EIA: US ethanol plant capacity increases to nearly 15B gallons/year; 3rd consecutive annual increase
Fuel ethanol production capacity in the United States was 14.903 billion gallons per year, or 973,000 barrels per day (b/d), at the beginning of 2016, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) most recent US Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity report. Total capacity of operable ethanol plants increased by more than 500 million gallons per year in January 2016 compared with the January 2015 total of 14.369 billion gallons.
Actual US production of fuel ethanol reached a total of 14.8 billion gallons (966,000 b/d) in 2015. In EIA’s August Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), US production of fuel ethanol was forecast to reach 15.1 billion gallons (982,000 b/d) in 2016, equivalent to slightly more than 100% utilization of reported nameplate capacity as of 1 January 2016.
The majority (174) of the 195 ethanol plants—and most of the US fuel ethanol production capacity—are located in the Midwest region (as defined by Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts, PADD 2). Total nameplate capacity in the Midwest was 13.537 billion gallons per year (883,000 b/d), an increase of more than 500 million gallons compared with 2015.
|EPA’s 2016 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) target for 2016 includes 14.5 billion gallons of conventional biofuel; the total 2016 target is 18.11 billions gallons, including cellulosic and advanced biofuels.|
The top five ethanol plants by nameplate capacity are all owned by ADM: ADM Decatur, IL (375 million gallons per year); ADM Columbus, NE (313 million); ADM Cedar Rapids, IA Dry Mill (300 million); ADM ADM Cedar Rapids, IA Wet Mill (240 million); and ADM Clinton, IA (237 million).
Of the top 13 fuel ethanol-producing states, 12 are located in the Midwest—the exception being Texas, with a combined nameplate capacity of 385 million gallons from four plants.
Nameplate production capacity is the plant manufacturer’s stated design capacity to produce denatured (made unfit for human consumption) fuel ethanol during a 12-month period. However, nameplate capacity is not a physical production limit for many ethanol plants.
Many ethanol plants are capable of being operated at levels that regularly exceed their nameplate production capacity—if market conditions provide an incentive to do so—by applying more efficient operating techniques.