North Dakota farmers are studying the future of sugar beets for making ethanol fuel. Meanwhile, thers in the world are doing it, and at an increasing clip.
(Above, Blaine Schatz at the Carrington Research Extension Center in July 2012, said “energy beets” – sugar beets without the latest improvements for sugar extraction – were doing well, even under drier conditions.)
This week, Bundesverband der deutschen Bioethanolwirtschaft (BDBe), a German ethanol trade organization, has released production statistics for 2012. According to the organization, German ethanol production increased by 7.4 percent last year, which BDBe said is record growth.
In its release, BDBe also noted that the country produced a total of 613,381 metric tons (205.31 million gallons) of ethanol in 2012. Approximately 253,866 metric tons of that production was manufactured from sugar beet feedstock, representing a 54 percent increase. Feed grain was used to produce 359,030 metric tons of ethanol in 2012, a 12 percent decrease when compared to 2011.
“This move demonstrates the flexibility of the German bioethanol producers that responded to the increased use of beet industry to higher grain prices in 2012. The processing of 2.7 million [metric tons] of sugar beet into bioethanol industry is for the preservation of the German sugar beet cultivation is an important branch of production,” said Dietrich Klein, BDBe CEO in a statement.
Statistics published by ePURE, the European renewable ethanol association, show that Germany is currently home to 10 ethanol plants representing a total capacity of more than 1.155 billion liters (305 million gallons). According to ePURE data, Germany produced 770 million liters of ethanol in 2011 and 761 million in 2010.