Saturday, April 18, 2009

MN Auditor: Pull the Plug on Ethanol Subsidies

The office of the legislative auditor released a report Friday urging the Minnesota Legislature to end producer payment programs for corn-based ethanol. It further recommends ending use of the Job Opportunity Building Zones program for assisting with the construction of new corn-based ethanol plants.

The auditor's report finds that while corn-based ethanol and soy biodiesel reduce dependence on fossil fuels, the land resources required to produce them constrain their economic benefit.

According to the report summary, "To achieve nationwide use of E20 and B5 by 2020 would require about two-thirds of all land planted with corn in 2008 and slightly more than half of all the land planted with soybeans."

With the rising cost of food prices and demand, the auditor's office believes biofuels need to be more efficient than corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel has proven to be.


Also controversial is the fact that "In the past five years, the state has awarded $93 million to privately run Minnesota ethanol operations, which together had $619 million in profits."


At 4/18/2009 10:49 AM, Blogger fboness said...

In my own revolt against ethanol, I have bought a Jeep Liberty with a Diesel engine. No one has figured out how to put ethanol in Diesel fuel.

At 4/18/2009 11:47 AM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

The positive news with the sclerotic economy/cheap fuel environment is that corn-based ethanol producers are struggling. Vera Sun Energy filed for bankruptcy last year, Aventine recently filed, and Panda Ethanol - what's suppose to be the biggest ethanol plant in the U.S. - sits unfinished.

In other news, Brazil, an efficient, self-reliant producer of sugar cane-based ethanol - and a rising oil superpower - has been nudging the U.S. to drop its worthless 53 cent-per-gallon tariff on biofuels. There's also been some positive developments with algae-based biofuels (this link is listed in a previous comment on a prior post).

BTW - anybody paying close attention to Brazil's oil developments should eye Angola. Angola has sub-salt formations very similar to Brazil's, and South America's rising star is taking notice, and is taking interest is assisting Angola with exploration. The uncertain question is: "Could Angola become the next Brazil, or another Nigeria (which it pretty much is already)?"

All-in-all, corn-based ethanol is nothing more than a Frankenstein creation propped up on life support of the U.S. government. The process of making it is inefficient, yielding little net-energy gain; it requires extensive land, gluttonous amounts of water plus petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides. It needs to buried in the compost pile.

At 4/18/2009 2:44 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

Shouldn't be any problem on a state level - especially considering it's my state. Nationally is a whole 'nother ball o wax. Iowa Caucuses.

At 4/18/2009 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the Strawman fallacy. The mandate is for E10 from "corn" ethanol (15 billion gallons,) not E20 ( approx. 30 billion gallons.)

In 2020 we should be, after allowing for the Distillers Grains, achieving approx 1,000 gal/acre, thus utilizing 15 million acres. We planted about 85 Million Acres this year, so that would be 15/85, or about 18% of our present corn land.

BTW, we carried over 1.7 Billion Bushels this year, just about the highest on record (in spite of horrific floods, short cool growing season, and less acreage.

Corn presently sells for Less than $0.07/lb.

At 4/18/2009 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fboness, you need to google "Scania." They're the largest diesel manufacturer in Europe, a division of Volkswagen.


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