A new study predicts nine hundred jobs and nearly 160 million dollars will flow into Iowa in the first year 15 new ethanol plants are up and running. Iowa State University economist Daniel Otto says the catch is the economic boom he predicts is based on having California ban ethanol’s competitor — and start using ethanol instead.Otto says in addition to the payroll from the jobs that’ll be created in the new ethanol plants, Iowa farmers should see higher prices for their corn. He says that should pump an additional 75 million dollars into the corn market.Dozens of officials, farmers, agribusiness types and politicians are gathered in West Des Moines today for an ethanol conference. The event kicked-off when a cement truck burning “e-diesel” — a combination of ethanol and diesel — fired up next to another truck burning straight diesel. Most observers couldn’t see a difference in the smoke stacks, but Mike Lockhart, a developer of “corn diesel,” says it doesn’t emit as much dark black exhaust you see pump out of semis.”Corn diesel” would compete with “soy diesel” — and Lockhart says tests find the corn-blend performs slightly better in cold weather. There are presently four ethanol plants operating in Iowa, and 15 are in the planning stages.
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