December 2009

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Business Briefs

Business and People



As the industry begins to re-build after its bust, plant ownership could be evolving into a new shape. How much consolidation should we expect in 2010 and what types of companies will lead the acquisitions?

Corn Repeats the Feat

By Susanne Retka Schill

Once again, the corn crop recouped from bad weather to deliver a record corn yield per acre and the second largest crop ever recorded.

Producing ethanol from a type of feedstock common in one region of the U.S. may not be feasible in another region. EPM investigates feedstock options currently available and in development in five portions of the U.S.

The Road Ahead

By Craig A. Johnson

Since August 2008, no new corn-fed ethanol plants have begun construction. Does this signal the end of an era?

A Flood of Funding

By Erin Voegele

Although it seems that the American economy may be on the road to recovery, lending markets are still tight. In the absence of traditional forms of financing, a variety of federal funding options may assist ethanol producers in moving their projects forward.

The race to meet renewable energy targets has increased the demand for saw dust, shavings and wood chips.

It will take time to determine if the Biomass Crop Assistance Program is a success. In the meantime, despite questions and concerns, the list of eligible biomass projects is growing by leaps and bounds.

Biomass project development could be expedited in 2010 and coming years, as developers contribute to state renewable portfolio standards and scramble to meet deadlines for funding opportunities.

As the world concentrates on producing renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the U.K. and China seem to be pulling ahead of the pack in efforts to meet their individually established goals.

The ability of biodiesel company managers to operate within the volatile world of commodity prices on both the front and back ends requires a level of sophistication in a market that can be ruthless and unforgiving-not to mention there are technological upgrade considerations, retooling and maintenance options, branding, legislative monitoring and review, coproduct sales and logistics.

Airlines are under serious pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, so when the most prolific oil refinery technology provider on the planet teams up with the world's biggest airplane manufacturer, they produce results-and a new class of fuel.

Vehicles under warranty by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to use B20 could claim "flex-fuel" status soon. A new U.S. EPA ruling provides incentives to OEM fleets that build B20 models such as Ford's Super Duty 350, which will be equipped to handle the blend beginning in 2011. Also, because of its characteristics as a blended fuel, some producers are seeing increased demand.

SOURCE: Darrel Good, University of Illinois

Expanding the Feedstock Portfolio

By Susanne Retka Schill

Soybean growers once again brought in a big harvest to provide ample biodiesel feedstock supplies. Market trends, however, keep on the pressure to diversify into new sources of fats, oils and greases. Biodiesel Magazine takes a look at the feedstock outlook.


A state-of-the-art tank storage farm will utilize advanced tank coating technology to keep its expansion project on the fast-track. In the process, efficiency will improve and capital investments will be protected long term.

The ethanol industry has weathered a stormy 2009 and is looking forward to a little more sunshine in 2010. Analyzing leading market trends today may help producers improve their bottom line next year.

The Internal Revenue Service may rule that taxpayers lengthen the term of depreciation on first-and second-generation ethanol plants, and understanding the proposal will be key for the industry.

Who Gets the Upstream Methane Credits?

By Joe R. Thompson and William H. Holmes

When negotiating power purchase agreements, it should be crystal clear who owns the greenhouse gas credits and renewable energy certificates.

New exchange offers a platform for biomass buyers and sellers in the U.S. and Canada to connect.

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