The Year Turns

By Susanne Retka Schill | November 15, 2011

With the year speeding to a close, it’s only natural that just as we may be tempted to peek into a wrapped package in December, we might also try to peek into the unwrit pages of the approaching new year. The editors of Ethanol Producer Magazine wonder what those pages will reveal and who better to consult than some top executives in the ethanol industry? We spoke with several who took the time to gather their thoughts and concerns and comment on  the state of the industry. Many concerns are raised, but overall, the executives see opportunities ahead. Our columnists this month also highlight their priorities and give insight on important issues. The industry appears to have accepted the demise of the blenders credit and is far more concerned about efforts to dismantle or weaken the renewable fuel standard. In the past, such efforts gained little traction, but the political environment is far different right now, and nothing, absolutely nothing, can be taken for granted.

Associate Editor Kris Bevill covered an ethanol export conference a few weeks ago that she used as the basis of her feature this month, digging into the outlook for exports and the evolving logistics of how ethanol gets to its destination. Bevill also recounts the story, and the insights gained from, the train derailment that set several ethanol tank cars on fire in Tiskilwa, Ill. Dramatic photos of the scene accompany her story. The common wisdom to let the fire burnout didn’t apply in this case, and neighboring ethanol producers contributed their supplies of foam suppressant for the effort. It is an important lesson to heed, as 70 percent of ethanol in the U.S. is moved via rail.

Author: Susanne Retka Schill
Editor, Ethanol Producer Magazine
sretkaschill@bbiinternational.com