Welcome, 2019

FROM THE JANUARY ISSUE: Editor Lisa Gibson previews the magazine, including feature articles about Iowa's importance to ethanol, an update on two corn kernel fiber-to-ethanol plants, a look at plant safety and security, and more.
By Lisa Gibson | December 20, 2018

As we look to 2019, the ethanol industry has a list of goals to achieve and battles to fight. We’re lucky that our largest producing state is also a swing state. Ethanol’s interests wield power within Iowa and, therefore, nationally. Well, sometimes.

Of course, the ethanol industry isn’t seeing its goals and needs met in all areas, but Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, played a significant role in our recent win—President Donald Trump’s announcement that E15 will receive a Reid vapor pressure waiver. It’s not perfect, might include some renewable identification number compromises, and we don’t know when it might actually be implemented, but we’re getting closer.

Ethanol is crucial to Iowa and Iowa is crucial to ethanol. The state led the country in production with its 4.2 billion gallons in 2017, just over 25 percent of the 15.8 billion gallons produced nationwide that year. Iowa’s production in 2017 was 168 times its 1980 production, compared with the country’s 90-fold increase in the same amount of time. In the feature on page 22, we explore Iowa’s ethanol stats, its industry and its impacts. Its trade groups and vendors have reaches beyond the state lines.

Switching from Iowa to Wisconsin, the next feature profiles the first commercial D3Max corn fiber-to-ethanol technology installation. It’s at Ace Ethanol in Stanley and is expected to also produce higher-protein distillers dried grains with solubles. Meanwhile, ICM and The Andersons continue to make progress on Element in Colwich, Kansas. The plant will use ICM’s Generation 1.5 process, which incorporates milling and fiber separation technologies.

Corn fiber ethanol has been compared to corn oil in its capacity to transform revenue streams for the ethanol industry. I guess with these two installations underway, we’re getting closer to finding out if that’s a realistic comparison. Read more about both projects in the feature starting on page 28.

And the last feature of this issue focuses on surveillance. Some plants emphasize safety, while others emphasize security, but all see benefits in both. Keeping up with new technologies is worth the investment, plant managers say. The coverage starts on page 34.

We have crucial legislation on the table, progress in development of corn fiber-to-ethanol technologies, and evolution in surveillance for all plants. Welcome, January. Welcome, 2019.

Author: Lisa Gibson