Someone asked Mike Pence, the likely candidate for governor on the Republican ticket in 2012, what he would do if elected to keep the ethanol industry strong in Indiana. "We want to see the benefits continue," he answered. "We want Indiana to remain competitive in the ethanol industry."
Until the Daniels Administration began pushing for development of ethanol plants in 2005, Indiana had only one commercial ethanol plant that produced ethanol primarily for use in blending with petroleum products in gasoline. Indiana was barely a blip on the radar screen in the ethanol industry nationwide. Now with 13 plants producing 1.2 billion gallons of ethanol annually, Indiana is a player, and is quickly being recognized as a major player in the ethanol energy game.
Pence believes part of the solution is giving consumers choices. That means making various blends of ethanol available, and will require investment by different groups at various levels.
Like Governor Daniels he also believes there is still hope for cellulosic ethanol. Daniels told the same audience Pence addressed that developments in cellulosic ethanol were coming much slower than he had hoped, and many had anticipated. Nevertheless, Daniels believes it will become a player in the industry. Cellulosic ethanol refers to ethanol produced from other feedstocks besides corn grain, such as corn stover, corn cobs, dried grasses, wood products, or other materials high in cellulose content.
"We need to encourage researchers at Purdue University to develop cost-competitive processes on cellulosic ethanol," Pence says. Several advancements have already been made, although many are still behind the scenes, since commercial production of cellulosic ethanol is still in its infancy, to say the least.