An event Friday will focus on an industry that organizers say has a nearly $1 billion impact on the state’s economy. The 2016 Indiana Ethanol Forum, hosted by the Indiana Corn Growers Association, will bring together key stakeholders and showcase the fuel, which Indiana Corn Marketing Council Biofuels Director Ken Parent says is derived from more than a third of all corn grown in Indiana. He says the industry continues to grow in the state and Indiana plants are pumping out ethanol at or near capacity.
The industry was once touted by many leaders throughout the state as a massive economic driver for years to come. However, some incentives and support that had previously been provided to companies by state and federal programs have waned in recent years. Parent says there are no current plans to build any new plants in Indiana, but the Cardinal Ethanol facility in Harrisville recently completed an expansion and the POET operation in Portland is also set to grow. He says the Jay County project could not only boost capacity, but also improve efficiency.
He says many of the challenges facing ethanol in the state involve education and equipment. "There’s a half-a-million Flex Fuel vehicles on the road in Indiana and you would be surprised at how many of the owners of those vehicles don’t understand what Flex Fuel is and why they should use a product like E-85." He says retailers looking to add ethanol have to pay to install nonstandard full pumping equipment, but says the council offers grants to help defray some of the costs. Parent says the entire Indiana Delegation in Washington is working from a regulatory side to help the industry sell more fuel.
A study released last year by the ICMC suggests 526 jobs in Indiana are tied directly to ethanol. It also says with an estimated 989 million gallons of ethanol produced in 2014, Indiana is the fourth-largest producer in the country.
You can connect to more about Friday’s forum by clicking here.
Parent says Indiana is coming off two good years for ethanol and companies are working to face the challenges.