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Senator Sees Major Growth in Cellulosic Ethanol

Sen. John Thune told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that expansion of cellulosic ethanol will ease dependence on corn-based ethanol and help lessen the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, especially from the Middle East.

“We’ve gotten very good at corn-based ethanol and it’s been a very successful story here in South Dakota and across the Midwest,” Thune, a South Dakota Republican, said Wednesday. “Cellulosic ethanol should expand dramatically the number of states that can participate in producing renewable energy.”

Farm Bill Battle

He said increased use of cellulosic ethanol will ease pressure on corn prices, used for animal feed and cereal for human consumption. Cellulosic ethanol is derived from switch grass and other natural fiber. 

“At this point, we’re not anywhere close to reaching the saturation point in corn-based ethanol,” Thune said. “There’s enough corn to go around.”