On The Map: Ethanol Refineries Locate Near Feedstock Sources
Corn is the feedstock for 97 percent of the ethanol produced in the United States, so refineries are heavily concentrated in the Corn Belt. Ethanol must be shipped long distances, usually by rail, to reach the major fuel markets on the east and west coasts. Refineries also locate near markets for coproducts such as distillers’ grains, which are sold as feed to the livestock industry. As new technologies enable the commercial production of ethanol and other biofuels from feedstocks such as prairie grasses, woody biomass, and urban wastes, refineries will likely be built in other parts of the country and production will be more geographically dispersed.