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Nov 28

Ethanol Pipeline Proposed by Producers

Posted in Energy Industry | Environment and Sustainability | Ethanol Fuel

Ethanol Pipeline Ethanol producers are considering whether a dedicated pipeline might be the best method for transporting the fuel. The ethanol industry is currently reliant upon traditional transport methods, such as railway and tanker truck, to ship the fuel across the states. Since ethanol plants must depend on rail or truck for distribution, the result has been a delay in getting the fuel additive to the pumps. The industry has therefore initiated a study of the developing problem and a suggestion for an ethanol pipeline is emerging.


Yet many details surrounding the suggestion are still up in the air. The ethanol industry is still relatively new, and no one is certain where exactly the pipeline should go if built. Many skeptics doubt whether ethanol prices are sustainable, and if they would even be able to support the building of a vast transnational pipeline. Even the Renewable Fuels Association has claimed that it is not certain if a dedicated ethanol pipeline would provide the same transport security as the more traditional barges, rail cars, and trucks.

However, the projections for corn ethanol are promising. Current production yields 6.8 billion gallons a year for the fuel. And although the price of ethanol dropped almost 30% this year, and the rising price of corn stalled ethanol production, it is still estimated to hit 9 billion gallons next year. This projection, coupled with the call by President Bush to decrease US gasoline use 20% by 2017, promises a favorable outlook for the increase in production of alternative fuels such as corn ethanol.

So in the effort of making some progress, the Association for Oil Pipelines is conducting a study of whether gasoline blends, those with up to a 20% ethanol additive, would be a feasible fuel to consider transporting first. The trade group is also considering whether such blends could utilize existing oil pipelines. It is their hope that this study will conclude that such blends can be transported safely through existing pipelines, and that doing so will help relieve the current bottlenecking dilemma of ethanol travel.

  • http://energyboomer.com Birney Summers

    Full strength Ethanol presents both corrosion and water adsorption problems if transported by pipe line. We don’t want leaky pipes or wet ethanol. The question to be decided is what mix of gasoline and ethanol can be piped with out risking the life of the steel pipe or too much water dilution of the fuel.

    Butanol would be a better alcohol to use as it can be mix with gasoline in any ratio and not have the pipe line problems.

    Energy Boomer

  • Metcalfe

    We had a pipeline like that in rural Alabama, for a large farm co-op. We kept running across farm workers lying around drunk next to leaking pipes. After we added methanol to the mixture to discourage such antics, we would find workers staggering drunk AND blind near leaking pipes.

  • Ty Cambell

    Regional and Local ethanol production trend developing: There are 14 new ethanol refineries being built in Texas, 5 in California, 3 in Arizona, 2 in New York, 2 in Pennsylvania, several in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, etc.. Ethanol production is becoming INTEGRATED with other industries, and the result is localization and greater efficiency. Here are some examples: Cellulose ethanol will be produced locally in Florida from orange peals, left over from the citrus juice industry. Paper mills will convert their waste into biofuels. Oklahoma has discovered Sorganol – ethanol produced onsite, in the field, from sweet sorghum – a 5 to 1 return. XL Dairy in Vicksburg AZ takes their manure and produces all their production power from a methane digester to refine corn into ethanol and biodiesel, with a 10 to 1 return – producing milk, ethanol, biodiesel, and distillers grains which they feed to their dairy cows. Oil rich Algae, which is pressed for biodiesel, with the remaining starch or biomass converted into ethanol, is being grown locally on methane digester effluent at dairy farms, poultry farms, feedlots, sewage disposal plants, landfills, food processing plants, and breweries, etc.. Algae is also being grown at power plants, burning coal, biomass, natural gas, and any fossil fuels producing CO2. Under ideal conditions, algae reproduces 2 to 3 times per day, and will produce 100 to 200 tons of biomass per acre per year (dry weight). By 2015, Ethanol will be produced locally for much cheaper than it would cost to ship it or pump it across the country. I would not build a long range pipeline from the Corn Belt, because micro biofuel refineries will be popping up near every city in the country – based on integration, local waste conversion, local cellulose crops, onsite Sorganol, and universal algae farming. Ethanol producers in the corn belt should immediately develop their regional markets by expanding into E-20 and E-30 in addition to E-85.

  • http://solarenergynewsandreview.blogspot.com Kevin

    This is why subsidies are so bad. If the market wasn’t subsidized this mal-investment wouldn’t occur. Can you imagine the billions it will cost to build sepearate pipelines for Ethanol across the US? Birney is correct, Butanol is far better but does carry the polical clout in DC that Ethanol does.

  • Just Watching

    All it takes is water and money. Both are in short supply and water is getting more expensive to pump out of the ground every day the water table gets deeper.
    Bottom line is no water no crops.

  • PipeBuilder

    Arguments on leaky pipes and watered down ethanol all have a similiar flaw…..using the same pipeline we already have.

    If there is a problem with the mouse-trap, build a better one. Or, do what we American’s always do, put a cheap band-aid on the problem. I’m sure we can retro-fit the existing pipeline to accommodate the water in ethanol dilema.

  • JR

    It would appear from the previous replies no one has the facts or knows the truth. Ethanol has, can and should be piped in current systems. There is a way to do it and not leave a trail. It is called Chemistry.

  • R.W.Roth

    Substituting ethanol for gasoline to run our cars is one of the greatest political boondoggle of our times. Forget about the fact that making the ethanol from corn raises food prices, can’t be transported in existing pipelines or trucks because of rust problems, or that it’s calculated that it will probably take more energy to manufacture the ethanol that can be derived from it — just run the figures of what will be required to meet government requirements for a 35mpg car. Developing an engine that raises gas mileage from an existing 31mpg running on gasoline to 35mpg will be a 13% improvement — probably possible; but since that same car will only get 23mpg on E85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline)improving engine performance 52% to the 35mpg requirement may be (is?) impossible! Let’s spend our research dollars on something sensible.

  • Eujal Nathan

    I dont think this technology could be a success.If You visualize this ethonal pipeline over a period of time it is very obvios that this technology will be very expensive which includes maintanence cost as pipelines are subjected to rusting.I beleive any source of alternative fuel should be intialized keeping in mind that it could be used for a longer period of time.avoiding problems like soil erosion, water pollution etc…


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