 10 years, to say the least.

 

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24 Replies
roarintiger1
Honored Advisor

Re: Corn based Ethanol

There are many farmers who would not wish to mow and bale corn stalks.

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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Re: Corn based Ethanol

Politics will be right in the mix along with supply, demand, technology and agronomics from here on.  I'm not a fan of selling corn stalks and then putting fertiloizer back on the ground, but I'm not dead set against it.  It's hard for me to see how cellulosic ethanol will overtake starch based ethanol, but of course it's possib le.

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old man
Senior Contributor

Re: Corn based Ethanol

Yeah, I think that there  some ethanol could be made from corn stalks. My concern is what would happen if this country if we tried to make a lot of ethanof from plant matter.

It is my belief that before very long our ORGANIC MATTER would decline badly

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Hobbyfarmer
Honored Advisor

Re: Corn based Ethanol

Just more of those unintended concenquences our politico's are famous for.

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werkman53
Contributor

Re: Corn based Ethanol

If celluosic ethanol is to become the equal of corn ethanol, no doubt we need a renewable annual source. The only place to get that is where the bulk of the crop residue is....ie where the bulk of  the corn is grown.

 

A huge contribution from a corn stover ethanol industry is the only way I see the RFS even coming close.

 

Its not like the midwest is going to quit corn/soybeans and start growing switchgrass.

 

 

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Mike central IA
Veteran Contributor

Re: Corn based Ethanol

After the fodder is used to make ethanol, what is left? is there organic matter that could be spread on the land again for cover, or will it be used for animal feed, or ???? I think by replacing lost plant material with commercial fertilizer will be a huge step backward, and the erosion of vulnerable soil will be repulsive as well. I understand that the plan is to only remove the fodder once every five years or so, but I think we all know how that will work out. People are going to go for the quick buck as long as they can, and as often as they can get away with it. That is my opinion anyway.

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Palouser
Senior Advisor

Cellulosic won't be coming from the Midwest ....

..... if they crack the code. Heavy duty cellulosic in large quantities would come from the forest residue and thinnings from the PNW, NorthEast and Southeast pine forests. The infrastructure is already in place there. All you'd have to do is build the plants. Period.

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nwobcw
Advisor

Re: Corn based Ethanol

   The shipping expense for corn fodder bales would be a problem.  You don't get a lot of weight in a fodder bale, nothing like hay.  A semi that normally hauls 50,000# of corn to an ethanol plant would be lucky to haul half that in corn stalks.  I have only seen corn stalks baled with round balers, has anyone seen large square fodder bales?  Baling stalks really puts wear on a round balers belts.

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idalivered
Advisor

Re: Corn based Ethanol

Palouser is on the right track. It just looks like a logistical nightmare for us. Just the trimmings , bark, and excess(i'm not sure the real terms) from the timber industry would be alot. Some type of hybrid poplar trees maybe? We have a "small" scale cellulosic plant at emmetsburg iowa. It always looked to me that the real goal of that plant was to harvest research grants from usda.

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