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County needs to develop ethanol policy, says consultant

Thursday, August 17, 2006

By FRANK PHILLIPS

frankphi@hotmail.com

Clay County needs to develop a policy to decide "what you are going to do if an ethanol plant pops up," Economic Development Specialist Jim Coffenberry told the Clay County Economic Redevelopment Commission Wednesday.

An unnamed group at Clay City is interested in starting an ethanol or biodiesel operation if they can received help and State Sen. John Waterman is interested, Coffenberry said.

Biodiesel may be more feasible for Clay County than ethanol, he said.

A big problem with ethanol is the cost of production and distribution, Coffenberry said.

Usually, the corn waste product from ethanol manufacturing is used as a cattle feed, therefore ethanol plants should be located near cattle operations to minimize transportation costs.

The current process of producing ethanol destroys much of the nutrient value of the corn by-product through distillation, said commission member Brian Wyndham. If more of the nutrients can be saved, it's possible the corn residue could be sold for more money. Until value is added to the ethanol process, it won't be economically feasible, Wyndham said.

Ethanol is 85 percent of the E-85 fuel becoming available at gas stations. Only engines made to use E-85 can burn that fuel.



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