LAMBERTON — Highwater Ethanol, LLC CEO Brian Kletscher said the plant continues to seek to diversify its product lines.
“Adding equipment to produce high purity alcohol at 190 degrees has enabled this in the future,” Kletscher reported in his Winter 2022 Highwater newsletter.
This type of ethanol is used as a neutral alcohol by distilleries, for all-natural perfumes, the manufacture of plant extracts and solvents.
Kletscher said Highwater received approval from the California Air Resources Board in March 2021 to produce and sell about 4.5 to 5.2 percent of production as cellulosic ethanol. Highwater produces 3.5 to 5 percent of its production as cellulosic ethanol, he said.
Interest in distilling cellulosic ethanol is driven by its potential as a replacement for ethanol made from corn or sugar cane. Since these plants are also used for food products, their diversion for ethanol production can lead to higher food prices.
Cellulose ethanol producers get a higher price thanks to a carbon index used in California, Oregon and Washington. Kletscher said other states are considering offering premium prices for cellulosic ethanol.
He said Highwater continues to buy corn from area growers, adding that Minnesota has more than 420 E15 pumps and numerous blending pumps to ensure consumers have choice.
Kletscher urged Highwater members to do their part by using higher blends of ethanol and requesting higher blends if they are not available in their area.
(Fritz Busch can be emailed to [email protected]).