September 2006

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Business Briefs

Dakota Gold Marketing promotes Gibson to VP


ChemConnect offers ethanol platform





Right now, five companies provide the vast majority of process technology and construction/detail engineering services for the North America ethanol industry—but more companies are beginning to enter the business, and they're bringing their related experience with them.

U.S. oil production peaked in 1971 and has been decreasing ever since. Many reputable experts believe global oil production will soon start to trend continuously downward, despite a steadily increasing world population and, with it, higher demand for transportation fuels.

With sunset provisions for federal ethanol incentives looming, farm-state lawmakers are making moves to make the federal tax credit permanent. Critics say doing this would benefit big corporations more than American farmers.

Ethanol plant builders say their waiting lists are growing—not only because of their own limited abilities to handle new jobs, but also because of the size and capabilities of the suppliers who serve them. It's a critical period right now for vendors whose ability to meet the demands of the U.S. ethanol expansion has a major bearing on the near-term success of their own companies.

Passing Along the Know-How

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

Like any business, ethanol-industry-based companies can only grow as fast as they can find good employees. But "getting the right people on the bus" is only the beginning. Training and confidence building can take months.


Another Way to Ethanol

By W.R. Stephens

A Canadian company is preparing to exploit an innovative approach to ethanol production. It's not "bio-ethanol"—it's synthetic—but Syntec's founders believe this non-fermentation route will soon be worth a fortune.

The way some people talk about it, ethanol is a thief, stealing corn straight out of the mouths of the world's hungry. In reality, the impact of ethanol production on global food supplies is a more complicated issue that calls for pragmatism—and a wide-angle lens approach.

From the perspective of a leading process technology and design provider, EPM peers into the popular trend of ethanol producers choosing to run plants hard in order to maximize output.

Sink or Swim

By Dave Nilles

Finding a suitable plant site is getting more difficult as the industry grows beyond its Corn Belt base. However, grain supply and access to markets aren't the only qualities that need consideration. What lies beneath the surface of the land remains a crucial component to an ethanol plant's solid foundation.

Tough to Tolerate

By Holly Jessen

Despite the looming possibility of drought, experts say the U.S. corn industry has the right tools to stay afloat should dry, hot weather return in the next few growing seasons. If drought does harm corn yields, the impact on ethanol plants could be considerable—especially if the industry uses as much as half of the nation's corn crop before turning to cellulosic feedstocks en masse.

It's a subject that has come up over and over: Will the growth of the biofuels industry take food out of the mouths of the world's hungry? While experts say it will take more time for the truth to unfold, it's certainly not as simple-or as sinister-than the picture some paint.


Defining the Balance

By Nicholas Zeman

A recently published study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., blows fresh air on the smoldering "net energy" debate for biodiesel and fuel ethanol. Ultimately, the results are favorable to renewable fuels and their ability to provide more energy than the sum of their inputs.

Getting Serious about Safety

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

In any industry, an accident is a serious issue. More serious are repeated accidents, such as three biodiesel plant fires within six months, one which ended fatally. It is time for the industry to get serious about enforcing safety code compliance.

The biodiesel industry continues to make an impact on the liquid fuels industry-but its by-product is having just as much of an effect. Producers and consumers alike are struggling with business plans influenced by an expanding flood of crude glycerin.

Biodiesel Magazine explores some broader implications of the increasing demand for soy oil coming from the burgeoning U.S. biodiesel industry.

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