As of January 2018, based on capacity data published by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the U.S. ethanol industry had an existing capacity of 16.241 billion gallons per year. That includes 15.755 billion gallons per year corresponding to operating capacity and 0.486 billion per year to idle capacity. As shown in Figure 1, existing capacity increased by 1.361 billion gallons per year compared with January 2014 (14.880 billion gallons per year), while idle capacity declined from almost one billion gallons per year in January 2014 to 0.486 billion per year at the beginning of 2018 (see Figure 1). Capacity construction/expansion as of January 2018 was the largest of the previous four years with 0.465 billion gallons per year, with a total of seven plants undergoing this process. By January 2018, the United States had 201 ethanol biorefineries located across 28 states.
The U.S. biobased economy is an important sector that provides job creation and economic growth. The biobased industry consists of bioenergy, renewable chemicals and biobased products. A recent study published by USDA analyzing data and trends in the biobased economy from 2011 to 2016 can be found here.
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