Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota’s ethanol industry, like the rest of the nation, has and continues to face an unprecedented crisis. Some plants have reduced production by as much as 50 percent while others have temporarily idled production. This, in turn, has adversely affected the countless number of industries that work closely with Minnesota’s ethanol industry. 

Over here at the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, we have been working closely with our state government and congressional delegation to find ways to keep our industry afloat and position it toward an upward trajectory when this crisis ends.

Earlier this month, as demand for sanitizing agents skyrocketed, the FDA relaxed its rules concerning the use of industrial alcohol from ethanol plants for sanitizer. Back here in Minnesota, we worked closely with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Departments of Agriculture and Public Safety - Alcohol and Gambling Division and the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to provide our ethanol producers with the necessary guidelines to produce 190 proof and 200 proof ethanol for hand sanitizer or surface sanitizer. Since then, several ethanol producers in Minnesota have diversified their operations to produce ethanol for in-demand sanitizer products. 

Other opportunities for diversification for the ethanol industry include meeting the growing demand for CO2 from beverage makers and the livestock industry. We have engaged several engineering firms to explore some options for the rapid deployment of systems to capture CO2 during the ethanol production process. We hope we’ll be able to share some developments in this area with you in the very near future.

Still, it is important to note that these diversification opportunities are not nearly enough to replace the gallons of ethanol that have been lost from this crisis. As such, we have been working with our congressional delegation, the Walz Administration and state lawmakers for some aid that could keep our ethanol industry afloat.

One of our proposals includes cash payments for bushels of corn that were processed by an ethanol plant over a certain date range based on tracked and recorded data. These cash payments would help ethanol plants remain financially viable for a few months so that they will be ready to resume full production when this crisis begins to dissipate. Read More
NEWS & BLOGS IN APRIL
Angie Craig Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Expand Market For American-Made Biofuels MN's Rep. Angie Craig has introduced the Clean Fuels Deployment Act which will provide $500 million in funding for infrastructure to dispense higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel. Read More

Ethanol Blends Save Lives Through Reduced Vehicle Emissions A new peer-reviewed technical paper concludes ethanol blended into gasoline reduces particulate matter and NOx emissions. Read More

Highwater Ethanol Supplying 190-proof Alcohol For Sanitizer Our producer member, Highwater Ethanol, is the latest ethanol plant in Minnesota to produce alcohol for hand sanitizer. Read More

An Economic Rebound Will Need Ethanol Crude prices are at record lows at the moment but when the economy recovers, prices will rise and once again be subjected to actions by OPEC and other countries. Read More

Beer May Lose Its Fizz As CO2 Supplies Reduce As ethanol production nationwide declines, so has the supply of CO2, a co-product of ethanol production, and this has affected brewers and soft drink makers. Read More

Walz & Three Other Governors Urge USDA To Assist Ethanol Industry The governors are asking the USDA to provide some kind of relief to the ethanol industry, which has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Read More
Oil State Governors Wrong To Target RFS Governors from Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Utah and Louisiana are using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to get the EPA to waive the RVOs under the RFS. Read More

6.58 Million Gallons Of E15 Sold In February The sale of E15 in Minnesota in February this year was 25 percent higher the volume recorded in February 2019. On a cumulative basis, 13.42 million gallons of ethanol was sold in the first two months of 2020. Read More

USGC Solicits Applications For Ethanol A-Team The US Grains Council is looking at forming a team that is dedicated to expanding the global use and trade of US ethanol. Read More

Peterson Leads Biofuels Caucus Letter To USDA MN's Rep. Collin Peterson led fellow members of the Biofuels Caucus in Congress in sending a letter to the USDA asking for assistance for the ethanol industry. Read More

USDA: Ethanol Exports Reach 194.16 Million Gallons In February The 194.16 million gallons of US ethanol exported in February was up significantly from the 151.23 million gallons exported the previous month. Read More

MPCA Guidelines For Ethanol Producers To Produce Sanitizer Earlier this month, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued guidelines to ethanol producers intending to produce 190 proof or 200 proof alcohol without added denaturant for sanitizer. Read More