Another ethanol plant has begun production in Iowa. Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, says the plant in Shenandoah will process more than 18 million bushels of corn into 50 million gallons of ethanol per year.
The Shenandoah operation is the 29th Iowa ethanol refinery in production. The state leads the nation, producing almost two billion gallons of ethanol a year. Another 18 ethanol refineries are under construction in Iowa.
"And as those come on line," Shaw says, "we’re gonna have an awful lot of supply in the market place. So the challenge over the next year or two will be working hard with our marketers, getting our oil company customers to move ethanol into new markets to suck up that supply that we’re gonna bring on line." The most recent report from the USDA predicts a near record corn harvest in Iowa this year.
Shaw says the corn crop will "more than satisfy the demand for food, fuel, and fiber." Shaw says there will be plenty of corn to go around. "Even with the larger production of ethanol that we’re seeing these days, it still accounts for less than 30-percent of Iowa’s corn crop," Shaw says, "so we expect that ethanol production can continue to grow substantially in the future, and still allow farmers to meet the market demands they have for all customers."
The new ethanol plant in Shenandoah employs 33 people and is owned by Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc., which has a second refinery under construction near Superior.