Ethanol - The Fastest Growing Segment of the Energy Industry
The ethanol industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years as its value as a transportation fuel and environmentally sound gasoline oxygenate has grown. In 2004, more than 3.3 billion gallons of ethanol will be produced in the United States, up from 2.8 billion gallons in 2003. This rapid growth will continue as more states and municipalities seek to replace methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a known groundwater pollutant, with ethanol as an oxygenate for cleaner burning fuel.
Why Ethanol Use Will Continue to Grow
In just over a year, California has gone from a non-ethanol market to using 900 million gallons of ethanol annually - and that number is increasing rapidly. There are still 2.1 billion gallons of MTBE being used in gasoline in the U.S. As it is phased out of the American fuel supply due to environmental concerns, ethanol is the oxygenate of choice as its replacement. New ethanol markets in Louisiana, Georgia and the Northeast U.S. are coming on line, creating even greater demand. The Heron Lake plant will be positioned to serve these markets competitively. Transportation fuel demand in the U.S. continues to climb at a rate of about two billion gallons per year.
E-85 Popularity Growing
The most common blend of oxygenated gasoline today consists of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent regular gasoline. A blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent regular gasoline, known as E-85, is rapidly growing in popularity. Many vehicles produced in the U.S. today are designed to operate on alternative fuels such as E-85