Buoyed by a slowly recovering economy and rational behavior returning to energy and commodity markets, ethanol producers saw a return to profitability in the second half of 2009, according to the Renewable Fuels Assn.’s 2010 Ethanol Industry Outlook.

Issued today, the 36-page report says, “Temporarily idled biorefineries resumed operation and recently finished facilities began operation as the industry marched on toward meeting the volume requirements of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

Two-thousand nine was a record year for ethanol production, with 200 biorefineries churning out an estimated 10.6 billion gallons of renewable ethanol.

According to the new report, not only has ethanol become a ubiquitous component of our nation’s fuel supply (today ethanol is blended in 80% of the nation’s gasoline), it is leading the way toward more sustainable energy production. Ethanol biorefineries today require substantially fewer British Thermal Units (BTUs) of natural gas to produce a gallon of ethanol. Facilities are utilizing water resources more creatively and responsibly, reducing total consumption and replacing fresh water with previously treated or “gray water” sources. Ethanol plants are also producing more, increasing ethanol yields and developing new co-products to join distillers grains as valuable components in feed, food and fuel markets.

Ethanol Facts

The 30.5 million metric tons of feed generated by the ethanol industry in 2009 is equivalent to the total amount of grain fed to cattle in the nation’s feedlots.

In 2009, the production of an estimated 10.6 billion gallons of ethanol helped support nearly 400,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy.

More than two dozen advanced biofuel projects are in development with a combined projected production capacity of 170 million gallons per year, with each planning massive expansions upon commercialization.

Click here for full report: http://bit.ly/abpHKI