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How far will ethanol go?

USDA's chief economist predicts an ethanol boom over the next few years, with more ethanol production plants being assembled ,and bigger corn crops needed to feed them. ethanol's future will depend largely on policy decisions about tax credits, and perhaps the growth of cellulosic ethanol. USDA's first estimate for new crop is in, and the biggest surprise is a lower average yield projection for U.S. corn production -- 150.3 bushels per acre. Can this be the magic that corn traders are waiting for?

Ethanol is an important market for U.S. corn, consuming more than 1.8 billion bushels in 2006 to produce 4.9 billion gallons of renewable fuel.Ethanol’s real value goes far beyond its role as a major user of corn. Ethanol plants have helped revive rural communities across the country by creating high-paying jobs, boosting local tax revenues, and creating opportunities of partenership with local businesses. Additionally, ethanol helps the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and displacing the harmful additive MTBE from reformulated gasoline.Using more corn for making alternative fuel, reduces the amount of grain available for the production of food. When demand rises , the prices will rise as well, for ethanol producers and corn consumers. Countries most impacted by this will be those who import grains for food. Corn was domesticated in mexico , and is one of the food staples of Mexican culture. Mexico is increasingly importing corn from the u.s. because it is cheaper than buying from the locals. A lot of Mexican farmers are getting out of the business because they can’t compete with heavily subsidized corn.
Florida pushes ethanol plant forward
Spring 2007, florida State legislators awarded $20 million to the University of Florida's Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences in order to establish a research plant commercializing Researcher Lonnie Ingram's patented technology --for producing ethanol from the woody parts of plants.

The new research & development facility, to be built will make overall production faster, and more efficient. Different from conventional ethanol production that uses feedstocks that contain glucose, such as corn.... cellulosic ethanol technology produces fuel from inedible material in plant cell walls (the woody part of plants).

Ingram created the world’s first genetically engineered E. coli bacteria capable of converting the sugars present in plant fibers into ethanol. His work at University of Florida was granted -U.S. landmark patent No. 5,000,000 in 1991, and he has been working with partners to improve and refine the ethanol process since 1991.The new Florida plant will be used as a test facility for full scale commercialization, and as a training camp for engineers and scientists.

The technology is licensed to a Massachusetts-based company called Celunol, which built a pilot plant in Jennings, La., in 1999. The facility has the capacity to produce 50,000 gallons of ethanol a year, and they are currently testing ethanol feedstocks, ranging from sugar cane to trees.

Directly across from the Jennings plant, Celunol is rebooting a vacant oil refinery into a demonstration facility capable of producing 1.4 million gallons of ethanol a year.

The Department of Energy & Department of Agriculture had selected eleven projects to receive a total of $8.3 million for biofuels research in order to spped up the development of alternative fuels.
The University of Florida will receive $750,000 for a 3 year project researching the potential for sweet sorghum as a potential feedstock for ethanol production.

USDA: 13 billion bushels of corn

USDA's August 10 crop production report is projecting a U.S. corn crop of 13.1 billion bushels, a 3-million bushel increase over last month's projection and
the largest corn crop since 1933.