This week it was announced that Pacific Ethanol will acquire Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings for about $190 million in stock. That makes Pacific Ethanol the fifth-largest producer in the United States, according to press reports.
Aventine is Midwest based and has plants in Pekin, Ill.; Canton, Ill.; and Aurora, Neb.
According to the Wall Street Journal the move by Pacific Ethanol significantly expands the company's reach into the Midwest and East doubling the company's annual ethanol production volume. The combined company will have total ethanol production capacity of 515 million gallons per year.
The Aurora, Neb., facilities have been involved in a lawsuit with Aurora Cooperative, which may or may not be resolved with this latest announcement. NTV reported on that part of the story.
The deal is supposed to close by the second quarter of 2015.
The Hayride website scraped a Forbes story that calls into question some key issues about ethanol. Reading the quoted parts of the story it appears to be the same old arguments about 'land displacement' that keep coming up. Although alternative land use arguments keep being made, there are studies to dispute the notion as well. Ethanol does offer significant benefits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but life-cycle analysis questions keep recurring.
And in Farm Industry News, a sister publication, blogger Lyn Grooms reports that an Iowa grant request for infrastructure improvement for gas storage tanks could also be good news for ethanol. Grooms notes that in Iowa many underground storage tanks are nearing the end of their 25 to 30 year life and will become susceptible to leaks, and improving those tanks opens the door for higher-blends of ethanol use.