What do the numbers reveal about where the ethanol industry stands in Indiana? Roz Leeck, Biofuels director for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, recently gave an update based upon a survey that the group conducts to keep a handle on where the ethanol industry has been, and where it's going. Leeck previously was part of the staff at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.
The most recent update to the original study shows that 13 facilities produced 1,126 billion gallons of ethanol in Indiana. The direct investment in ethanol facilities in Indiana stands at 1.5 billion. Indiana produces 7.7% of the ethanol produced nationally, ranking as the fifth largest producer of ethanol amongst all states, Leeck says.
What's more, the industry pays taxers. The latest update to the survey showed that the ethanol industry pays $47 million in state and local taxes each year.
Ethanol plants buy up 40% of the corn produced in Indiana. However, since 30% of what's back goes back to farms in the form of DDGS for the livestock industry, the net amount of Indiana corn is about 30% of what's grown in the state. One of the concerns about ethanol plants raised in some circles has been about water use in the production process. The data says there has been a large reduction in the amount of water plants are using due to improvements in the manufacturing process and changes in how water is handled in the plants.
The Indiana Corn Marketing Council is serious about helping get more ethanol blending pumps around the state so consumers have more choices, Leeck says. Blender pumps give a choice for drivers between the 10% ethanol fuel that goes into almost all cars vs. the E-85 ethanol that can only be used in flex-fuel vehicles. Leeck sees more 20% and 30% ethanol blends becoming available soon around the state. Currently, ICMC has allocated funds in the form of grants and approved installation of ethanol blending pumps at 19 additional locations within the state. That will mean 23 more pumps that can dispense various ethanol blends to consumers. You still need flex-fuel vehicles to use these pumps, she notes.