A focus on renewable fuels

May is renewable fuels month in the state. It's a time to bring awareness to the ethanol and biodiesel industries in Nebraska.

Governor Pete Ricketts kicked off the summer driving season by signing a proclamation designating the month of May as renewable fuels month. We caught up with him to talk about the importance of renewable fuels. "Here in Nebraska we've got what we call the 'golden triangle'. And that is the corn we grow, the ethanol we produce, and the livestock that benefit from the distillers grains," Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said. "It makes a great synergy in our state with this industry."

Nebraska is the nation's second leading producer of ethanol. The governor says the state has 25 ethanol plants, and those 25 plants directly employ more than 1,400 people. "The other great thing about these plants is that they are in our small towns and rural communities," Governor Ricketts said. "So they really help in places where we are looking to have those vibrant communities, they create great paying jobs. This really works well in our state."

The Governor believes that ethanol will save motorists money at the pump, and he says it's a cleaner burning fuel which means that ethanol actually helps the environment. There are new blends of ethanol showing up at the pump as well. "E-10 is the standard blend. It can work in any car," Governor Ricketts said. "E-15 can work in any car after 2001. One of the great benefits of ethanol is that it helps reduce that reliance on foreign oil as well." The governor also says that growing corn for ethanol doesn't take away from the state's ability to produce food, because the by-products that come from the ethanol plants in the form of distillers grains are actually a great feed source for cattle. In that way, the governor says the renewable fuel industry is actually supporting the state's ability to produce food.

We'll have more stories about renewable fuels coming up this month on Pure Nebraska.