The pendulum of support for ethanol or opposition to it has swung back and forth, especially in Washington, D.C., for the past 15 years, ethanol industry leaders say. Right now the pendulum is sitting on the opposition side, with some nationally who once supported it now withdrawing their support.
One person who made it part of his recipe for putting Indiana back on track is still a strong advocate. That draws admiration from leaders in the ethanol industry.
"We set a goal of producing 1 billion gallons of ethanol by 2009 in this state," Daniels explains. When his administration took office, Indiana had one operating ethanol plant and was a blip on the radar screen for those interested in biofuels. Today, the 13 plants operating in the state are producing 1.2 billion gallons of ethanol per year, above the goal Daniels originally set, and have added to the economy. Indiana is now a legitimate player in ethanol in this country, ranking fifth in production nationally, the same position the state holds on both corn and soybean production.
"We can't relax n what we've done," he adds. "Biofuels are important, and we must go forward. We need to optimize what we get form ethanol. I'm still an advocate for biofuels."
That's true even though many others have turned tail and ran, experts say.The one disappointment in the biofuels game, Daniels says, is how long it's taking cellulosic ethanol to get off the ground. Earlier in his term, it appeared that cellulosic ethanol might be a bigger player by now. However, it's still waiting on breakthroughs by scientists to make the process efficient, and for someone to solve some of the logistics problems that still exist with trying to make ethanol form such things as corn stove r or corn cobs.