Ethanol Makers Get Creative With Corn - Wall Street Journal

By Owen Fletcher - Dec. 26, 2012

Someday soon, your breakfast muffin might include fiber from the same company that makes ethanol fuel for your car.

U.S. ethanol producers are finding creative ways to earn more money as demand for their flagship product stagnates. These companies are using corn not only to make ethanol but also ingredients for products ranging from baked goods and nutrition bars to industrial coatings to fish food.

Poet LLC and Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc. are among several large makers of corn-based ethanol that are turning their facilities into versatile refineries to pump out specialized products alongside ethanol.

Their plans to diversify have gained urgency as the $40 billion ethanol industry copes with its second sharp downturn in four years. The sector, which boomed through much of the past decade, is encountering resistance to the use of higher ethanol levels in gasoline, as well as pressure on margins from volatile corn and energy prices.

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