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Editor's Note: New Uses, Steady Progress
by Kristin Brekke

When the top-of-the-hour news came on my radio here today, the announcer said that at this point in the season, the South Dakota corn harvest is typically 56 percent complete. Does that mean we’re behind if we still have most of our soybeans left to combine?

We’ve had uncooperative weather to say the least, but other than practicing patience and praying for sunshine in equal measure to the moisture, there’s not a lot that we can do. We can, though, look forward to a bountiful harvest that, if it reaches close to the 13 billion bushels of corn predicted by USDA, will provide ample supplies for all important uses – food, feed, and fuel.

I hope you enjoy this edition of Ethanol Today which seems to be following a theme of new uses and steady progress. I enjoyed learning more about the CleanFlex Power Systems technology that blends an ethanol-water fuel mixture with diesel to help diesel engines be cleaner and more efficient. It seems diesel and ethanol could be a good combination. South Dakota State University is also doing some interesting research on a new use for distillers grain – as a high-protein component in aquaculture diets. Thank you to the many people who put their time and talents behind these useful discoveries.

We’re pleased this month to bring you a feature on cellulosic ethanol that speaks to the incredible potential of ethanol from agricultural residues and dedicated energy crops. Sandia National Laboratories is looking at the figure 90 billion gallons as a possible amount of biofuel from cellulosic sources. The potential is huge, and hugely important to America’s economy, environment, and energy security. If we can continue steady progress toward these ambitious but achievable goals, we will succeed.

Part of this issue is a highlight of America’s “Cellulose Innovators” which we’ve featured along the pages of the cover story. These pioneers are making the breakthroughs needed to bring cellulosic ethanol to a commercial-scale reality. Hats-off to these dedicated people.

“Dedicated” is also a perfect way to describe America’s farmers who continue to be careful stewards of the land and adopt more efficient and effective farming practices every year. This year’s average corn yield is predicted to hit 164 bushels per acre, up a full 10 bushels per acre from last year. It’s a pleasure to work for both ethanol and for agriculture – two industries that put progress into practice each and every day.

Now if we could just control the weather…

 
© American Coalition for Ethanol, all rights reserved.
The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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