The environmental magazine Grist has covered the biofuel / ethanol topic in depth over the past weeks. Among the topics covered is this one that doesn’t get a lot of play:
The biofuel industry is dangerously concentrated. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) produces a quarter of U.S. ethanol — about eight times the market share of its nearest rival — and is also the leading player in Europe’s growing biodiesel market.
As a result, it exerts tremendous leverage over the choice of feedstocks — and it chooses to use what’s cheapest and most plentiful (corn for ethanol, soy or palm for biodiesel), not what’s easiest on the environment.
Monsanto and Pioneer control 60% of the U.S. corn and soybean seed market.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ethanol production adds 25-50 cents to the value of a bushel of corn.
Ethanol production is the third largest use of U.S. corn.
These top four corporations produce 41% of ethanol (volume in million gallons per year)
- ADM = 1,070
- Cargill = 128
- Aventine Renewable Energy Inc. = 100
- VeraSun Energy Corporation = 100
- Farmer owned ethanol plants accounted for 1,276 million gallons per year or 37.3% of total capacity.
- How cash and corporate pressure pushed ethanol to the fore,
- Concentration of Agricultural Markets (pdf)
- Renewable Fuels Association Resource Center
Hat tip : biopact.com
Technorati Tags: ethanol