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In New York, a bright future for renewable fuels

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In his recent speech about the economy, President Obama called for “new investments in renewable energy and technology that will create new jobs and new industries.”


Here in Western New York, one example of this environmentally and economically sustainable energy future is in the Town of Shelby.


Opened in 2007, the Western New York Energy plant produces more than 50 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol a year. In addition, the plant produces three valuable co-products: 160,000 tons of high-quality distillers grains; 1.5 million gallons of crude corn oil, which is used for biodiesel; and 100,000 tons of food-grade carbon dioxide, which is used for beverage carbonation, food processing and other industrial applications. The plant provides more than 40 well-paying jobs, from chemists and engineers to operators and managers, and creates new markets for local grain farmers and a valuable feed product for dairy and cattle farmers.


Throughout the nation, the ethanol industry is making progress economically and environmentally. In 2008, American ethanol producers supplied more than 9.2 billion gallons of clean-burning ethanol, equivalent to 7 percent of the domestic gasoline supply. This record production supported nearly 500,000 jobs. It added $21 billion in tax payments to federal, state and local coffers. It displaced 321 million barrels of imported oil — equal to 10 months of imports from Venezuela.


Between 2001 and 2006, water consumption at U. S. ethanol plants decreased by 27 percent, electricity use dropped by 16 percent and total energy utilization declined by 22 percent. For instance, the Shelby plant uses only about 2.5 gallons of water for each gallon of ethanol that is produced — an even lower rate than the average of three gallons of water for one gallon of ethanol in the entire industry. .......







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