As we stepped into the 21st century a decade ago, those who had dreamed of hover-cars and personal spacecraft were undoubtedly disappointed.
Our world was not the one science fiction had promised. Our transportation system was the same as it had been for decades, albeit larger.
But those of us grounded in reality recognized that something better was within our grasp. The future would not require an overhaul of vehicle technology. It would not require a new infrastructure.
The future of transportation would require nothing more than sound science and steady improvement to the centuries old processes of fermentation and distillation.
At the end of 1999, the ethanol industry was producing 1.47 billion gallons annually, staying afl oat in niche markets. Today, we’re producing 11 billion gallons per year, and we see our product in the vast majority of vehicles across the United States.
I am honored to have been a part of these phenomenal improvements in both volume and efficiency. We have met or exceeded every clean energy goal laid out by Congress in the Renewable Fuels Standard.
The last 10 years have set a precedent for success, and the next 10 years will provide much more.
Cellulosic ethanol will be a commercial reality in the early years of this decade. With that technology in hand, ethanol production will explode, and a vast range of new feedstock will become valuable sources for energy.
Crop yields will continue their sharp upward arc. Seed companies foresee corn yields reaching mid-200 bushels per acre by 2020. We will feed and fuel the world like never before.
We have already surpassed 2,000 E85 pumps and have introduced flex pumps to America. That infrastructure will continue to grow along with the number of Flex Fuel Vehicles to substantially improve the market for clean, green ethanol.
New technology in co-products, such as bioplastics and biochemicals, will make the corn kernel a true replacement for a barrel of oil and turn ethanol plants into biorefineries.
Over the last 10 years we have faced challenges from the economy, our fossil fuel competitors, the media and many others, but we have proven to be dedicated and resilient.
Those traits along with our firm background hard work and innovation will carry us through to this bright future.