Corn prices are on their way down and starting to stabilize, and tight-budgeted corn ethanol plants are starting let the air out of their lungs a little. With no rain for crops and a whole lot to skittish speculators, corn prices skyrocketed the last few months, leaving ethanol plants to struggle with making any sort of profit or getting any sort of financing from banks. But with prices coming down, plants are slowly picking up, including VeraSun Energy Corp whose
While the average price for a bushel of corn during the last 15 years was $2.25 to $2.35, during 2008 the prices spiked to as much as $7 during July, creating widespread doubt as to the usefulness of corn as ethanol and making big investors ditch the scene. Lower prices are great for the corn ethanol plants, yet aren’t great for farmers who already can’t make enough money from corn to get ahead from year to year – a further black underline that corn is not a solution for ethanol production despite new improvements to the process.
Even Mark Luitjens, an ethanol consultant in the industry since 1992, says that other biomass sources from ethanol can be pursued, such as corn cobs, wood waste and household waste – and some corn ethanol companies are expanding to include cellulosic ethanol plants in their line-up, while other companies are already opening commercial-scale plants – but ethanol is not the end-all-be-all answer for our fuel needs.
"Ethanol is probably not the solution for our energy needs, but it is part of the solution. We are going to need a lot of energy in the future -- solar, wind, nuclear and hydro, too -- whatever we can make.” Luitjens said. EcoGeek reaction to statement: Duh + Amen.