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Monday, October 16, 2006

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Ethanol production has grown dramatically in the last few years as the demand for this clean-air fuel has escalated. Ethanol has become a legitimate industry that is rapidly changing the face of rural America and helping the United States address serious environmental and energy challenges.

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Bush To Announce the Latest in Plan to Reduce Dependence on Foreign Energy

Bush To Announce the Latest in Plan to Reduce Dependence on Foreign Energy

May 15th, 2007

With the start of the summer driving season just a couple of weeks away, President George W. Bush will seek to gain momentum for his plan to cut U.S. gasoline consumption by 20% over the next 10 years.


Bush will make an announcement on energy issues from the Rose Garden at 1:25 p.m. (EDT) on Monday to “announce his latest effort to ensure that the nation is taking aggressive steps to reduce gasoline consumption and to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said Monday. “He will ask the administration to start implementing the 20-in-10 plan through regulatory action. At the same time he will continue to urge Congress to pass legislation to advance the goal.”


The national average for regular gasoline is now above $3 per gallon, so lawmakers are renewing their vows to crack down on price gouging. Last week, lawmakers said they want to look into whether OPEC, oil-industry mergers, and a lack of refining capacity are behind the rising prices.


In March, President Bush called on Congress to pass energy legislation by Memorial Day.  The White House sent lawmakers a draft bill to change the current renewable fuel standard to an alternative fuel standard and reform Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards for cars. Both are key parts of the administration’s strategy to boost the supply of renewable and alternative fuels to 35 billion gallons by 2017 and lower gasoline consumption.


Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson and Deputy Secretary of Energy Clay Sell will brief reporters after Bush’s announcement Monday.

New Uses for Distillers Dried Grains

New Uses for Distillers Dried Grains

May 14th, 2007

Distillers dried grains (DDGs), coproducts of converting corn into ethanol, are usually fed to livestock, but DDGs may soon be used to fight weeds and reduce herbicide. 


Plant physiologist Steve Vaughn and colleagues with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) are seeking to identify new, value-added uses for farm-based commodities like DDGs and help bring them to commercial fruition by developing novel processing technologies.


Vaughn’s work over the past few years has shown that applying DDGs to soil as a surface mulch can not only suppress weeds, but also bolster the growth of tomatoes and some turfgrasses.  In one study, for example, Roma tomatoes in DDG-treated plots yielded 226 pounds, compared to 149 pounds from untreated control plots.


Vaughn attributes some of the increase to nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients released by the DDG mulch as it decayed.


In another study, using various analytical methods, NCAUR collaborator Mark Berhow is seeking to identify, measure, and monitor the activity of the chemicals in the DDG mulch that may have kept chickweed, annual rye, and other weeds from germinating.  Rick Boydston, an ARS collaborator at Prosser, Wash., tested the mulch’s weed control in potted ornamentals, including roses. He observed that DDGs worked best when applied to the soil surface, because mixing them into the soil harmed both ornamentals and weeds alike.


On another front at Peoria, ARS chemist Rogers Harry O’Kuru is examining DDGs for phytosterols, lecithin and other substances with potential use as health-promoting food ingredients.


The team’s efforts to expand the market for DDGs are timely.  In the Midwest, ethanol producers generate 10 million tons of DDGs annually. Farmers buy most of it for about $80 per ton and feed it to cows and other ruminants, but the nation’s increasing production of ethanol may create a DDG surplus that exceeds the current demand, Vaughn notes.

Brazilian President Promises Pope Help with Ethanol in Africa

Brazilian President Promises Pope Help with Ethanol in Africa

May 11th, 2007

Yesterday, Brazil’s president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told Pope Benedict XVI that Brazil will help Africa develop biofuels.
Brazil is  Pope Benedict arrived on Wednesday in Brazil, a world leader in developing ethanol from sugarcane.


Lula told the Pope he wanted to help with reducing African poverty by helping countries there develop biofuels, like ethanol.  Brazil’s ambassador to the Vatican, Vera Machado, said that although the Pope didn’t know much about biofuels, he certainly appreciated any action in support of Africa. Brazil currently has collaboration agreements with African crop scientists in Ghana through Brazil’s Embrapa crop-science institute.


Brazilian officials have said that it is also in the country’s economic interest to help create new ethanol-producing markets in order to expand global trade of the renewable fuel.  Brazil is the world’s only major ethanol exporter.

Senate Examining New Ethanol Production Bill

Senate Examining New Ethanol Production Bill

May 8th, 2007

The U.S. Senate will consider a bill that would require the production of 15 billion gallons of renewable fuel from feedgrain-based ethanol by 2015.


An estimated 5.4 billion bushels of corn, whcih is roughly equal to 43% of the entire U.S. corn crop, would be needed to produce the 15 billion gallons proposed in the bill.

NCBA is providing information to Congress about the negative consequences S. 987 could have on beef producers; the impact of a 15 billion gallon renewable fuel standard for feedgrain-based ethanol could dramatically increase costs of gain and pressure feeder cattle and calf prices.

Policy approved by NCBA members earlier this year opposes additional mandates for grain-based ethanol.  Beef producers support a sunset on current ethanol subsidies and greater emphasis on renewable fuels derived from sources other than feedgrains.

Petrobras Makes First Ethanol Shipment To US