Arizona alternative fuels plants in spotlight

US - Colleen Crowninshield's e-mail file was overloaded Wednesday. Inquiries from state legislators. Entrepreneurs seeking information. Congratulatory messages from alternative- energy supporters.
calendar icon 26 January 2007
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That's because Crowninshield, who works for the Pima Association of Governments in Tucson, is the state's clearinghouse on all things ethanol and most things biodiesel. advertisement

And, when President Bush announced in his State of the Union address before Congress on Tuesday night that he wants to cut gasoline use by 20 percent by 2017, mostly by replacing it with ethanol and biodiesel, Crowninshield took the spotlight.

"There was a lot of scuttlebutt about ethanol last year after the president talked about reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, but it was directed toward people wanting to invest in it, not use it," Crowninshield said. "Now, people want to use it and there's a lot of talk in Arizona of growing the best fuel for production of ethanol and biodiesel."

Meanwhile, the state's first ethanol and biodiesel plants are nearing start dates.

Pinal Energy's ethanol plant near Maricopa plans to begin operations in May.

John Skelley, president of Arizona Grain Inc., which is spearheading the ethanol production center, did not return calls to his office on Wednesday. But Skelley said recently that the plant's target is to produce 52 million gallons of ethanol a year initially and double that in the second year of operations.

Source: The Arizona Republic
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