According to data provided by the Renewable Fuels Association, US ethanol production is currently averaging nearly 4.7 billion gallons a year, a 20.5% increase from the 3.9 billion gallons produced in 2005.
In August, US producers averaged 329,000 barrels per day (bpd)—a record for daily production average and an increase of 69,000 bpd from August 2005. Demand for ethanol remained strong, averaging 385,000 bpd in August, approaching the record demand set back in June. Stocks and imports of ethanol also rose in August to 384.7 million gallons and 133.2 million gallons respectively.
Currently, 106 ethanol biorefineries nationwide have the capacity to produce more than 5 billion gallons annually. There are 48 ethanol refineries and 7 expansions under construction with a combined annual capacity of more than 3.5 billion gallons.
Among recent major plant developments are:
E3 BioFuels announced it will begin production in December 2006 at Mead, Nebraska, as the first-ever closed-loop system for distilling commercial quantities of ethanol using methane gas recaptured from cow manure, instead of fossil fuels. This virtually eliminates the need for fossil fuels in the production of ethanol. (Earlier post.)
In addition to breaking ground on its 100-million gallon plant in Hereford Texas, Panda Ethanol announced plans for an additional 100-million gallon plants in Lincoln County, Nebraska and Muleshoe, Texas. Panda will fuel its six announced ethanol plants by gasifying cow manure (earlier post)—the Muleshoe plant will use 1 billion pounds of cow manure per year, as an example. On 7 November, Panda went public via a reverse merger with Cirracor.