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Editor's Note: The Corn and Cellulose Connection
by Kristin Brekke

Corn-based ethanol sure gets a bad rap. Those who like to separate ethanol according to its feedstock are quick to point out corn-based ethanol’s flaws while holding up cellulosic ethanol and saying “why can’t we just do that?” This approach neglects two important facts: corn-based ethanol is here today cutting our use of petroleum-based gasoline, and this ethanol is being produced using clean, cutting-edge advanced technology.

The American Coalition for Ethanol represents both corn and cellulosic ethanol companies, and we’re proud to do so. The cellulosic ethanol of tomorrow will help this country make sweeping strides toward energy independence – that is a fact. But energy independence is not an a la carte menu of options to select what sounds the best. By only looking ahead, many are missing the success story of what’s already happening today.

Our cover story this month highlights how America’s ethanol industry is achieving even greater efficiencies in the production process. While turning out billions of gallons of homegrown fuel, ethanol plants in the U.S. are putting in place some innovative new technologies that are not only increasing the yield per bushel of corn, but also reducing the amount of energy and water that go into the process.

In just the last few years, U.S. ethanol producers have reduced total energy inputs by more than 21 percent and reduced water use by more than 26 percent – impressive numbers.

Corn-based ethanol is a green energy solution for today, and if we take the right steps, it will grow, progress, and multiply into an even bigger part of our energy supply tomorrow. One of the keys to this is making sure today’s ethanol receives fair regulatory treatment. If the industry is stifled with an immovable E10 blend cap and saddled with unfair international land use charges, for example, ethanol’s future will be cut sharply short.

The necessary investment and R&D for future technologies won’t happen if there’s uncertainty about ethanol’s marketplace and the national commitment to using renewables. That’s why it’s so important for a blend beyond E10 to be approved. On page 44 you’ll find our guest editorial on this topic from Jim Imbler, President and CEO of cellulosic ethanol company ZeaChem.

Remember, the EPA public comment period on the E15 waiver is open until July 20. Please take a few minutes and send your letter to the EPA using ACE’s Legislative Action Center, found at www.capwiz.com/ethanol. Thank you!

 
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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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