Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

Five months after its grand opening, a massive new-generation ethanol plant in the southwest corner of Kansas is undergoing final adjustments as it prepares to begin full-scale production. The plant, built by a Spanish company with financing from the U.S. Department of Energy, is designed to produce clean-burning fuel — not from corn, but from the bits and pieces of crops left in farmers’ fields after harvest.

The federal government proposed Friday to cut the amount of corn-based ethanol oil companies have to put in the gasoline supply, by more than a billion gallons. Much of the corn used to make that ethanol is grown right here in the Midwest. 

Cutting the amount of corn ethanol required in the Renewable Fuel Standard essentially puts a cap on demand for corn from the Midwest.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture is proposing a rule change that would allow more ethanol to be blended into gasoline sold in the Show-Me State.

Grant Gerlock / NET

Inside a new facility in Blair, Neb., north of Omaha, a gleaming maze of steel tubes connect a line of giant fermentation tanks that will cultivate some of the most advanced biotechnology in the ethanol industry.

Eric Durban / Harvest Public Media

Drive by a field that’s ready for biomass harvest and you’ll think you’re too late. The grain is gone and it’s just broken stalks and leaves everywhere.

About half the gasoline sold in the U.S. today contains 10 percent ethanol.

But the ethanol industry, arguing that a 15 percent blend (E-15) is safe for all cars, last year asked the Environmental Protection Agency to approve a higher level of ethanol in fuel.