Undercurrents: beneath the obvious

December 16, 2006

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) produces 25% of U.S. ethanol

Filed under: Ethanol — nemo @ 1:01 pm

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)

  1. ADM = 1,070
  2. Cargill = 128
  3. Aventine Renewable Energy Inc. = 100
  4. VeraSun Energy Corporation = 100
  5. Farmer owned ethanol plants accounted for 1,276 million gallons per year or 37.3% of total capacity.

References:

Hat tip : biopact.com

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