Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ethanol Distribution

The Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group set up to monitor and promote the distribution of ethanol in the United States, released its ethanol outlook for 2008. In later posts I plan on going into some of their projections, but for this post I wanted to look at a couple of cool tables and graphs. The first is seen below, which is a report on the current production levels of ethanol in millions of gallons, the second column is the capacity about to come online, and the third column is the projected total capacity for 2008. Although I knew that Iowa led the United States in ethanol production, I had no idea we were head-and-shoulders above any other state. This of course will change as soon as the cellulosic ethanol industry kicks in in the next few years and we see states like Georgia taking a larger role in ethanol production.

The second table is a map of the US showing the areas where ethanol plants exist and where plants are being built. I think it's very important to keep track of where these plants are being built because it shows the state of the industry better than most numerical values can. What I mean by this is that since most of the plants are centered in the Midwest, we can see that the ethanol industry is still very much dependant on corn for ethanol. However, notice the ethanol plants coming online in California, Idaho, Texas, and Georgia. These trends will signal the conversion between the corn-based ethanol industry that we see today and the cellulosic-based ethanol of tomorrow.


mus302 said...

I didn't realize that Iowa was that far out in front.

It will be interesting to see the transition over to cellulosic.

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