Industry leaders reflect on 2002 and set goals for new year

By | December 01, 2002
For our "Year In Review" issue of EPM, we thought it was appropriate to ask our readers and supporters to give us their own evaluations of 2002, as well as outlooks for 2003. Here's what we heard from them:

Larry Peckous, Novozymes "2002 was an exciting year to be involved in the fuel ethanol industry. The political and public acceptance issues of a few years ago have become distant memories, as the focus today has shifted to implementation of the newest process technologies and enzymes, business professionalism, and environmental impact of the plants. We at Novozymes are proud of the confidence the ethanol industry has expressed in us this past year, and we eagerly look forward to using our strengths in biotechnology and process innovation to enhance the industry's goals of improved profitability and environmental stewardship in 2003!

Bibb Swain, Delta-T Corp
"I've been a part of this industry since it became an industry back in the early 1980's and I can say without hesitation that this is the most exciting time we've ever seen. It took us 20 years to get this country's installed capacity up to two billion gallons per year, and now we must add another two to three billion gallons in only five to ten years. It will take a concerted and careful effort on the part of all participating parties to accomplish this without some disastrous errors along the way. My most sincere congratulations to the existing plants whose hard work and utter faith in the rightness of ethanol created the foundation for an entire industry, to the financial institutions that had the faith to fund the projects, and to the technology and construction firms that made the whole thing possible. Now let's roll up our sleeves and get to work on the challenges that lay ahead."

Jon Doggett, NCGA
"NCGA is looking forward in 2003 to building on the political and legislative successes we achieved in 2002. The acceptance of the renewable fuels standard by both political parties and in both chambers of the congress in 2002 signals the acknowledgement by policy makers that our nation's energy future lies with renewable energy. President Bush and his administration have been strong supporters of the RFS and the president's clearly stated policy positions have given a signal to the ethanol industry that there is a strong future for ethanol in the United States of America."

Tom Branham, Glacial Lakes Energy

"Glacial Lakes Energy LLC, in Watertown, S.D. started producing ethanol at our 40 million gallon per year dry mill plant in August 2002 and is proud to be part of this industry. GLE supports the biofuels movement and believe this is an opportune time to be involved with ethanol production and as this industry continues to grow. We are thankful to Fagen, Inc. and ICM for their outstanding design and ingenuity in building our plant ahead of time and under budget. GLE is running well above nameplate capacity which is testament to their talents."

Jeff Broin, The Broin Companies
"The Broin Companies are excited about the new prospects for ethanol in 2003. New markets and new production facilities will come together this year to show the world that the industry can meet the growing demand for our product. Our companies stand ready to help the ethanol industry grow for many years to come!"

Roger Burken, Chief Ethanol
"The ethanol industry, in 2002, continued to move forward in gaining additional market penetration and is poised to gain more in 2003. Many issues were addressed in 2002 with some clear progress but many challenges remain for 2003. Clearly, the Energy Bill in Congress and the successful replacement of MTBE with ethanol in California will be the immediate issues to resolve."

Larry Groce, Bratney Companies
"Bratney Companies is proud to be actively involved in the expansion of the fuel ethanol industry as a provider of engineering and construction services for efficient grain receiving, storage and milling systems along with DDGS storage and loadout systems at ethanol plants. We strongly believe that continued expansion of domestic renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, are critical to our national security and for the economic well being of rural America. Congratulations to everyone involved who brought us to this point - and let's all work together to double and re-double fuel ethanol in this decade."

Terry Kulesa, ACE Ethanol
"Ace Ethanol started up in July and due to the outstanding work of our staff we have reached peak capacity and are in the process of planning the expansion of our plant to 30 million gallons. We hope to begin expansion in March and be completed by December. The world problems in the Middle East and South America further drive home the point that we need to increase the amount of domestically produced renewable fuel sources for the prosperity and security of our country."

Rob Zmudka, GATXRAIL
"GATXRAIL is again very proud to be a supporting sponsor at this years National Ethanol Conference. GATXRAIL is leading the industry with thousands of ethanol cars in our fleet and many more on order. We are all excited about the progress that has been made in the ethanol industry and stand ready to continue to support our customers' needs."

William J. Wells, WEI Pty. Ltd.
"The fuel ethanol industry in Australia, which has seen starts and stops since since 1927, seems poised to become a permanent and growing fixture in the local "petrol" market. Both federal and state agencies and legislators are tackling a series of issues and initiatives that will put Australia on the path to have ethanol in all gasoline within the next decade or so. Besides being policy driven, there are efforts by major oil companies and independents alike to use a market-driven approach to take advantage of ethanol's many useful properties.

On a personal note, Wells Enterprises International (WEI Pty Ltd) has succeeded its inaugural year well beyond my expectations. No doubt this is due to the huge interest in fuel ethanol in Australia and the concomitant need for real world experiences in a large marketplace such as the USA. So far, most of our effort has been spent in political battles and handling misinformation in the press, no different than what we experienced in the U.S., but compressed into a shorter time. It has been my great pleasure in 2002 to watch the industry grow wings, and I believe that in 2003 we will see it take flight."

Doug Brahnam, LSC
"The ethanol industry has the potential to be better this year than ever before. There are technologies used in other process industries (but not in ethanol) that will improve machinery reliability significantly. Such a technology is oil mist lubrication that will reduce rolling element bearing failures by 90%. Ethanol needs to investigate and adopt these technologies which will ultimately improve profitability."

Robert M. Worley, Dumas Economic Development Corporation
"We believe the country is ready for ethanol, on a big scale! We think the political climate is right, and we in Dumas, Texas, are planning and positioning ourselves now for the eventual (and we think soon) banning of MTBE from gasoline, and the corresponding growth of ethanol as the additive of choice. Ethanol is one of those rare WIN, WIN, WIN, WIN products - the environment wins with a cleaner product, private industry wins with opportunities in an emerging growth industry, the consumer wins with the eventual easing of prices due to increased production and competition, and governments at all levels win with the building of ethanol plants, thereby creating new jobs and tax base."

Charlie Staff, Distillers Grains Technology Council
"For 2002 this is a statement that has proven true: All the dire consequences of added ethanol production on the price of distillers grains has not occurred. What people have found is that distillers grains has great animal feed value, particularly for cattle, and that it will replace other feed ingredients when it's available. We must continue to make farmers and animal nutritionists aware of its availability, its feeding value for all animals and how it can impact favorable feeding costs. Use of distillers grains in animal feeds will continue to grow as we increase availability and marketing awareness."

Mark Hamnett, Lurgi PSI
"The ethanol, indeed biofuel industry is at a crossroads of un-paralleled importance when agriculture, and the oil industry can deliver an energy solution that will benefit both the economy and the quality of life of our children and the generations to come. It now requires government, the world of finance, vendors and consumers alike, to speak with one voice in support of making the use of ethanol and biodiesel a part of our way of life once an for all!"

Jason Sagebiel, FCStone
"First, we would like to congratulate ethanol plants that have come on line in the past year. Secondly, we want to wish best of luck to all the plants coming into production in 2003. With roots in Agriculture since 1924, it is awesome to see the rapid growth and opportunities that the Ethanol industry and people within industry have created to the rural landscape. This industry "is" and "will continue" to create demand by adding value to the rural economy. In addition, this is an opportunity for American producers and entrepreneurs to set forth a pace to reduce America's demand on foreign energy. We at FCStone wish all a Happy and Prosperous New Year!