Ethanol (Part II)

By: Bob French
By: Bob French

“They’re at this point saying that the petroleum companies haven’t put the E-85 pumps in place so why do I make the cars if the pumps aren’t there?”

Agriculture economist Joe Outlaw says we can expect government intervention.

“There are a lot of members of Congress that are going to be talking in the next week or two about mandating the oil companies, using, installing E-85 pumps across the country. This is going to happen. On the other side there are also the same legislators wanting to say car makers shall increase the speed at which they’re bringing these to the market.”

Texas A&M studied a model using Brazos county sweet sorghum as the feedstock to fuel a biomass ethanol conversion plant.

“It’s really all about transportation logistics because you have so many trucks to be delivering the bio-mass on a daily basis and the question is what’s the economical radius of how far out you could pull.”

Researchers found sufficient acreage in Brazos County to grow the feedstock, and pilot plant cost estimates were expanded to a commercial scale.

“It showed that it was on a magnitude of 30% cheaper than corn based ethanol to produce. Now there are a lot of caveats that go into that, but the promise is there.”

Growing fuel for a local ethanol plant or bio-diesel plant could mean a chance for Brazos county producers to make more positive returns.

“Right now we have a very monoculture agriculture. A producer in the Brazos bottom that’s been farming cotton for a number of years might have some other opportunities to bring into their operation.”

I’m Bob French, looking at Brazos valley agriculture, from the ground up.


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