Corn Farmers in Illinois Switch to Aviation Fuel Amid Growing EV Market

Estimated read time 3 min read

With electric vehicles becoming more common, Illinois corn farmers are experiencing a significant change. The growth of the EV poses a threat to the traditional ethanol market. So, the farmers are aiming at a new goal the aviation industry.


Electric Vehicles on the Rise

Corn’s use in ethanol production and its role in gasoline has been pivotal for years in the US. It lowers emissions and reduces oil dependence from foreign sources. Illinois produces a lot of corn; hence it saw numerous benefits from this need. Yet as more electric and hybrid vehicles come onto roads, less gasoline is needed which can reduce demand for corn-based ethanol. Such changes risk hitting farmland values, property taxes and farmers’ financial health.


New Opportunities with Aviation Fuel

The aviation industry comes with opportunities that may help overcome these difficulties. Given heavy aircraft batteries make electrifying tricky, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), using synthesized corn ethanol appears appealing to lower flying emissions.


The Good and the Bad of Ecofriendly Fuel

Certain firms like Gevo push forward in turning corn into jet fuel. Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s CEO sees potential as he calls corn “the cheapest, sustainable and easily builtup raw material” for this process aligning perfectly with Biden’s aggressive goals under his administration, 3 billion gallons of SAF per year by 2030 so that eventually all standard jet fuel gets replaced by 2050.

Moving towards SAF production has numerous environmental and technical issues to address. Though including reducing emissions throughout production stages from growing corn up to getting ethanol produced, where climate friendly farming methods are required such as no till farming that involves precise fertilization solutions or capturing carbon dioxide then placing it underground.


Embracing Change in Local Farming

Local farmers like Reid Thompson see this move towards SAF as a crucial change aiding them to future proof their farming activities. He believes that SAF and ethanol will be the reasons for their farming longevity. It helps economically where Ethanol facilities all over Illinois have seen advanced technologies implemented for less carbon emissions such as carbon dioxide transporting and burying pipeline proposal from One Earth Energy. Thus, making Illinois a key contender in the SAF markets.


Backing from Government

Government plays its part by laying out financial incentives which includes attractive tax cuts under the Inflation Reduction Act. These aids amplify chances for economically viable SAF production. Also, US Department of Agriculture encourages ecofriendly practices among farmers, allowing potential to drop carbon reaching levels of corn-based ethanol further.


Future hopes and problems

Achieving a strong SAF industry is filled with challenges yet overflowing with prospects. As increasing importance globally gets placed on sustainability, this new endeavor using Illinois corn could become revolutionary. Though immediate issues remain with evolving technology requirements and market adaption, government support combined with innovative farming practices build optimism. All things considered, increased popularity in electric vehicles did disrupt traditional ethanol markets but it paved a new path for Illinois corn-farmers into aviation fuel. Farmers now are ready to adjust and grow with these changes to stay important in changing energy scenarios. With ongoing efforts and strategic moves, Illinois can take up leadership roles in SAF production securing good economic terms for farmers while also playing its part for an ecofriendly future.

Celina Brooks

Celina Brooks from Mussoorie is a Writer & Researcher. She earned her Engineering degree in IT from Rutgers University. She is a technology enthusiast but loves writing and talking about local news as well. She is a jolly person with 2 children.

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