December 23, 2007

With five plants in the works, Fla. joins ethanol bandwagon

With changes in Florida's fuel rules underway to make expanded use of ethanol in the states fuel supply, several plants are in the planning stages to supply what is the nations third largest fuel market.

The coming year is expected to be a groundbreaking one for fuel ethanol production in Florida - literally.

If all goes well, three proposed ethanol plants could be under construction in 2008, with production of the renewable fuel beginning as early as 2009. They will join a growing cohort of ethanol plants nationwide: 135 in operation, nine being expanded and 65 being built, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

Florida does not yet produce fuel ethanol, but at least five plants are on the drawing board. Ethanol is derived almost exclusively from corn in the United States, and it's blended with gasoline to provide fuel for motor vehicles.

Four of Florida's proposed plants would use plant waste such as citrus peels to produce ethanol.

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