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Page added on April 28, 2007

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Ethanol expansion remains robust

Growing skepticism fails to derail boom

Once the darling of the heartland, ethanol has acquired a dangerous reputation these days, amid warnings of a “gasohol glut,” a “dot-corn bust” and an angry backlash from rural communities once expected to applaud the arrival of jumbo distilleries for turning grain into motor fuel.

Yet for all the ill tidings, the ethanol boom remains surprisingly robust and only moderately sobered by the outpouring of worry aimed at it in recent months. In fact, 2007 promises to be a year of historic expansion, with production soaring as scores of new and enlarged ethanol factories come on line.

Construction is under way at 89 bio-refineries that will more than double the nation’s production capacity, and no one is predicting a halt to additional new projects.

“I expect to go to a lot of ribbon cuttings,” said Bob Dinneen, head of the Renewable Fuels Association, the ethanol trade group.

Chicago Tribune

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