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North Dakota Ethanol Industry


The North Dakota ethanol industry contributes more than $623 million annually to the state’s economy. In addition, state and local tax revenues contribute more than $11 million annually.



North Dakota ethanol plants employ more than 275 workers directly in positions such as chemists, engineers, accountants, managers and support staff. The industry also supports thousands of jobs across all sectors of the economy.



Five of the six North Dakota ethanol plants are located in a community with a population of less than 2,500 and contribute an average of 46 jobs and an average annual payroll of $4.5 million to the community. In addition, the plants purchase the majority of their corn from North Dakota farmers and sell distillers grains to North Dakota livestock producers.



The six North Dakota ethanol plants have the capacity produce nearly 550 million gallons of ethanol per year, which is an increase of 50% over the production a decade ago. 


Approximately 10% of ethanol produced annually in North Dakota is blended with gasoline and sold within the state, while the remaining 90% is shipped primarily to the east or west coast.



North Dakota ethanol plants use 160-180 million bushels of corn annually with more than 80 percent of the corn purchased from North Dakota farmers. Forty to 60 percent of North Dakota’s total corn production annually is purchased by North Dakota ethanol plants. In addition, more than 500,000 tons of byproduct, including sugar beet tailings and potato processing waste, is purchased from processing facilities around the region.



Each bushel of corn processed by North Dakota ethanol plants produces 3 gallons of ethanol, 15 pounds of livestock feed (dried distillers grains), 18 pounds of carbon dioxide, and up to 1 pound of corn oil. North Dakota ethanol plants produce nearly 1.5 million tons of dry distillers grains annually.



North Dakota is a national leader in the establishment of biofuel infrastructure due to the ND Biofuel Blender Pump Program (2009-2013). The state was the ninth to offer E15. State fleet vehicles are authorized to use E15 (marketed as Unleaded88) when cost effective and available. There are more than 40 locations statewide that offer E15-E85, with nearly 25 of those locations offering E15 specifically.

North Dakota’s ethanol industry is a national leader in efforts to decrease its carbon footprint and that of other industries as well. Corn ethanol’s carbon footprint is currently a third less than gasoline and continues to decrease with increased carbon-conscious efforts from corn growers and ethanol plants, such as carbon sequestration and storage projects underway at two North Dakota ethanol plants. In addition, corn oil produced is used in renewable diesel production to lower the carbon intensity of that product.

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