Major ethanol producer closes two Iowa plants

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Prominent US ethanol producer Green Plains has planned the closure of two plants in Iowa. According to Reuters, the plants are to be shut due to low profit margins.

Green Plains is the number 3 ethanol producer in the United States and has an annual ethanol production capacity of around 1.48 billion gallons. It has also invested in vinegar production and cattle feedlots in an attempt to branch out from biofuels.

The closure of plants coincides with the Trump administration’s growing trade disputes with Chinese markets to cut off US access to ethanol. This in turn has led to almost the lowest biofuel prices in over a decade, Reuters reports.

Waivers put in place by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Scott Pruitt to exempt some oil refiners from requirements to blend ethanol into the US gasoline supply, as well as the trade tensions between the United States and China, have contributed to putting pressure on the price of ethanol.