U.S. ETHANOL FUELS OUR WORLD

And these days, keeping our world safe with trade means that everyone has a safe supply of fuel as well!  Did you realize how much U.S. ethanol is fueling the vehicles all over the world?

We are already shipping ethanol to Brazil, China, Japan, and to our best friends, Canada and Mexico.  But we’re growing in other markets like the EU, and many countries in Central and South America.

American farmers and ethanol producers are seeing major growth in this area!  And we’re proud to supply a cleaner burning, renewable fuel!

TELL ME MORE ABOUT FARMERS AND RECYCLING

On Tuesday, we talked about how the leftovers from ethanol production are left to livestock.  But if you don’t understand ethanol production, that might sound sort of … iffy.

Read how this mom began to understand how farmers are amazing recyclers!

WHAT EXACTLY IS THAT BYPRODUCT?

by ANITA MANN Naperville, IL

cattle, eating, byproductI don’t know about you, but I have to admit that when I heard that farmers feed their cattle byproducts I really didn’t understand what that meant. All I knew was that it didn’t sound good to me, especially if that byproduct came from an ethanol plant!

When I hear the word ethanol, I think of gasoline so I was really confused on what the byproduct was.  However, while on a tour at the Adams Farm in Sandwich, IL, I was pleasantly surprised to learn what these byproducts actually are and how they were used to feed cattle. 

The byproduct from ethanol distilleries is known as distillers grains (often referred to as DDGS). When the corn is used to make ethanol they only use the starch portion of the grain, so the byproduct is the corn germ, oil, and the outer seed shell.

The fermentation of the grain in the ethanol production process makes the byproduct a high-protein, high-fat and high-fiber product that cattle like. The farmer uses this much like we put sugar on cereal. 

Another byproduct used in feed is from a local Del Monte vegetable plant and a seed corn plant. After the sweet corn is harvested and the kennels are removed, both the cob and the husk are left over. This sweet corn byproduct is mixed with the leftover husks from a seed corn plant and then it ferments in a bunker silo. This fermented mixture is used as part of the cattle’s feed ration.

A third type of byproduct used in cattle feeding comes from a sugar refinery in the form of molasses, which is mixed with a vitamin/mineral supplement that the cattle receive. 

All of these byproducts would normally just go to waste, but the cow’s unique digestive system allows a farmer to utilize it for feed in addition to the grass that the cattle graze on in the pasture. With the human population increasing and the amount of land available for grazing decreasing, I think this is a clever way of utilizing the resources that are available.

Read this article as it was originally posted here.

FARMERS LOVE RECYCLING!

recycle, sustainability, DDGS

It’s true.  When farmers sell their corn to a local ethanol plant, the leftovers from making ethanol are perfect livestock feed.  In fact, 1/3 of the corn used for ethanol comes back to the farm for livestock.

Then, the manure produced from eating those leftovers is used to fertilize the soil to grow more corn the next year.

It’s an amazing recycling system that farmers have been using for years!

JAPAN RECOGNIZES THE NEED FOR CLEANER AIR, ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Japan will now allow U.S. ethanol to meet up to 44 percent of a total estimated demand of 217 million gallons of ethanol used to make ETBE, or potentially 95.5 million gallons of U.S.-produced ethanol, worth about $140 million, annually.

This didn’t just happen.

Helping other countries understand the need for renewable, cleaner fuels to control global pollution issues has been an uphill educational battle and one that we are excited to finally be getting ahead of.

The U.S. Grains Council, an organization that promotes U.S. products in other countries, has led this effort to get U.S. ethanol into Japan, and now is reaping the benefits of their work.  In late June, a delegation of U.S. business and state government leaders traveled to the country, led by Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, to answer Japanese questions about how this fuel could work for them.

“While we have opened the door to ethanol exports to Japan, we still have a lot of work to do,” said Darren Armstrong, USGC secretary/treasurer and farmer from North Carolina, who participated in the mission. “The Council and our partners have an opportunity to provide more information to the Japanese government as well as to the entire value chain about the many benefits of ethanol.”

“With this decision, Japan recognizes the environmental value of U.S. corn-based ethanol,” Armstrong said. “Going forward, our role is to further demonstrate the economic value of using even greater volumes of ethanol, including through direct blending, as is done in the United States.”

Read more about this exciting news here.

EVERYTHING RUNS ON HOMEGROWN CORN

Ok, not everything.  But a lot of things that you probably haven’t thought about depend on corn grown right here in Illinois.

These benefits to the Illinois economy are just the foundation; the building blocks of corn’s contribution to our state are found in the clean air we breathe, the steak and bacon we enjoy, and the tires, cleaners, diapers, and plastics we use.

And let’s not forget the whiskey.

Find out more at www.watchusgrow.org/corn

WHERE DOES ILLINOIS CORN GO?

If you’ve driven through Illinois, you’ll remember fields and fields of corn along our (sometimes dilapidated) scenic interstates and highways.  It’s true, corn is a very popular crop in our state and one that supports the Illinois economy in many ways.

For a moment, let’s review that the corn you see growing in Illinois is not sweet corn.  Sweet corn, bred for its sugar content, is the corn you enjoy off the grill, out of a can, or frozen from the grocery store.  But this corn makes up less than 1% of the corn grown in Illinois.  Most of the corn is field corn or dent corn, bred for its starch content, and used to make corn meal (rarely), to feed livestock, and to fuel our vehicles.

So where does all this corn grown in Illinois go?

Well, according to the best available data we have on the 2016 crop – data from the 2017 crop isn’t finalized yet – most of that corn is exported out of Illinois and likely used to feed livestock.

To be fair, we can’t know exactly what the corn is used for once it leaves our state, but we do know that 41% of the corn grown in Illinois is exported.

Why is export the largest market in our state?  Because we have a unique position on the Illinois and Mississippi River that gives us very competitive access to transportation to get that corn out of the country.  Buyers and get our corn delivered to them more cheaply, so they tend to buy from us instead of from other states.

If a semi load of corn in Illinois isn’t leaving the state, it’s probably being used for ethanol production.  Thirty-one percent of the corn grown in 2016 ended up at an ethanol plant and became the cleanest burning fuel option American’s have.

Interesting to note, much of the ethanol produced in Illinois also leaves the state for other countries.  Those rivers, man!  They are a BIG advantage.

The rest of the corn is used for processing (23 percent) and livestock feed (5 percent).  Livestock feed is an easy one to understand.  Five percent of the corn grown in Illinois is fed to livestock living in Illinois.

But this 23 percent processing number is more complex.  It basically includes everything else that we use corn for.  This is where the human food use for field corn is (cornmeal, tortillas), but also where all the industrial uses are lumped.  Corn is used to make diapers, gum, lollypops, crayons, and many, many more products!  So many that 23 percent of Illinois corn goes into those markets.

Here’s the shocker though – fifteen percent of the corn harvest in Illinois is sitting unused in a pile or in a bin somewhere.  We grow more corn than we can use!  This is why we are always looking for innovative ways to incorporate corn into our lifestyles to make our products better.  And this extremely versatile crop delivers!!

Lindsay Mitchel
ICMB/ICGA Marketing Director

ETHANOL & YOUR CAR: A PRIMER

Have you ever stopped to think about the science that goes behind the gasoline that drives your car? If you’re anything like me- gears, engines, and any sort of chemistry don’t make the slightest bit of sense. When I go to the gas station, I swipe my card to get my ‘fuel points’, then always get the gas that is the cheapest. But, I’ve never really sat and thought about what makes up gasoline. How does this make my car run?

We’ll start simple. Corn is fermented to create a gasoline mixture. This is called ethanol. Most gasoline is made of 10% ethanol, and the majority of US cars can run on this amount. But, some cars are now being produced that can run on 100% ethanol fuel, which is better for the environment and uses less energy. Ethanol is a renewable source, unlike regular gasoline.

PEMBROKE PINES, FL – NOVEMBER 15: Gas pumps with a sign indicating the gas is containing up to 10 % ethanol are seen at Victory gas station on November 15, 2013 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Today, the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposal to ease an annual requirement for ethanol in gasoline. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Ethanol is also known to have high amounts of octane. Octane is the power that makes your car go. The more octane you have, the more power there is for your car to run. Higher blends of ethanol offer more octane for the same amount of money. The Department of Energy states that having higher octane fuels are required for larger engines or ones that use more force.

The oil companies obviously want you to pay the ‘big dollars’ for high-dollar ‘aromatics’, which is a petroleum-based synthetic octane enhancer. They increase the octane, but are extremely harmful to the environment and are very expensive.

But, this is why we have ethanol.

The higher the ethanol content in your gasoline, the higher the amount of octane you have. This increases the power in your car, while also helping the environment. If car manufacturer increases the engine capacity of cars to be able to handle more ethanol content in cars, this can really help our environment. We can stop unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and increase the efficiency levels in our vehicles.

This only goes to show that agriculture really does “drive” everything forward. Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline, so why not try to produce more vehicles that have the capacity to not only help the environment but help us save some money at the pump every week.

Ashley Hauptman
Illinois State University

ALL WE WANT FOR CHRISTMAS: RVP WAIVER

[Originally posted December 15, 2016]

This Christmas list item gets complicated, so bear with me.

A RVP waiver – Reid Vapor Pressure waiver – is what Americans really need to use more renewable fuels and capitalize on the domestic, clean-burning fuel we have right at our fingertips.

SANTA, BRING THAT WAIVER FOR E15!

The back story on this request is that when it’s really hot, bad stuff (emissions) evaporate from your fuel (evaporative emissions) and can cause summertime air pollution.  The EPA doesn’t want that to happen.

They measure the evaporative emissions using the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) standard.  The higher the RVP of a fuel, the worse its emissions are.

The RVP of pure ethanol is 2.  The RVP of gasoline can range from 7 to 15.

But when blended, the RVP of an ethanol/gasoline blend can exceed the RVP standard.  The RVP of a 10% blend of ethanol into gasoline (the standard fuel today) is about 10.

In 1990, Congress amended the Clean Air Act to allow E10 a waiver – in other words, Congress gave EPA the authority to allow the use of E10 during the summer months.  But we’re still waiting on the waiver to allow E15 in the summer months, and the absence of that waiver is what makes E15’s movement into the marketplace so complicated.

By the way, the RVP of E15 is actually lower than E10 and straight gasoline.

So, Santa, I’m not sure if you understood all this, but we could really use that waiver in our hands on Christmas Eve.  The world stands to benefit from cleaner air, and consumers will definitely enjoy the extra cents per gallon in their pockets.

Mitchell_LindsayLindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director