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Event Details

DOE Ethanol Workshop Series

Colorado Ethanol Workshop
Fuel Ethanol Production in Colorado: Its History and Potential

December 6, 2001
10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Irrigation Research Foundation Facility
40161 Hwy. 59
Yuma, Colorado

Workshop Summary

The Colorado Ethanol Workshop was the second workshop to occur in Colorado the past two years. The first took place in Golden in June, 2000 (that summary is at the end of this page). After a year of follow-up discussions and brainstorming, a core planning committee of seven to 10 people agreed an ethanol feasibility study in Colorado was worth pursuing. The December 6th workshop was structured to introduce information found in the study and to provide thoughtful guidance to those seeking answers to the feasibility of ethanol production in Colorado. About 110 people participated at the Irrigation Research Foundation facility in Yuma.

Expanding ethanol production is of interest in many parts of the country. Low commodity prices and concerns about energy supplies fuel this renewed interest. The Colorado Ethanol Workshop sought to answer such questions as:

  • What is required to determine the feasibility of ethanol production in Colorado?
  • What is the outlook for the ethanol market that might be served by Colorado production?
  • What is an appropriate size to be considered for a Colorado ethanol plant?
  • What supportive infrastructure is necessary in the siting of an ethanol plant?
  • What would its economic impact be for the feedstock; for employment; for the community and greater area?
  • What public or private assistance is available?
  • What is the market for ethanol by-products?

Wrap-up comments included that we have the opportunity to become energy independent, that ethanol is a quality fuel, that the Sutherland plant could be expanded, and that from a financing perspective, 40 percent equity is needed to obtain financing.

A concrete, follow-on activity implicated was a site specific feasibility study in eastern Colorado.

Highlights of Information Shared

Barbara Charnes
  • Ethanol is an answer for both the farmer and the person living in the city: it’s another market for corn and city people get cleaner air.
  • Ethanol as positive environmental health effects
  • Ethanol has raised the price of corn, cleaned up urban air pollution and imported oil
  • Colorado’s oxyfuel program has been a success

Hal Smedley
  • “Nothing is equal”
  • 7 billion bushels. Corn production is close to corn use.

Jim Rubingh, CO State Ag Programs
  • CO lacks an incentive program. This makes it difficult for start-ups.
  • Brand new programs: CO Ag Value Added Program
    • Provides tax credits
    • Includes ethanol production
    • Up to $15,000 for ½ investment per investor tax credit.
    • 1 to 1 program

  • Only good in years of 400 MM “tabor” surplus
  • Everyone can put money in this program
  • CO Ag Development Authority – loans for beginning farmers and for Ad Processing (tax-exempt bond) and ethanol financing
  • New this year: CAPCO, certified capital companies invested in rural projects.
  • Small business development grants: rail spur, ethanol plant, etc.
  • Economic Development programs

Patty Stulp and Hal Smedley, Barry Carrol
  • Pre-feasibility outcome of steering committee
  • Discussed ethanol industry (Mr.Carroll), 5 state incentives, local and regional impact and feed co-products. There are many cattle in CO, and he compared a 30 MMGP vs. a 40 MMGP.
  • Patty: “will mail the study to anyone requesting it”
  • CO is an import state (importing corn here) Average corn cost is $2.30. An average export corn cost in an export state such as NE is $2.00.
  • Energy independence vs. depending on the Middle East was stressed by Patty.

1:00 Patty, Comparing gas to ethanol
  • The ethanol relative value of gas does not change!
  • Compared 1991 to 2001 prices
  • Retail customer: follows the wholesale cost of gas
  • Today’s focus for ethanol is on enhancing octane rather than defending its acceptance (taken from Patty’s handout)

1:15 Phil Lampert, E85
  • E85 stations in Yuma, Aurora, Denver, Greeley, Lakewood, Watkins.
  • Several car models already are E85 vehicles.
  • Any vehicle can be an E85 vehicle! Just need to remove the aluminum off the vehicle to adjust for E85 fuel. It would have to change to stainless steel.
  • Denver is using 810 E85 vehicles in the US Postal Service fleet. There are 22,000 total USPS vehicles in service.
  • Estimated 2 million E85 vehicles on the road by 2002, which will increase demand for ethanol.

1:30 Brad Olson, DDGS
  • CO has no competition so we have our own market
  • Ethanol industry: the competition for DDGS is ourselves, oil seed meals, other feedstuffs that reduce need for distiller’s (i.e. molasses).
  • Advantages of feeding distiller’s: high protein and energy, and highly digestible fiber.

1:45 Bob Wallace, Biomass
  • Biomass feedstock: trees, grass, crops – convert to fermentation, combustion, etc.
  • Timeline: feasibility study now finished, 2004-2005 for start-up, 2009 stand-alone plant, 2015 for bio-refinery

Final Panel/Wrap Up, They were all asked what their next step is after today:
  1. Barbara: Have opportunity to become independent
  2. Patty: Hard to distinguish between good and bad ethanol, political good and bad. But… “It’s a quality fuel”
  3. The guy from Sutherland: Expand Sutherland’s plant.
  4. Financing person: Need 40% equity to get financing. With that amount you won’t have any problem getting financing. “Be careful who you choose to build your plant. Don’t want a repeat from the early 80’s”

June 13, 2000
Workshop Summary

Following the Colorado Workshop on June 13, 2000 in Golden, an Ethanol Work Group was formed which now meets on a monthly basis. The goals of the Work Group are to establish an educational campaign focusing on K-12 schools. A feasibility study is underway, which will determine where in Colorado the best location might be to build an ethanol plant. That study should be completed by mid-summer. E85 fueling sites are being developed. The first station was christened in March at Yuma, Colorado. Stations are soon to be opened in Fort Collins, Denver and Colorado Springs. The Work group members are also making a concerted effort to arrange speaking opportunities at Rotary Clubs, Lions, economic development groups, etc. throughout the state.

For those interested in participating in the Colorado Ethanol Work Group, please contact Ed Lewis, CO Office of Energy Management and Conservation and the Bioenergy Coordinator at 303-894-2383 or Ed.Lewis@state.co.us or Anne Wester, BBI International, (Ethanol Workshop Series Coordinators).

If you would like to be notified about the US DOE Ethanol Workshop Series Workshops, please provide your contact information to Anne Wester:

Anne Wester
Conference Planning Assistant
BBI International
PO Box 1146
Salida, Colorado 81201
Phone: 719-539-0300
Fax: 719-539-0301

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Workshops Sponsored by:
U.S. Department of Energy -
Office of Fuels Development
& the Western Regional Biomass Energy Program

About the Programs

Renewable Diesel Workshops:
NREL Goals: ..."to educate key public officials and the general public about biodiesel as a transportation fuel" and ..."to build state and local coalitions that would form the nuclei of a support group that would promote and eventually lead to local biodiesel production and use."

Ethanol Producers' Technical Workshops:
Perspectives from ethanol producers, production technology providers, and government researchers. Those in attendance were given the task of exploring the challenges and opportunities presented by combining cellulosic ethanol streams with existing grain streams.

US DOE Ethanol Workshop Series:
A series of one-day, state-level workshops to educate key public officials and the general public about ethanol as a transportation fuel.

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