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California's big new ethanol plant


California biofuel supplier Pacific Ethanol Inc. on Friday launched its newest plant at the Port of Stockton amid a throng of dignitaries and well-wishers. The facility can make up to 60 million gallons of the corn-based biofuel per year, making it the largest of the state's five operating ethanol plants.

The Sacramento-based company expects the facility to process 21 million bushels of corn a year, and hopes 20% of that will be grown locally, which would reduce corn imports from the Midwest. In addition to ethanol, the $150-million plant will produce 500,000 tons of wet distillers grain for local dairies to use as feed.

California's gasoline contains nearly 6% ethanol, amounting to about 1 billion gallons a year. Pacific says it supplies about 20% of that, through in-state production and imports. State regulators have approved a new fuel formula that would include 10% ethanol in California gasoline beginning in 2010.

Corn-based ethanol remains a hotly debated subject, but even with its flaws, it is arguably preferable to gasoline, which spews asthma-causing particulates and smog-producing gases.

And it is still the only biofuel available today that's capable of displacing large amounts of gasoline in our existing cars and trucks. It's telling that oil refiner Valero Energy Corp. recently lamented that U.S. gasoline demand was down 1.5%, but because of ethanol blending, consumption of the raw gasoline blendstock had actually dropped 3%.

Critics are pushing for other fuels, such as cellulose-derived ethanol, which would dodge the food-versus-fuel fury by not using corn. Pacific's new corn-processing plant earned more than $600,000 in Pacific Gas & Electric rebates because it built in more efficient lighting and motors, heat recovery devices, and other energy-saving technologies. By selling wet distillers grain locally, it eliminated an energy-intensive drying process and reduced transportation-related emissions.

A host of California companies are pressing ahead with what could be better technologies and processes, among them BlueFire Ethanol and Primafuel Inc. What's more, California's low-carbon fuel standard will measure the full environmental impact of the entire menu of fuels -- and only those that can ratchet down their carbon footprint along with the state's requirements will survive here. The still-evolving rules could go into effect in 2010.

-- Elizabeth Douglass

Photo: Pacific Ethanol plant manager Lyndon Jones, right, consults with scheduler Glenn Palso Friday at the Stockton facility. Credit: Phil Di Marino/ColorNet Inc., for Pacific Ethanol.

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There is emerging technology developing as we speak. Hydrogen Hybrid. This will generate 0 emissions, clean the combustion engine,more horsepower, and add up to 50% fuel savings. This is a win win situation towards the elimination of green house gases and lessen our dependence on foerign oil. contact me if you would require further info.
We need to wake up and take control of our planet. Keep corporate greed to minimum. Change is on the way!!!
P.S. those guys with the muscle cars in your garage, you can adopt this system and retain and or gain more horsepower.

Unfortunate, history once again repeats itself. Distilled grain leftovers from creating another form of alcohol - whiskey - was feed to dairy cows is abundance from the late 1800's until the 1920's. The results were horrifying - diseased cows and milk that was unfit for human consumption. This milk was called "swill milk". Eventually in the 1930's government regulations brought this under control, but now we are being confronted with the exact same problem. Corporate greed once again rules the land and makes the profits of a few more important than the health of many. For more information please see:

Many farmers are using marginal lands, i.e., land unfit to grow food for consumption, to cultivate biofuel feedstock.

Sugar can is expensive, since it is used for refined sugar. Feedstock costs are a key component of the cost of biofuels.

Unfortunately Corn-based ethanol is not preferable to gasoline, because it is bad for global warming according to several reports in Scienc magazine this year. See shocking video at:

It is really lame to use corn for ethanol production. If sugar including sugar cane was used, it would have less impact on food prices; manufactures would also have less incentive for adding sugar to foods.


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