The Reward of Big Issues

By Susanne Retka Schill | May 11, 2012

While it’s a challenge to produce a large issue such as this June EPM, the reward comes in being able to offer many great stories. Ever since hearing about Fagen Inc.’s first European ethanol project, we’ve looked forward to learning more. In our cover story, Associate Editor Holly Jessen writes about Pannonia Ethanol, an American-style corn ethanol plant on the Danube River in Hungary. Jessen’s other contributions this month take a look at women in biofuels and the impact of a documentary on ethanol education. Associate Editor Kris Bevill updates us on the campaign to implement E15 and describes efforts to demonstrate ethanol’s carbon sequestration potential. Bevill also examines the ethanol industry’s answer to the buzz about algae in the biodiesel industry—seaweed. Yes, seaweed for ethanol production shows great promise, but presents challenges as well. As this issue, and editorial staff, goes to the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Minneapolis, we’ll have more opportunities to learn about the latest innovation and look for more great stories.

Susanne Retka Schill, Editor


Dear Editor:

My wife recently needed a new car, so we looked into many options and found the Toyota Prius computer is capable of using E85 with no problems. My wife asked the dealer if she could run E85 and he said it would void the warranty. Even though the dealership has no way of telling what fuel is used, she refuses to even put one gallon of ethanol in her new car, even though I have a 2000 Saturn SW that has run 60,000 miles on 50/50 ethanol/petrol.

I believe the real problem for ethanol usage is that the oil companies have done too good a job of disinformation. If I were living in Sutherland, Neb.—the town where a small ethanol plant temporarily idled in February—I would convert my Saturn to be optimized to run on ethanol with NO gasoline for use in and around the Sutherland. Local usage should be encouraged and highly promoted by the community. The other car would be set up to run on gasoline for travel to areas not as ethanol-friendly. It is time to encourage local consumption to support your local community.

Harold Sanders
Northlake, Ill.


In the “Steel in the Ground” feature article in the May issue, a couple of numbers need clarification on the Beta Renewables project. The Crescentino, Italy, plant will being producing 40,000 tons of cellulosic ethanol, growing to 60,000 tons (20 MMgy). The project is on track to produce ethanol with a cash cost of about $1.50 per gallon, and a capital cost of $5 per gallon, which is expected to go down with subsequent projects.