It's no secret that there are ethanol plants all over the country, as we've had lots of stories about plants being built in Louisiana and Oregon and the 101 plants currently producing the fuel. We've also written about how this increase in ethanol production is causing dramatic increases in the amount of the fuel that is transported by train. The increase is so great that the rail yards in Chicago, a nexus between the Midwest cornfields and the train tracks that lead to ethanol plants around the country, could start to see delays of two days. An article in Monday's Northwest Indiana Times tells us about the situation coming to a head in the Windy City.
One-third of America's rail cargo already passes through Chicago. According to Ron Lamberty, of the American Coalition for Ethanol, about a third to a half of the domestic ethanol produced also travels through Chicago. Options for the future include a "massive rail improvement project" for Chicago or rerouting trains around the city. The article says transporting ethanol by rail costs between four and 14 cents depending on distance. As more production facilities come online across the country this cost will change, since it's a heck of a lot cheaper to transport corn and make ethanol at local production plants than transport the liquid fuel across the country.
[Source: Northwest Indiana Times, Photo from Ron Goodson]