The Emerging Generation

By Susanne Retka Schill | October 14, 2010
The Fall 2010 Fuel Ethanol Plant Map being mailed with this issue reflects fallout from the 2008 shakeout and following recession, with more consolidations and name changes appearing. The number of conventional ethanol plants using a starch/sugar platform under development has fallen precipitously as expected and the action is turning to the cellulosic arena. While we have only six cellulosic plants installed or under construction that meet the 1 MMgy threshold to be listed on the map, the list of proposed facilities is growing. To be on a map, of course, there needs to be a place to put a dot, so that list will grow as more projects advance to naming a location.

Our cover story this month profiles one of those cellulosic ethanol pioneers—Iogen Energy. I toured the research laboratories and demonstration plant in August. Since then several news announcements indicate the pace is increasing at Iogen. Cellulosic developers are beginning to ask whether the renewable fuels standard needs revising lest it hinder advanced biofuels development. Associate Editor Kris Bevill takes a look at the problems arising with the U.S. EPA's downsizing of the cellulosic volume. For her feature on the 2010 boom in exports, Associate Editor Holly Jessen asks her sources whether it's just a blip in the chart or an indication of a new trend.

My Editor's Note in the September issue, "It's About the Message," quoting Merle Anderson's calculations on the energy use of corn ethanol, prompted a couple of responses from readers.