Indiana corn checkoff works to expand markets for ‘home-grown’ ethanol - Indiana Corn and Soy

Indiana corn checkoff works to expand markets for ‘home-grown’ ethanol

Posted: August 14, 2022
Category: ICGA, ICMC, Indiana Corn and Soybean Post - Summer 2022, ISA, News

Domestic, or home-grown, sources of fuel are critical when prices at the gas pump are rapidly rising. The more fuel that can be developed in our own country, the lower those prices will go. No fuel is more “homegrown” than the ethanol that is grown in the cornfields of Indiana and around America.

According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), ethanol for the past few weeks has been selling for $1.50 less per gallon than gasoline at the wholesale terminals where gasoline is blended. E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol with 15 percent gasoline. Starting June 1, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the year-round sales of E15, also known as Unleaded 88, which is a blend of 15 percent ethanol with 85 percent gasoline.

RFA CEO Geoff Cooper said blending more low-cost fuel with gasoline will result in a lower pump price for finished fuel. “We’re certainly seeing that at retail stations across the country,” Cooper said. “The lowest-priced fuel available anywhere in the country today is going to be the fuel with the most ethanol in it, and right now that’s E85. But even with E15 blends, we’re seeing those priced 30 cents, 40 cents per gallon less than E10 – and often 60-80 cents below the cost of gasoline without ethanol.”

Ethanol-blended gasoline is also good for the environment. The American Lung Association reports that ethanol improves air quality by replacing some the most harmful components in gasoline. This results in 43 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.

Indiana ranks as the fifth-largest producer of U.S. ethanol – generating more than 1.2 billion gallons per year. A 15th ethanol plant will go online in Indiana in 2023, and the Hoosier State produces 8.1 percent of the total U.S. ethanol output. Collectively, these ethanol plants consume nearly 47 percent of Indiana’s total corn crop – more than 461 million bushels.

Encouraging ethanol exports

The Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC) has several programs designed to promote the use and production of ethanol. Encouraging ethanol exports to global customers is among those programs.

In May, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) collaborated with ICMC to host a group of key ethanol stakeholders and influencers in the USGC’s emerging ethanol market development countries to visit the United States and attend the Indianapolis 500-mile race. The purpose of the joint program was to promote ethanol’s economic and environmental benefits and enhance the relationship of the U.S. ethanol industry with key ethanol stakeholders globally.

Members of the ICMC and USGC tours at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pose in front of the Arrow McLaren SP racing team’s pit area for a photo.

“The Indianapolis 500 is an internationally known event, and it’s right here in our backyard in Indiana,” said ICMC Board Director and USGC Vice President Joshua Miller, a farmer from Anderson, Ind. “With the cars on the track using ethanol, we can clearly tell the story of how ethanol is good for engines and better for the environment than gasoline alone. We were very happy to tell this story and host these stakeholders from around the world.”

These stakeholders were from Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. Upon arriving in Indiana, the stakeholders had the opportunity to meet with several drivers competing in the race.

“The Indy 500 was an innovative opportunity to show the benefits of ethanol within the racing industry,” said Joana Hassan, USGC manager of global ethanol programs. “Participants were intrigued to hear IndyCar drivers talk about the engine performance and safety ethanol provides as a racing fuel.”

After visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ICMC hosted an educational session on ethanol blending and its benefits. The group heard from many speakers including Casey’s Fuels Director Jake Comer, Indy’s Garage CEO Mark Bayles, Shift-S3ctor racing CEO Jason Huang, Pearson Fuels Head of Training and Supply Tim Kjosness, and eFlexFuel Technology executives Tuomo Isokivijarvi and Juha Honkasalo. The presentations facilitated technical conversations about best practices for ethanol blending among participants from the various countries.

Face-to-face connections are crucial in enhancing the USGC’s mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives. By welcoming this team of foreign buyers and stakeholders to the States, the Council was able to showcase the high-quality commodities it represents and relationships it has with growers and industry representatives across the country.

Other states were involved in the USGC tour, as well. Fourteen participants from Indonesia, Japan and Korea went to Illinois to gain on-the-ground experience including stops at farms, retail stations and ethanol plants. In a similar fashion, a group of 11 participants from India’s automobile trade, government and petroleum industry were in Missouri to better understand the U.S. ethanol value chain and the environmental, economic and health benefits ethanol presents. Discussions at the various facilities included retail infrastructure, ethanol pump technology and production capacity.

Face-to-face visits vital

USGC officials said exposing international stakeholders to the U.S. value chain allows them to learn and incorporate practices that have helped develop the U.S. ethanol industry. Stakeholder visits like this help position the United States as a technical resource to countries interested in developing favorable ethanol policies to help meet their carbon reduction commitments.

These groups also visited farms and ethanol production facilities in Illinois and Missouri before wrapping up their trip in Indiana.

Hassan said face-to-face connections are vital to enhancing the USGC’s of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives. By welcoming these stakeholders, the USGC and ICMC were able to showcase the high-quality commodities they represent and the relationships they have with growers and industry representatives across the country.

“We are grateful to our state partners, Illinois Corn and Missouri Corn, for hosting the teams in their states and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council for the opportunity to show ethanol’s benefits,” she said.

An Indianapolis 500 race car features the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance logos. A bottle of Plenish cooking oil, made from high oleic soybean oil, is placed near the ISA logo.

In addition to Miller, others helping to host the tours were ICMC President Paul Hodgen, a Putnam, Ind., farmer; Indiana Corn Growers Association President Scott Smith, a Windfall, Ind., farmer; ICMC Board director J.R. Roesner, a Ferdinand, Ind., farmer and a member of the NCGA’s Ethanol Action Team; ICMC Biofuels Director Helena Jette and USGC Vice President Cary Sifferath.

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