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Demand for Ethanol is increasing rapidly every year, and the need for feedstock that is not detrimental to our food supply has never been higher.


Ethanol is produced from fermented sugars or converted starches of renewable feedstock such as corn, wheat, barley, etc. In the fermentation process, nearly all of the starch in the grain is converted to ethanol and carbon dioxide, while the remaining nutrients (proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins) undergo a three-fold concentration to yield the plant by-products such as DDGS in corn ethanol plants and Prairie Gold HyProtein Meal in the PGRE plant.  The nutrient residuals concentrated in the by-products make it an economical source of feed for the livestock industry.

Ethanol is a renewable and domestic source of fuel that reduces greenhouse gas and tailpipe emissions in motor vehicles.   Ethanol also provides a secure and sustainable energy supply and stimulates the economic development of the agriculture industry and rural economy.  Fuel ethanol is a high-octane fuel that is used primarily as a gasoline additive and extender.  Ethanol has high oxygen content and burns more completely allowing engines to combust fuel more completely and reduce emissions. Conventional vehicles can use blends containing 10% ethanol (E10) in gasoline without modifications to the engine. Later model Flex Fuel Vehicles can use blends containing up to 85% ethanol (E85).

Ethanol is the current mandated gasoline oxygenate additive.  All gasoline in Canada must contain at least 5% ethanol.  MTBE had been used since 1979 to replace lead in gasoline and as an octane enhancer but has replaced by ethanol as a fuel additive due to concerns stemming from MTBE groundwater contamination.


Local Economic Impact - The effect of ethanol production on the local economy is positive.   Besides creating new markets for the feedstock growers, the local economy benefits by providing increased employment, economic diversification opportunities and increased demand for feedstock.   In March 2015, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association reported that “Canada’s domestic biofuels industry generates $3.5 billion in yearly economic activity, has created over 14,000 quality Canadian jobs to date, and returns over $3.7 billion in investment back to governments every year.” 

What makes ethanol so compelling is that it represents the only viable alternative for combustion engines, other than gasoline. Ethanol is the only renewable energy source that can be added to the existing fuel supply and can be distributed using the existing infrastructure, namely conventional gas service station distribution network. There is no fuel for internal combustion engines other than gasoline and ethanol. Currently and in the foreseeable future, there is no alternative to either gasoline or ethanol that would represent an economically viable alternative.  The net result will be increased demand over time.

Energy Positive - With current technologies, the production of grain-based fuel ethanol has a positive energy balance.   In other words, the amount of energy generated by the fuel is greater than the amount of energy required for the production of the ethanol (feedstock growth, transportation, processing, etc.). The energy balance is currently equal to 2.3 for ethanol production.  That is, 2.3 Btu’s are obtained in ethanol energy for every 1.00 Btu of energy input, a 96% increase since 1995. 

Here to Stay - In 2007, the federal government announced its renewable fuels strategy, which introduced mandated requirements for the use of ethanol and biodiesel, guaranteeing a market for renewable fuels, which burn cleaner than petroleum-based alternatives.

Federally, the mandate for renewable content in gasoline and the distillate pool are 5% and 2% percent, respectively.   Some provinces have reached even further, increasing the percentage of fuel that must be renewable content.

Because of these mandates,  Canada’s renewable fuels industry is domestically producing almost 1.8 billion litres of ethanol and more than 400 million litres of biodiesel annually.