3.6 billion gallons a year. 1,800 miles long. $4 billion dollars. 20-inch diameter.

These numbers describe a new ethanol pipeline plan unveiled last week by Poet Ethanol Products and Magellan Midstream Partners. If built, this would be the first long-distance pipeline in the U.S. (pictured above is the Trans Alaska-Alyeska Oil Pipeline) and would run from the midwest to the east coast. In some areas, the biofuel pine would run alongside existing petroleum pipelines. In others, it would need to blaze new paths. Poet and Magellan say that 80,000 new jobs would be needed to build the thing, and then 1,100 people would be employed operating it. The soonest that the pipeline could be opened would be four years from now.

In late 2008, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners successfully tested ethanol in a pipeline, so the technology apparently works. There has also been political support for a project like this, and Poet and Magellan say that the pipeline is dependent on getting a U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee.

[Source: Indy Star, UPI | Image: Arthur Chapman - C.C. License 2.0 ]

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