- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Celanese Corp., Dallas, has announced that the company plans to invest some $700 million to commercially develop a process they are currently working on to make ethanol from coal. A company spokesman said they can make the ethanol at a fraction of the cost of using food feedstocks. The company's goal is to have two plants up and running by 2016 in China.
Brazil produces ethanol from sugar cane at a cost of from $0.71 to $0.90 per gallon. Corn-based ethanol in the United States is subsidized and still costs between $1.55 and $1.74 per gallon to produce. The Celanese process is expected to cost $1.50 per gallon with no subsidies. Current rules in the U.S. would make coal-based ethanol ineligible to qualify for the federal mandate that eight percent of the fuel here come from renewable sources as coal is not considered renewable. However, the process could take pressure off the price of gasoline and displace some of the more expensive corn-based ethanol.
The coal process could help relieve prices for food and gasoline. The irony is that ethanol was intended to reduce the use of fossil fuel and this process would just be a better, more efficient use of fossil fuels to help the economy.