Ethanol Industry Is ‘Hangin’ in There’

We are in the midst of a pandemic and the latest figures show 41 ethanol plants idled and 66 more reducing production, for a total reduction of about 4 billion gallons. Still, our industry churns on with innovation and forward thinking.
By Lisa Gibson | May 06, 2020

This ed note comes to you from a makeshift workspace I’ve set up in the guest room of my home. I’m writing it during a break from calling producers to verify data for Ethanol Producer Magazine’s upcoming plant map, but the discussions I’m having don’t focus on RINs or nameplate capacity.

We’re in the midst of a pandemic and the latest figures show 41 plants idled and 66 more reducing production, for a total reduction of about 4 billion gallons. The country is being encouraged to stay home, many of us are working remotely and many others have lost their jobs. I don’t like to throw around the word “unprecedented,” but...

Most of you report to me that you’re “hangin’ in there,” and attitudes are positive. You’re telling me you’re trying everything to keep your employees on staff, even if your plant has temporarily idled. You’re donating or selling alcohol to help meet the soaring need for hand sanitizer. You’re finding new markets in distilleries. You’re persevering.

We’re hangin’ in there with you and delivering the industry news you need to know. Check our website, ethanolproducer.com, for daily updates. We’ve kept up with all the relevant COVID-19 news, and other industry news that gets a bit buried by it.

And, of course, we’re printing our magazine and sending it out to you. This month, we’ve focused on the potential of a Midwest low-carbon fuel standard. The Great Plains Institute recently released a paper that explores what would be needed for implementation, and what it could include. One area where it would differ significantly from California’s legislation is in credit for farmers’ low-carbon practices. Find out more on page 16.

Next, we preview the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo. Originally scheduled for mid-June in Minneapolis, the show has been moved to late August in Omaha as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But while the date and location of the 2020 FEW have changed, the selected presentations have not. Read all about it, starting on page 24.

Last, we take a detailed look at bearing sensors that wade through temperature and vibration data, and send it in a readable form to mobile devices via Bluetooth. Turn to page 34 to find out how they work.

Our industry still churns on, with innovations and developments unrelated to COVID-19. This issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine illustrates that.
Hang in there.

 

Author: Lisa Gibson
Editor
lgibson@bbiinternational.com