Potential Infrastructure Constraints on Current Corn-Based and Future Biomass Based U.S. Ethanol Production
Staff General Research Papers Archive from Iowa State University, Department of Economics
Rapid growth in fuel ethanol production in the U.S. will create pressure on infrastructure both in the near term and the longer term. Currently the vast majority of fuel ethanol produced is grain based with corn based feedstocks dwarfing the quantity of all other grain feedstocks. In the future it is expected that biomass based ethanol production will also develop using crop residues and other cellulosic feedstocks including switchgrass, woody plants and woodchip by-products from lumbering activities. Public and private investments are now being made in research and development for both crop residue and other biomass based feedstocks for ethanol production. Several pilot projects for plant scale production are already in progress. This paper will: (a) Summarize some of the major impacts rapid growth in the corn based ethanol (CE) production is now having on infrastructure in the Midwestern corn producing states. (b) Examine some of the likely infrastructure needs that might be expected to occur as a consequence of the future development of biomass based ethanol (BE) production.
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