Friday, December 26, 2008

Government-created Ethanol Industry now Begging for their Bailout!

Already gouging taxpayers for $25 billion in handout subsidies, the ethanol industry lobbying arm - the Renewable Energy Association - is now begging the government for another billion in short-term credit, along with up to $50 billion in loan guarantees to expand the diastrous industry.

In an even more evil move, the association is asking for the government to lower the existing 10 percent limit on how much ethanol can be added to fuel for regular cars and trucks. That has the potential to wreak havoc on the engines of the car, as those mixtures are unproven.

So what we have is a false market created by the government because it's great to get votes and give the illusion that jobs are being created. So now the non-market business needs to be bailed out in order to keep our politicians from looking like the uniformed, dangerous people they're increasingly becoming.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Reasons to Abandon Ethanol Subsidies

USDA Secretary Pick Vilsack Faces Ethanol Decision

“We’re also hopeful that Governor Vilsack will take an objective look at the volatility corn ethanol has imposed on the food and fuel system, and its adverse impact on the environment,” said Ken Cook, the president of Environmental Working Group, an environmental advocacy organization in Washington.

Bentley plan to cut CO2 with ethanol comes under fire

"The weight of the evidence against ethanol as a net reducer of greenhouse gas emissions vis-À-vis gasoline is by now quite overwhelming."

Environmental Groups Oppose Ethanol Bailout in Stimulus Package

The Clean Air Task Force, Environmental Working Group, Friends of Earth, and the Network for New Energy Choices released a statement today saying that federal government subsidies and mandates for corn-based ethanol produce potentially catastrophic consequences to the environment, and have no payback to taxpayers in terms of alleviating global warming effects, providing for energy security, or even simply reducing the cost of driving.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Many Reasons to Drop the Ethanol Debacle

"New" ethanol to face crunch time under a Chu DOE

"Steven Chu, Obama's pick for the head of the Department of Energy, is a steadfast supporter of next-generation biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol, expected to be made from the tough woody bits of crops like grasses and fast growing trees as well as plant and timber waste.

"But next-generation biofuels are no quick fix. They are more expensive than gasoline, a problem that was tricky when oil hit $147 a barrel over the summer, but even more difficult now as it trades under $50 a barrel."

Why the Ethanol Mandate is a Joke and a Crime

Shawn McCambridge, senior grains analyst for Prudential-Bache, said capacity could dip below the mandate because the economy will make politicians unwilling to enforce penalties or push for more ethanol at the expense of consumers.

NSW Farmers question lift in mandatory ethanol targets

The NSW Farmers’ Association supports the availability of ethanol blended petrol at service stations throughout NSW, but it believes that this should be determined by market forces, not Government intervention by mandating the percentage of ethanol in petrol.

The Real Future of Ethanol

A state fund that helps North Dakota ethanol plants is expected to run out of money this month.

Ethanol isn't the Answer

Going to ethanol was a great decision for the Brazilians – they got off of foreign oil and, as luck would have it, created a greener fuel which only became important recently. But that doesn’t mean that we can do the same. It’s good that we began to look at other countries to see what they do well, but we need to understand differences between countries, too. Here, we should have known that ethanol wasn’t right for us. If we want energy independence and a greener fuel, we need to look at what else America has to offer.

Ethanol the Killer

Governments worldwide are tempering their drive for biofuel use after a surge in production increased land clearance in Latin America and Asia and reduced food production in some regions. In July, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated wheat and corn prices may rise as much as 7 percent in the next decade because of greater U.S. and European production of alternative fuels.

Ethanol is Worst Biofuel Option

Ethanol-based biofuels will irreversibly damage human health, wildlife, water supply and land use than current fossil fuels ... warns an expert.

Unrealistic Ethanol Subsidies Should be Dropped in Minnesota

With their darling biofuel project - corn-based ethanol - continuing to prove a disaster, many states are having to reevaluate their commitment and cut back on funding.

Minnesota is one of those states, as Governor Tim Pawlenty will have to make a key decision on how much the state is able to commit to with a projected $5.2 billion budget deficit facing him.

The problem for Minnesota is they hailed the dubious industry as a savior of Minnesota farmers and could face a huge backlash as that assertion and ploy comes back to haunt them.

Last year Minnesota paid out above $15 million to ethanol plants in subsidies, and its going to be hard to justify continuing that in the current economic climate.

All states need to take a hard look at the problem and get rid of this subsidy and misguided effort to produce a biofuel that experts all around say isn't viable and does more harm than good.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

VeraSun Energy Requests Permission to Void Corn Contracts

Another reason to abandon the ethanol fiasco!

VeraSun energy has requested permission from a bankruptcy court in Delaware to void contracts with farmers if they give them a 10-day notice.

Friday, November 14, 2008

BioFuel Energy Reports Huge Third Quarter Losses

DENVER, Nov 13, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- BIOFUEL ENERGY CORP. (BIOF), an ethanol production company, today announced third quarter results. For the three months ended September 30, 2008, revenues totaled $90.5 million. A net loss to common shareholders of $33.1 million or $2.18 a share was recorded. The aggregate loss during the period was $70.6 million, including $50.0 million of losses on corn hedging. In calculating the net loss to common shareholders, $37.5 million in minority interest was eliminated.

Revenues totaled $90.5 million, including $77.5 million of ethanol sales and $13.0 million from distillers grain. An operating loss of $17.0 million was recorded during the quarter. This resulted from $103.8 million in cost of goods sold, including $74.4 million for corn, $11.5 million for natural gas, $2.1 million for denaturant, $2.8 million for electricity, $4.9 million spent on chemicals and enzymes, along with $5.8 million of general operating expense and $2.3 million of depreciation. Finally, $2.5 million of selling, general and administrative expenses and $1.3 million on other operating expenses were incurred. In addition, $1.1 million representing all remaining site development costs associated with prospective plants was written off and that loss was included in operating expenses. During the quarter, the Company had $1.6 million in interest expense and $2.1 million in other non-operating expenses, offset by $100,000 in interest income. In summary, a net loss of $20.6 million before minority interest would have been recorded in the absence of hedging losses.

As previously reported, the sharp decline in corn prices between July 1, 2008 and August 11, 2008 resulted in $46.0 million in realized and unrealized hedging losses as of that date. Once the last of the hedging contracts were terminated in September, the realized loss totaled $39.9 million. Including reversal of $10.1 million of unrealized hedging gains at June 30th, hedging losses in the quarter totaled $50.0 million. As of the date of this release, $17.5 million relating to these losses remain payable to Cargill. The Company is exploring with Cargill how the matter might be resolved.

The Company's plants in Wood River, Nebraska and Fairmont, Minnesota commenced operation in June. Consequently, the third quarter represented the plants' first full quarter of commercial operations. The plants each have an annual nameplate capacity of 115 million gallons of fuel grade ethanol. During the quarter, the plants ran at an average of 62.5% of capacity. In October, 75% of capacity was achieved and average run rates continue to improve. While a number of construction and reliability issues remain challenging, the Company expects to reach full capacity operation by year-end. Cargill supplies the plants' corn requirements and markets their ethanol and distillers grain output.

Through September 30, 2008, a total of $320.4 million had been spent on construction of the Wood River and Fairmont facilities, excluding capitalized interest. Of the total, $272.0 million had been incurred under turnkey construction contracts with TIC. Of this amount, $13.5 million or 5% is being retained until completion. A further $48.4 million has been spent directly by the Company. Based on remaining amounts due TIC and the estimated cost to complete construction being performed by the Company, a further $6 to $8 million is expected to be expended on the plants subsequent to quarter-end.

In the third quarter, the Company borrowed $7.5 million under its construction loan and $10.0 million under its working capital facility. At September 30, 2008, amounts outstanding included $179.5 million drawn under the construction loan, $10.0 million borrowed on the working capital facility and $20.0 million of subordinated debt. Of the $30.5 million still available under the construction loan facility, $13.0 million is reserved to fund a debt service reserve and $13.5 million to pay retainage. At of September 30, 2008, the Company held $19.6 million of cash and equivalents, stockholders' equity totaled $86.7 million and minority interest totaled $30.6 million.

Given the open issues relating to amounts due Cargill, the Company did not make the $767,000 scheduled interest payment on its subordinated debt on September 30th. Because that interest was not paid, the interest rate on the subordinated debt increased from 15% to 17% effective October 1st.

Commenting on the quarter's results, Scott H. Pearce, the Company's President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We were extremely disappointed with third quarter results. Despite the exceptional decline in the corn market during the period, we should never have allowed the Company to be exposed to that degree of hedging loss. In addition, our operating losses resulted largely from the continuing delay in having our plants up and running at capacity. During the quarter, we made considerable headway, but progress has been much slower than expected. At this stage, we are single mindedly focused on getting the plants commissioned and operating at full capacity on a reliable basis."

Remarking on the production issues at both plants, Daniel J. Simon, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, said, "Despite being well behind our original schedule, our operations teams have made good progress toward reaching reliable commercial production rates at both sites. We hope to reach full capacity by year-end. The largest remaining obstacle is ensuring efficient and consistent operation of the dryers which handle much of our output of distillers grain. Our contractors, vendors, and production staff are all working around the clock to complete a long list of improvements and repairs required to reach our goal. All parties are confident we will reach nameplate capacity by year-end despite continuing obstacles."

The Company plans to host a conference call on Friday, November 14, 2008 beginning at 11:00 a.m. (EST) to discuss the results. To participate, please dial (800) 944-8766. The participant code for the call is 42537. Approximately 90 minutes following the call, a phone playback will be available for 30 days by dialing (866) 281-6782. The access code for the replay is 159564.

This release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal securities laws. Such statements are based on management's current expectations, estimates and projections, which are subject to a wide range of uncertainties and business risks. Forward-looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether, or the times by which, our performance or results may be achieved. Factors that could cause actual results to differ from those anticipated are discussed in our Exchange Act filings and our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
BioFuel Energy currently has two 115 million gallons per year ethanol plants in the Midwestern corn belt. The Company's goal is to become a leading ethanol producer in the United States by acquiring, developing, owning and operating ethanol production facilities.

Contact: Kelly G. Maguire For more information:
Vice President - Finance &
Chief Financial Officer
(303) 640-6500

BioFuel Energy Corp.
(in thousands, except per share amounts)

Three Months Ended Nine Months Ended
Summary Income Statement September 30, September 30,
(unaudited) 2008 2007 2008 2007
Net sales $90,549 $- $90,841 $-
Cost of goods sold 103,765 - 104,021 -
Gross profit (loss) (13,216) - (13,180) -
Selling, general and
administrative expenses:
Compensation expense 1,115 1,395 6,560 4,011
Other 1,353 1,249 8,408 2,558
Other operating expense 1,345 - 1,345 -
Operating loss (17,029) (2,644) (29,493) (6,569)
Interest income 135 855 987 1,068
Interest expense (1,632) - (1,632) -
Other non-operating
expense (2,123) - (1,785) -
Loss on derivative
financial instruments (49,992) - (39,912) -
Loss before minority
interest (70,641) (1,789) (71,835) (5,501)
Minority interest 37,493 821 37,856 4,092
Net loss (33,148) (968) (33,979) (1,409)
Beneficial conversion
charge - - - (1,327)
Net loss to common
shareholders $(33,148) $(968) $(33,979) $(2,736)

Loss per share - basic $(2.18) $(0.06) $(2.23) $(0.30)
Loss per share - diluted $(2.18) $(0.06) $(2.23) $(0.30)

Weighted average shares
Basic 15,210 15,235 15,250 9,069
Diluted (a) 15,210 15,235 15,250 9,069

Additional operational
data (unaudited)
Ethanol sold (gallons, in
thousands) 35,599 35,599
Dry distillers grain sold
(tons, in thousands) 68.7 68.7
Wet distillers grain sold
(tons, in thousands) 83.4 89.9
Average price of ethanol
sold (per gallon) $2.20 $2.20
Average price of dry
distillers grain sold (per
ton) $149.22 $149.22
Average price of wet
distillers grain sold (per
ton) $38.99 $39.63
Average corn cost (per
bushel) $5.36 $5.45

September December
Summary Balance Sheet 30, 31,
(unaudited) 2008 2007

Cash and equivalents $19,641 $55,987
Accounts receivable 18,727 -
Inventories 17,066 -
Prepaid expenses 1,415 194
Other current assets 953 -
Property, plant and
equipment, net 321,491 276,785
Certificates of deposit 4,002 2,155
Debt issuance costs, net 8,205 8,852
Other assets 683 126
Total assets $392,183 $344,099

Total current liabilities $68,627 $24,814
Senior debt, net of
current portion 181,022 102,440
Subordinated debt, net of
current portion 20,000 20,000
Tax financing, net of
current portion 5,121 5,823
Derivative financial
instrument, net of
current portion - 525
Other liabilities 102 27
Total liabilities 274,872 153,629

Minority interest 30,583 68,799
Stockholders' equity 86,728 121,671
Total liabilities and
stockholders' equity $392,183 $344,099

Total shares outstanding
at November 12, 2008 (b) 32,601,204

(a) Diluted shares are not utilized in the GAAP loss per share
calculation as they are anti-dilutive.
(b) Includes common shares and class B common shares, net of 809,606
shares held in treasury.

SOURCE BioFuel Energy Corp.

Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pacific Ethanol Performance Underscores Ethanol Debacle

The performance of Pacific Ethanol (PEIX) in the third quarter underscores the debacle that the ethanol industry is in the United States.

Losses for the company widened by an extraordinary amount, surging to $54.9 million, or 98 cents a share, in contrast to the same quarter last year where losses were at $4.8 million.

This happened while revenue increased to $184 million, up from $118.1 million last year. Analysts were looking for revenue to reach $218.6 million. The 98 cents a share was also far higher than the 16 cents a share analysts expected.

It's time to end government subsidies and end the ethanol fiasco in the U.S. Even with subsidies the industry isn't viable, and saying cellulosic ethanol is the answer is wrong as well, as it costs far more to produce than the corn-based ethanol we're now producing.

Friday, November 7, 2008

SunOpta BioProcess Cellulosic Ethanol Joint Venture Receives $1 Million Minnesota NextGen Grant

MINNETONKA, Minn., Nov 6, 2008 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- SunOpta Inc. (SunOpta or the Company) (STKL) (CA:SOY) today announced that Central Minnesota Cellulosic Ethanol Partners (CMCEP) received notification from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture that it has been awarded an approximately $1 million NextGen matching grant for support of the project entitled "Second Phase Feasibility Study and Detailed Engineering for Commercial 10 Million Gallon Per Year Cellulosic Ethanol Plant." CMCEP is a joint venture between Central MN Ethanol Co-op, Bell Independent Power Corporation (BIPC), and SunOpta BioProcess Inc. (SBI), a subsidiary of SunOpta. Each partner is a one-third owner of the previously announced CMCEP joint venture.

The feasibility study is anticipated to lead to design and construction of the first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol production facility in Minnesota. The proposed facility will be sited adjacent to CMEC's existing 21.5 million gallon starch-to-ethanol plant in Little Falls, MN. Cellulosic ethanol will be produced primarily from wood chips from poplar as well as other cellulose-containing materials utilizing SBI's proprietary fiber preparation and pre-treatment technology. The facility will also provide for co-generation of electricity based on a BIPC-engineered system.

SBI President Murray Burke commented, "We are grateful to Governor Tim Pawlenty and Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson for their foresight in recognizing the tremendous potential for commercial cellulosic ethanol production in the State of Minnesota. Because it uses only inedible plant fibers, cellulosic ethanol offers a viable source of clean, renewable energy with no negative impact on the food supply and pricing. SBI wishes to recognize the State of Minnesota for its support of innovative technologies that have the ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, enhance rural economic vitality, and reduce dependence on foreign oil."
The NextGen Energy Board was established in 2007 by Governor Pawlenty and the Minnesota Legislature to implement an ambitious program for "Next Generation Energy" in Minnesota. These goals include a target for 25 percent of all Minnesota's energy to be derived from renewable resources by 2025 and the establishment of targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 (from a 2005 baseline) with interim reduction milestones for intervening years. The NextGen grant follows a $100,000 matching grant awarded to the CMCEP venture on May 12, 2008 from Minnesota's Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) for initial phase work.

About SunOpta BioProcess Inc. and SunOpta BioProcess USA Inc.

SunOpta BioProcess Inc. is a leader in the design, construction and optimization of biomass conversion process technologies, equipment and facilities. With over 30 years experience in delivering biomass solutions worldwide, SBI combines its applications expertise with innovative, patented, and proprietary technologies to produce cellulosic ethanol, cellulosic butanol, xylitol, and dietary fiber for human consumption. The company is currently designing and supplying equipment and process technology to pilot and commercial demonstration cellulosic ethanol projects worldwide. SBI intends to build, own and/or co-own commercial scale cellulosic ethanol production facilities. SBI operates in Minnesota via its wholly-owned subsidiary SunOpta BioProcess USA Inc., based in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food and natural health markets. The Company has three business units: the SunOpta Food Group, with 10 facilities employing over 500 people in Minnesota, specializing in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through packaged products; Opta Minerals Inc. (CA:OPM: news, chart, profile) (66.6% owned by SunOpta), a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally-friendly industrial materials; and SunOpta BioProcess Inc. with its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary SunOpta BioProcess USA Inc. which engineers and markets proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the bio-fuel, pulp and food processing industries. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.

About Central MN Ethanol Co-op

Central MN Ethanol Co-op (CMEC) is a majority farmer-owned Minnesota cooperative which operates a 21.5 million gallon per year corn starch-to-ethanol plant in Little Falls, Minnesota. The plant is located 30 miles north of St. Cloud and has been in continuous operation since 1999. For more information, visit

About Bell Independent Power Corporation

Bell Independent Power Corp is focused on developing renewable fuel alternatives to traditional gas and electric supplies including expertise in the production of green energy and carbon neutral technologies. BIPC's mission is to be a leader in the energy industry through the acquisition of under-performing energy assets as well as the development of new technologies. These assets and technologies are enhanced through BIPC's research and development programs. In addition, BIPC's in-house expertise to successfully engineer, finance, build, operate, and maintain these development projects result in low cost energy programs for BIPC's customers. The BIPC team has expertise in all stages of the utility industry, including, but not limited to, design, project management, cost control, contracting, budgeting, and management.

Forward-looking Statements

Certain statements included in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, references to the expected results related to the future growth and strategies of the business. These forward looking statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company in light of its experience and its interpretation of current conditions, historical trends and expected future developments as well as other factors that the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstance.

However, whether actual results and developments will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including without limitation the expected results related to the joint venture relationships identified above, results of which may be beyond the control of the Company.

Consequently all forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized.

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire,

SOURCE: SunOpta Inc.
SunOpta Inc.
Jeremy N. Kendall, Chairman
Steve Bromley, President & CEO
John Dietrich, Vice President & CFO
Tony Tavares, Chief Operating Officer
Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer
905-455-2528, ext 103

(C) Copyright 2008 GlobeNewswire, Inc. All rights reserved

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So much for change! Obama to follow same failed ethanol policy as Bush

We now see the first step in change Obama will perform in his new administration, he will keep the failed ethanol policy of President Bush in place. Wait! Change? What's this?

It's politics as usual in Washington, and things aren't going to change in spite of this being the most "important" election in decades.

Obama has already confirmed this through his announcement via his campaign senior energy adviser Heather Zichal, who recently said concerning Obama's policy for ethanol: "Obama recognizes how important the renewable and biofuels industry is to creating jobs and meeting our goal of reducing dependence on foreign oil. He's fully committed to it and sees tremendous value in the renewable fuels standard and continuing down this path."

Yawn. I guess the food riots will continue around the world, and feed prices rise as we continue along this disastrous path.

Even though the idea of cellulosic ethanol was offered up as the eventual future of the biofuel, the truth about it at this time is it costs about twice as much to produce as corn-based ethanol, and it's many years away from being ready for use, if it ever is.

When subsidies and tariffs can't even make an industry succeed, it's far past time to change directions and admit mistakes. To continue to pour billions down this rabbit hole is irresponsible at best.

One major reason for Obama is his home state of Illinois is the second-largest producer of ethanol, and he also was rewarded by Iowa on his presidential run. He wouldn't dare to the right thing by ending this travesty, as he would pay for it in four years.

Business as usual in Washington.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monsanto Acquires Brazil's "Aly Participacoes" Eyeing Sugarcane for Ethanol

With demand for sugarcane starting to outstrip production, Monsanto (MON) has acquired Brazilian-based Aly Participacoes Ltda. in order to work on producing sugarcane seeds that will be much higher-yielding than present stocks.

Of course much of the demand for sugarcane has come about from the fixation of governments on using ethanol as a gas substitute, based on the non-factual idea of "peak oil." There's billions of barrels of oil available throughout the world, and even in the U.S. alone.

Most of this is ideologically driven, rather than based on facts.

While that's a misguided illusion, at the same time that illusion will stick around for some time until all that fails. So in that sense, this is a good investment for Monsanto, as the obsession with ethanol will continue based on unwarranted fears that are driving the fixation.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

VeraSun Energy Corp. May be Close to Declaring Bankruptcy

It's far past time to end the taxpayer subsidizing of the ethanol industry in America, as another big ethanol company is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy.

This time its VeraSun Energy Corp., based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which is close to declaring bankruptcy. The share price on Wednesday closed at a pathetic 49 cents a share, as they, along with many other ethanol companies, are quickly becoming insolvent.

As usual with government-sponsored companies, the management is horrible, and strategies employed with an eye toward being bailed out regardless of decisions or the marketplace.

When companies aren't allowed to fail, like in the current financial climate, all it does is regard terribly run companies with a safety mechanism that doesn't belong there.

In the past industries and companies were allowed to fail in order that the best-run companies emerge with the best products and services at the best price.

The foolishness of ethanol in America simply needs to be dropped and the market left to decide which way it wants to go. Most Americans want to drill for the proven reserves of billions of barrels of oil while we work on legitimate energy alternatives. Ethanol isn't one of them.

Update: VeraSun Files

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Ethanol Woes as 23 Illegals Arrested at Plant

The ethanol debacle continues to vomit up bad news, as at a Casselton, ND ethanol plant, 23 illegals from India were arrested. The illegals had phony social security cards and drivers licenses from other states.

At a hearing scheduled for Friday, the illegals will face charges of having counterfeit documents in their possession.

While the workers entered the country legally, they were here on short-term visas.

Managers for the Wanzek Construction company contacted authorities when they became suspicious of the workers status in the country.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Livestock Organizations Outraged Over Agriculture Secretary's Comments on Using USDA Loans for Ethanol Companies

It's almost unbelievable that Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said recently that he is considering using USDA loans to bailout the horribly run ethanol companies which are already pillaging taxpayer dollars in order to even launch or survive.

Now the reason they are whining for more money is they invested in corn futures. What are they doing investing in corn futures? They simply don't care.

In an extraordinarily stupid statement, Schafer said they "got away from their focus on producing ethanol and started speculating in the commodity markets. It's hurt them."

I can't think of anything more criminalizing than that statement. Now the Agriculture Secretary wants to do his part be bailing out the dubious corn-based ethanol industry? I don't think so.

The industry is worthless and a huge mistake. It's past time to abandon it, drop all subsidies, and let them all go out of business. It's already starting to happen, and it needs to be put to rest now.

To even consider helping these screwballs by offering them loans to cover their speculation in corn futures is outrageous at least, and potentially criminal.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Greater Ohio Ethanol Latest to File Bankruptcy in Ongoing Ethanol Debacle

Another company bites the dust in the continuing exposure of the ethanol debacle in the U.S. The latest casualty is the Greater Ohio Ethanol company, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

As usual with the ethanol hoax, people let their emotions get in the way of facts, and they make terrible decisions. Unfortunately it's creating a false hope in many communities across the country which were counting on it to make a difference in where they live.

In this particular case, the amount of water needed to make the fuel was seriously miscalculated by half of what is being used, and that has pretty much destroyed the project and the hopes of the people that were counting on it. This is becoming the story across numerous communities in the U.S.

While chapter 11 bankruptcy is initiated in order to attempt to reorganize, the sounds of this is another company has foolishly entered into the ethanol fray without the understanding of the high costs of ethanol.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weak Economy Exposes Ethanol Subsidy Debacle

Towns across America ran hard to partake in another government scheme to buy votes through offering subsidies for the production of ethanol.

Many buildings and plans are now sitting empty and idle, while a growing number are declaring bankruptcy, or are already in the process.

While mainstream media is in love with the industry, and refuses to point out the horrid effects the misguided effort has or will produce, that doesn't stop the realities of it from happening.

Many goofy liberals even tout it as patriotic. In reality it's not patriotic, it's idiotic. Not only that, even though it's increasingly apparent that it's a terrible idea and will have more negative impacts than positive, it's now becoming close to being embraced as a religion by liberals, and they are clinging to it like it's their god, rather than the folly it is.

The weak global and U.S. economy has exposed the weakness of the debacle, and that's the reason so many ethanol projects are shuttering their doors.

The reason it's faltering is that people couldn't care less about it, and are starting to understand the extraordinary costs related to forcing upon them.

A large number of these attempts have partly come from taxpayer money as well as subsidies, and that has in many cases been money thrown down the drain. It's past time for the government to be involved with this stupidity and let the market decide what type of fuel and energy they want to use.

For now, in America we have billions of barrels of oil available for use. We need to drill and retrieve that for our fuel before we do more stupid things that not only cost poor people around the world from soaring food costs, but the damage the pursuit is doing to the environment.

What's worse about all this is many small towns joined the bandwagon, hoping it would produce some jobs for the communities. Now they have empty buildings and ruined dreams as the fantasy of ethanol being some type of savior to the community has come crashing to the ground.

Yet in the midst of the government-induced economic crisis we're now in, they still hold to devastating and disastrous ideas that interfere in markets and destroy the lives of unsuspecting people.

Related Stories:

U.S. Ethanol Subsidies to Keep Food Prices High Everywhere

More Reasons to Drop the Ethanol Nonsense

Ethanol no more than Heavily Subsidized Cash Crop Supported by Powerful Lobby

Corn Farmers in Denial over Taking Responsibility for High Cost of Food

Is U.S. Government Responding Quickly Enough to the Ethanol Disaster?

Tensions Continue Building as Ethanol Continues to Cause Increase in Corn, Food Prices

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Agri-Ethanol Products Company Founders Indicted for Bribery, Extortion

The founders of Agri-Ethanol Products, Jim Perry and Dave Brady, have been indicted by a grand jury on a number charges.

Charges include conspiring to commit extortion and bribery, aiding and abetting extortion, and aiding and abetting bribery. Both men have also been charged with perjury in relationship to the case.

Evidently the two wanted to speed up the process of attaining permits from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and so allegedly offered a DENR employee $196,000 in exchange for moving things through quicker.

Boyce Allen Hudson, the DENR worker pleaded guilty in early 2008 to extortion and money laundering. He is currently serving a 40 month prison sentence.

The failed Agri-Ethanol Products company had original plans to build up to 20 ethanol plants along the East coast.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman Rejects Financing Ethanol Plant Citing "Conflict of Interest"

After a couple of years of time given to remove conflicts of interest, Show Me Ethanol LLC had its application for a loan rejected by the Missouri State Treasurers Office after failure to comply. The loan requested was for between $2 to $6 million through the linked deposit program called Big Missouri.

The purpose of the Big Missouri program is to lend funds to small businesses at low interest rates to give them a good shot at growth.

Treasurer Sarah Steelman's spokeswoman said that they weren't able to figure out what type of involvement a company called Central Missouri Biofuels had in the matter.

The conlict of interest exists because state Rep. John Quinn and the brother of Gov. Matt Blunt are investors in Show Me Ethanol, and it couldn't be determined what type of role they had in Central Missouri Biofuels.

While Quinn was whining about the decision, it makes sense to keep oneself out of these types of situations where they could come back and bite you.

As for Steelman, she has always had a zero-tolerance policy towards these types of situations.

When the process began, lawmakers or relatives weren't allowed to benefit from assistance from the state. This year there was a change in policy so that they could invest up to 2% in companies that receive grants or loans from the state.

Even though they are allowed to legally do it, it's still unethical. The mischieve that could come from granting taxpayers money to dubious ethanol projects is too great to allow lawmakers or their relatives to financially benefit from the public loans.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Reasons to Free us from the Ethanol Devil

The growing number of reasons to drop ethanol and its government subsidies continues to reveal the utter stupidity of pursuing ethanol as a significant source of renewable fuel.

As people continue to deconstruct the arguments made in favor of ethanol, it's getting clearer and clearer it's an initiative pushed by special interest groups who created fear of foreign energy dependency at the cost of sanity.

While we obviously need to look at real alternatives in the years ahead, we are far from being in some type of serious trouble, as the billions of barrels of oil under American soil, as well as under its oceans attest to.

Environmentalists and opportunist have created this false problem by panicking people into believing we're on the cusp of a worldwide disaster, when in reality there's enough oil to last for decades ... if not longer.

Recent discoveries in Brazilian waters, along with the huge oil deposits in the Canadian oil sands are also proof of the need to slow down and take into account all the effects and unintended consequences that always accompany decisions that are motivated by fear and political expediency.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

U.S. Ethanol Subsidies to Keep Food Prices High Everywhere

The outrageous subsidy for corn-based ethanol in the U.S. continues to batter consumers across the world, as even though other commodities have been dropping, food prices are expected to stay the same, and in a number of cases - rise.

For retail food prices in the U.S., they have been growing at a 6 percent rate this year, in contrast to the regular inflation rate at about 2 percent.

With irresponsible politicians and ongoing ignoring of stories like this by the mainstream media, the cost of food items related to corn price increases like chicken, beef and pork are projected to continue rising for the immediate future. The majority of that related to the misguided and terrible idea of subsidizing big corporate corn farmers so it can look like the government is doing something related to energy.

The disaster will continue until the story is continually reported on and the reality of the consequences understood by the public.

The next meat to be affected will be chicken, which so far producers haven't passed on the higher feed costs to consumers, but Bill Roenigk, senior vice president of the National Chicken Council said that's all about to change.

"From a consumer standpoint, more and more of these feed costs are going to be passed on and that means higher prices at the supermarket," said Roenigk.

All this because of the usual pressure from special interest groups with an agenda, as well as a government that continues to pass themselves off as the big daddy of the universe. Until this attitude is reined in, Americans and people around the world will continue to suffer from the continual rise in food prices.

Just like we need to drill for the billions of barrels of oil on American soil or it's coastlines, so we need to stop this outrageous subsidy that is helping no one but the huge corporate corn farmers in America, as well as some landowners cashing in on rising farmland prices.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Reasons to Drop the Ethanol Nonsense

As Kenneth P. Green wrote in a recent article concerning ethanol, we need to adapt a new slogan: "Ethanol: Drink It, Don't Drive It."

He offers a number of reasons increasingly understood as to why we need to drop this disastrous policy and taxpayer subsidy for corn-based, or any other type of ethanol, encouraged for the dubious reason of being energy independent, creating jobs, lowering gasoline prices and reducing the non-existent global warming.

The truth is, other than the corn industry, nobody is really prospering from this misguided government policy set up to make it look like something's being done. I guess people deserve it for making big government their god.

Other possibilities like making use of switch grass or other cellulosic crops to produce ethanol would "increase greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent compared to using regular gasoline."

Whether or not increasing greenhouse gas emissions is really bad for the planet, using the standards of those promoting ethanol as the answer, it is a negative.

Anyway, go here to get a number of reasons this needs to be stopped ASAP.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Moronic EPA Rejects Ethanol Waiver Request of Texas Governor Rick Perry

As Texas Governor Rick Perry said in response to the idiotic decision by the EPA to refuse an ethanol waiver, "Congress specifically created an emergency waiver provision for situations like these and EPA refuses to implement it."

In the latter part of April, Perry asked the EPA for a 50 percent waiver on the so-called Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which artificially forces about 9 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be added to U.S. gasoline supplies on a yearly basis. Next year it'll rise to 11.1 billion gallons.

It's caused huge food problems around the world, and has significantly impacted the price of food in the U.S., as prices continue to rise.

According to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, the agency denied the waiver because it did not find it caused "severe economic harm."

I wonder if he knows how stupid that sounds? He's basically acknowledging it's causing harm, but as long it's not "severe," it's ok. Screwball!

The only recognition that it's causing higher prices was that it has in the EPA's terms it is only adding 7 cents to each bushel of corn.

While that could be disputed, even if it's true, you add that to the number of bushels sold and it's significant. But that's far from the whole story, and Johnson and the EPA know it. There are huge residual effects not talked about, like the cost of feed and seed, which adds to the price of various meats. Even more significantly, the increasing use of acreage for corn is causing less acreage to grow other crops, which is also raising their prices.

The cost of ethanol is huge, and largely not worth the effort. It's already seen as a disaster in the making, and the usual good intentions of government interference in the free market is again rearing its ugly head, as people pay the price of lawmakers' folly.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Archer Daniels Midland Co. Acknowledges Slowdown in Agricultural Products, Especially Ethanol-related

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is the third-largest ethanol producer in the U.S., and the slowing demand for corn-based ethanol has had a significant impact on the company's performance for the quarter. A number of producers have stopped or closed expansion plans in response to the falling demand. Corn prices have also responded accordingly, falling to four-month low of $5.3625 a bushel today.

John Rice, executive vice-president commercial and production, attempting to shore up the company's stock said he believes the price and demand pressures are largely limited to North America, citing Asian sales are continuing to grow; although he was thinking in terms of meat there rather than ethanol-related consumption.

But he also acknowledged the drop in demand for palm oil was also having a significant effect on the margins of the company.

Rice added concerning the growing push to offer waivers for the ethanol mandate as something he's not too worried about. "We're already blending over the mandate right now, so even if there is a waiver (from the federal mandate) we don't see ethanol demand slowing down," said Rice.

If this was only connected to waivers, I may agree with Rice, but there is a growing resistance to the subsidizing and encouragement of corn-based ethanol, and if it continues to grow, like it seems it will, we could see some significant changes in direction for that commodity. That could have adverse effects on ADM. Ethanol Fix of course hopes that happens, as it's doing much more harm than good.

As far as the share price of ADM, it has plummeted by 40 percent since May, as commodity price concerns continue to hammer the profits and growth of the company.

Profits in the fourth quarter fell by 61 percent for the company, as market demand for their products continued to fall.

Share price also missed analysts' expectations by a large margin, reaching only 58 cents a share, while analysts were looking for 67 cents a share. Net income came in at $372 million for the quarter ending June 30.

Revenue for the quarter did rise by $21.8 billion, with about 90 percent of that attributed to higher commodity prices and increased volumes.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Continues Battle Against Ethanol and Rising Feed Prices

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, still concerned about rising feed prices, continues his battle to pressure the federal government to cut ethanol production requirements in half.

Perry rightly notes that federal requirements to increase the ethanol mandate is "no longer a good idea. It's hurting America. It's hurting our families."

The high cost of corn-based ethanol has not only devasted the food industry for human consumption, but also the cost of feeding livestock, which of course also goes directly to consumers' pocketbooks.

There is growing opposition to the ill-advised Renewable Fuel Standard by just about everybody but those taking advantage of subsidies; including the corn growers.

The EPA administrator has the authority to dismiss the requirements after it consults with the Energy and Agriculture secretaries.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ethanol no more than Heavily Subsidized Cash Crop Supported by Powerful Lobby

So said one writer recently, and I think he's right.

While the usual proliferation of polls - that can no longer be trusted - have been recently thrown out as evidence the American people are behind the corn-based ethanol fiasco, it's only because of the way the poll is worded, as well as marketing campaigns from the dubious, but powerful corn lobby.

The rise in food prices directly related to the overgrowing and overuse of corn, has resulted in less acreage for other crops, and higher costs of seed as well. Some places in the world have dramatic food shortages as a result of this politically motivated, misguided policy.

Another less-than-honest reality is the performance of ethanol, which is far less productive than regular gasoline, and takes much more to make up the lower mileage difference ethanol gets.

As Bob Sommer, writing for Midwest Voices said, "... as long as every politician, Republican or Democrat, who sets foot in Iowa or Nebraska or any corn-producing state thinks the way to solve the energy and climate crises—and get elected in the bargain—is to drink the ethanol Kool-Aid, our future will look dim indeed."

Many of the polls I've seen in support of ethanol have come from ethanol-backed coalitions that have financial stakes in the continued tax-payer subsidy of the alternative fuel. Here's one as an example.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Corn Farmers in Denial over Taking Responsibility for High Cost of Food

In an extremely pathetic assertion, the president of the National Corn Growers Association, Rick Tolman, said this about rising food prices: "bottom line, there's been a very clever marketing disinformation campaign directed at bio fuels for those with deep pockets."

Here's this organization representing huge, corporate farmers, who are subsidized by taxpayer dollars saying other companies with a lot of money are spreading disinformation.

All these big corporate farmers are fighting is losing the tax dollars they're getting to grow corn that is causing a lot of pain in the pocketbook of consumers who don't only pay for it with their taxes, but worse, through higher food prices.

Corn-based ethanol is a debacle that needs to be stopped now. The assertion that cellulosic ethanol is going to be the answer is also smoke in the wind. Not only is it years away in coming, if it ever does, but it's also far more expensive than corn-based ethanol is.

What was thought to be a slam dunk by politicians, subsidy-loving corporate farmers and environmentalists, is now becoming a destructive power against human beings. It simply needs to be stopped and dropped right now!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Texas Governor Rick Perry Seeks U.S. Ethanol Cutback Waiver

Calling the ethanol mandate of the federal government "misguided," Texas Governor Rick Perry solicited the government for a waiver on the renewable fuel standard. He's asking for it to be cut in half for Texas.

"We're diversifying our state's energy portfolio at a rapid rate, but this misguided mandate is significantly affecting Texans' family food bill," Perry said.

He added: "The artificial demand for grain-derived ethanol is devastating the livestock industry in Texas and needlessly creating a negative impact on our state's otherwise strong economy while driving up food prices around the world."

This is what almost always happens when the government enters into the marketplace. Think of the term "good intentions," and then add "unintended consequences."

These are already destroying lives of people across the world, and riots are ensuing and the government of Haiti has already fallen in response to the fallout.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Is U.S. Government Responding Quickly Enough to the Ethanol Disaster?

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has finally commented on the ethanol disaster resulting from the corn subsidy's given to farmers to grow it.

He said the U.S. would be "moving away gradually" from corn-based ethanol development, although there is really no alternative, as far as ethanol goes as a biofuel, because cellulosic ethanol is still far too complicated and costly to be a viable alternative.

"The reason that cellulosic fuels like ethanol are not on the market in large volumes is not because we don't know how to make it in commercial quantities," Bodman said. "The production process at present is too complex and too costly, but I am confident that we can find the way forward."

The continuing discovery of oil, along with the new way oil may be produced, offers a much better future for energy than ethanol, or any other option at this time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tensions Continue Building as Ethanol Continues to Cause Increase in Corn, Food Prices

The misguided policy of artificially creating a legal level of ethanol biofuel use is reeking havoc across the world as food and meat prices continue to soar in response to the unintended consequences.

That's always the problem when fear and torment are used as tools to push through policies built upon personal agendas.

As Paul Haugens, vice-president for Newedge Trading said, "The food-versus-fuel battle is going to get bigger and it's a political year in the United States so I don't see anyone making any changes (to ethanol policy)."

Listening to the irresponsible comments by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer Tuesday confirms Haugens is right, as schafer said, "energy is the big issue as we look at those food prices."

No it's not! The subsidizing of growing corn for the pet ethanol project is by far the major reason for the increase in food prices across the world.

The impact of this policy is being called "a crime against humanity" by Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food; basing his assertion on the huge increase in food prices across the world.

Riots and protests are spreading globally, and the Haitian government was toppled last week because of when riots move senators in the country to fire the prime minister. It's going to get worse.

This foolish policy needs to be dropped now, as the growing number of oil discoveries show the hoax of Peak Oil is just that. There's no huge rush to get these things pushed through, as billions of barrels of oil have been discovered by Brazil, and new reserves in an area adjacent to the Canadian Sands could hold billions more. This doesn't include the billions awaiting to be taken out of the oil shales in the U.S.

Unfortunately, millions will suffer because of the newest government sponsorship of biofuels which are dubious at best, and deadly at worst.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ethanol News Weekend Roundup


Ethanol Being Blamed for Global Food Riots

New York Times columnist praised by Pulitzer board for 'clarity of vision' didn't foresee global food shortages that resulted from the realities of his vision.


Article off the mark about ethanol

I haven't found one peer-reviewed scientific journal says that corn ethanol is a source of green energy. The only scientist I can imagine saying ethanol is just fine is the one who works for an ethanol company.


'Closed-Loop' Ethanol Plant Plans On Hold

Plans for Dakota County, Nebraska's multi-million dollar "closed-loop" ethanol plant are "on hold".


Germany cancels plans to add ethanol to petrol

Amid growing fears that biofuel farming is harming the environment and driving up world food prices, Germany cancelled on Friday plans to mix more ethanol made from plants with petrol.


Ethanol is an environmental white elephant

I've read with interest the recent articles in the Times Union about ethanol. I was disappointed that you did not point out one fact that should raise much skepticism about the use of this product as a fuel: It produces about twice the carbon dioxide as simply burning the gasoline it replaces.


Ethanol pollution in Gulf of Mexico

While the search for alternative fuels is in full swing in many countries in order to reduce dependency on pollution causing conventional fuels an ironic situation is emerging where the rush in the United States to produce corn-based ethanol as an alternative fuel will likely worsen pollution in the Gulf of Mexico and expand the annual ‘dead zone.’


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Taxpayers Fork Out $82 Million to Range Fuels Inc. for Another Dubious Ethanol Project

More of our tax dollars are being wasted on another government-sponsored hope for utopia, as Range Fuels received $76 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, and another $6 million from the state of Georgia to help build its commercial cellulosic ethanol plant close to Soperton, Ga.

Some even have the nerve to call it "private funding." My question is: Where did the state of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Energy get their money from? So let's call it what it is: taxpayer funded.

Now the true private sector has also gotten involved, as Series B round of financing led by Passport Capital has landed another $130 million for the project.

All of this for an increasingly controversial, unproven source of bio-fuel, which is viewed by a growing number of people as causing more harm than good.

Concerning cellulosic ethanol, Range Fuels asserts its K2 process can use woody biomass for its source of ethanol, which uses 75 percent less water than corn-based ethanol. They also claim the K2 process yields far more ethanol per ton of biomass than biochemical processes.

They also say they will be able to produce ethanol at a cost far below the almost $2 per gallon it's currently produced for with corn ethanol production costs, as well as enzymatic processes.

Of course anyone can assert something in order to justify tax dollars being wasted on them.

The truth is the existing ethanol fiasco is already being discovered that it isn't worth the consequences and costs. This is why the government and others are desperately searching for an alternative before their failure is made open to the public.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Keeping up with Ethanol: News Around the Web

More on the high cost of Ethanol


Germany backs off biofuel plan

Germany's environment minister on Friday scrapped a plan to double the amount of ethanol that can be mixed into gasoline, saying that too many cars would be unable to cope with the change.


Downside of ethanol

As spring is here, we will soon see public service announcements on when to mow the grass and when to fill our vehicle gas tanks to reduce the pollutant ozone in our atmosphere.


Ethanol’s Unsexy Dilemma

Ethanol contains less energy than gasoline, meaning a car filled with ethanol gets fewer miles per gallon. Accounting for this energy difference, at the time of publishing, E85 was retailing for a nationwide average of $3.56 a gallon compared with $3.28 for regular gasoline, according to the Automobile Association of America.


Pacific Ethanol reports on losses, plans for 2008

The net loss for the company's fourth quarter of 2007 was $14.7 million, up from $3.1 million the previous year, the company reported. The loss came despite sales growing from $80 million in the fourth quarter of 2006 to $130 million during the same quarter of 2007.


Times Writers Group: Ethanol, not the greenest option

"It takes more energy to make than it produces!" "It's driving up food prices!" "It's government meddling in the market!" "Those crazy environmentalists want to force us all to buy ethanol!"


Against the grain: What are they thinking?

All that glitters is not gold. And all that grows is not green.

That is the belated realization about grain ethanol -- in fact, about any ethanol whose feedstock is grown on cropland. Joe Romm has done a good job posting on this issue, including his report on the recent studies featured in Science magazine. I'd like to weigh in with a few additional points.


Kernel of ethanol's problems

Ethanol producers looked for a great year as the price of gasoline rose, making it more profitable to produce. But, despite rising sales, Pacific Ethanol Inc. lost $14.4 million last year due to high prices for corn, low prices for ethanol and losses on derivatives.Higher corn yields, higher ethanol yields?


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The High Cost of Ethanol

Here's an excellent article on exposing the high cost of the government ethanol policy which may end up being one of the greatest mistakes in U.S. history.

As the writer says, "An unholy alliance of environmentalists, agribusiness, biofuel corporations and politicians" has been promoting the fuel as the answer to the alleged environmental problems which it will supposedly be the answer to.

The usual denial of the "unintended consequences is wreaking havoc on the economy, food production and, perhaps most ironically, the environment."

I've said it before on Ethanol Fix, that this is no longer related to science or environmental realities, rather it's being embraced as a religion that requires faith rather than objectivity.

Some of the huge problems related to ethanol:

Increased food prices

Subsidized Corn takes away acres from other crops, increasing those prices

Increased feed prices

Increased meat prices

Employee Layoffs

Plant Closings

Distribution Centers Closing

Pressure on water supply

Ethanol less productive than gasoline as fuel

Hurts environment

Hurts third world

Deforestation across the world

Destruction of wetlands

Destruction of grasslands

Destruction of species

Displacement of small farmers and indigienous peoples

Loss of habitats that store carbon

Razing of rain forests

Michael Grunwald, in the latest issue of Time magazine said it this way:

"Deforestation accounts for 20 percent of all current carbon emissions. So unless the world can eliminate emissions from all other sources — cars, power plants, factories, even flatulent cows — it needs to reduce deforestation or risk an environmental catastrophe. That means limiting the expansion of agriculture, a daunting task as the world's population keeps expanding. And saving forests is probably an impossibility so long as vast expanses of cropland are used to grow modest amounts of fuel. The biofuels boom, in short, is one that could haunt the planet for generations — and it's only getting started."

The so-called environmentalists are in reality backing and promoting the destruction of not only the environment, but more importantly: human beings.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ethanol Plant Planned for Albany with $350 Million Price Tag

Plans for a new ethanol plant is in the works for Port of Albany, which will cost as much as $350 million.

Developing the plant, which will be situated on 18 acres on the west bank of the Hudson River, will be Albany Renewable Energy LLC.

The company said the ethanol plant will be able to produce up to 110 million gallons of fuel yearly.

The project is awaiting permits from the state Department of Environmental Conservation before construction will be allowed to start. That will take anywhere from 6 to 12 months said officials from the company.

It's expected to be operational by the end of 2009.

Friday, March 28, 2008

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Is Ethanol Overrated? I think so!

Ethanol has two major factors to consider when looking at the overall industry.

One is to see it as a pure investment play, and no matter what you feel about how the industry has emerged, and some of the negative impacts it's already producing, it's still a legitimate business to you.

Second, is the way the industry has come about; whether it's really producing much benefit, is a true alternative fuel, and if in reality it can survive over the long haul.

To honestly study the industry, one must cut through a lot of misinformation and punditry to reach the facts; especially with proponents of the alternative fuel, who have close to a religious affiliation with it, to the point where to attack it is similar to attacking someone's true religious beliefs.

To me, we have to be willing to look at all aspects and sides of the industry to get a true picture of its long-term possibility as an investment, as well as if it has real possibilities in its present form to be both fuel and cost efficient.

The fact that it has to be subsidized with tax dollars to even be an industry, and mandated by law, shows the public in general doesn't care one way or the other if it is successful or used for fuel in the way proposed. It's obviously been used as a fuel additive for some time.

Now that it's causing major disruptions in the agriculture industry, and generating a lot of food inflation, people are already starting to question if it's worth the effort and cost; and rightly so.

It's the key source of inflation at the grocery store, and is having that impact all over the world. In other words, it's the poor people that will suffer again because of the unintended consequences that always come from government initiated programs like this.

Not only is there the artificial demand generated by the law to grow more corn to feed the ethanol beast, but it is causing wheat growers to move more corn into their fields, which is causing the price of wheat to rise because of a lower supply.

So, the idea is to look at these two sides of the issue as we go forward. Someone may invest in ethanol without necessarily believing it does any good - and even may cause more harm than any potential benefit - yet still make money because of the way the whole industry is set up.

At the same time, we can put it under the microscope and find out if it really is worth the time and effort to pursue. I personally think in the long term this is going to be another government program eventually dropped after billions of dollars are spent and lost because of someone bypassing the facts and turning it into a cause.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

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Ethanex - Kansas Ethanol Company - says will File for Bankruptcy

Saying they weren't able to secure interim financing to continue operations, Ethanex Energy (OTC BB: EHTE.OB) says it has plans to file for bankruptcy.

In a federal filing on March 24, the company stated they had ceased operating, and they now have a skeleton staff of three.

This effectively ends an agreement where they were going to buy an ethanol plant in Nebraska for $50 million, which is owned by Midwest Renewable Energy.

Ethanex needed $1.5 million in short-term financing to continue operating.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ethanol Continues to Victimize Consumers through Higher Grain Costs

The taxpayer subsidies included with producing ethanol continue to take their toll on consumers, as higher grain costs are impacting the prices of a number of goods; including cereal.

An AP report said: "The cost of grain has affected a number of companies, especially those that make cereals. Grain prices have skyrocketed largely due to demand for corn used to make the alternative fuel ethanol."

Company officials for General Mills (NYSE: GIS) said it was their highly successful marketing of over several product categories that helped them fend off the high grain cost directly connected to enthanol production. They were able to successfully raise their prices this quarter without a loss of sales generated.

I wonder how long it'll last before consumers rebel in this slowing economy?

One writer asks if it makes sense to increase consumer prices over producing ethanol, "which is a suspect alternative fuel that's being used to fight a suspect phenomenon, global warming. Legislators, together with environmentalists, have created global inflation, to fight a problem that some scientists don't think exists. Does that make sense?"

That's the question that needs to be answered. The religious-like devotion to ethanol by corn farmers, some environmentalists and politicians will make it a battle to find the real truth to the ethanol equation.

When people turn it into a "religous" fervor, it's hard to separate fact from fiction, as the emotions run high concerning the "green" god.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Truth and Consequences of Ethanol

As in global warming, much of the press coverage for ethanol has been highly one-sided, and not much of the other side of the story is being told.

I've included Ethanol Fix as part of the Commodity Network in order to give a more thorough view of the subject, and look at the potential positive and negative effects of it upon the world.

It's not the answer to oil that its proponents have been evangelizing about, as enormous problems remain to be solved, if they can be solved at all. Honest people have readily admitted that, while for others who it has almost become a religious crusade, won't admit anything is wrong with it, and make one excuse after another when confronted with the problems ethanol offers and faces.

So we'll do our best to show it in the light it's really in, and keep the demogoguery hopefully to a minimum.

This is too important and costly to just let slip through our fingers without rigorous and honest research and input into the field.

To that end, welcome to Ethanol Fix, which so far in the real world, isn't a reality.