JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri has the economic potential to support three more ethanol plants to produce fuel from corn, according to a study released Friday.
Backed by several farm organizations including the Missouri Corn Growers Association, the study said ethanol production in Missouri could increase substantially based on corn supply and other market forces.
There are currently two ethanol plants in Missouri -- Golden Triangle Energy in Craig in northwest Missouri and Northeast Missouri Grain in Macon. Each produce about 15 million gallons annually.
Ethanol is cleaner burning that traditional gasoline, and all vehicles produced since the 1970s can burn a gasoline mixture with up to 10 percent ethanol. The most common blend of ethanol in the Midwest is a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent unleaded gasoline.
Missouri ranks 10th in the nation in corn production with 300 million bushels of corn each year.
The study produced by Boston-based SJH and Company shows that three additional ethanol plants could produce 150 million gallons of ethanol a year under current market conditions.
Current consumption of ethanol in Missouri this year is expected to hover around 40 million gallons with that number expected to rise to almost 90 million gallons by 2011, the report said.
"That's a lot more volume than we thought possible," said Gary Marshall, chief executive officer of the Corn Growers Association.
According to the 300-page, $300,000 study, facilities in Craig and Macon could be joined by three potential plants in a variety of areas including Carroll, Chariton, Saline, Pike, Lincoln, Warren, Montgomery, Audrain, Ralls, Stoddard, Scott, Mississippi and New Madrid counties.