back to article America's second largest ethanol producer goes titsup

VeraSun Energy, the second-largest producer of corn-based ethanol in the United States has run out of money and filed for bankruptcy protection. The South Dakota-based company said in a court filing on Monday that it wouldn't be able to make this week's payroll without help and also needs money to buy corn, natural gas, and …


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  1. Spoonguard

    Oh happy days

    Down with Big Ethanol! Crash and burn

  2. E

    Well, damn!

    For a few golden months it seemed that we could do away with pedestrian crosswalks, we could have made killing a pedestrian under our wheels a legal act, we could have made the pedestrians' demand for affordable food a crime.

    There is no right to life if one is not behind the wheel of a car.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So they bought corn forward at the top of the market and now want the govt to bail them out. Ask Gordon, he seems happy to give any company free money!!!

  4. Frank

    Smoke and Mirrors

    "...and also needs money to buy corn, natural gas, and..."

    Why do they need natural gas? Surely if they can produced the 'wonder fuel of the future' in an economical manner, then they can also power their plant and heat their buildings by using it? Could it be that producing corn-ethanol costs more in energy input than the product can conveniently provide?

    They agreed to buy corn at $7 a bushel and then somehow were disadvantaged when corn went down to $4 a bushel. If they were buying it to feed their ethanol plant then how can a fall in corn price affect their planned operating costs (except to make their accountants feel frustrated) ?

    Oh, maybe they were also gambling on the future price being higher than $7 and making profit from selling on excess corn feed stocks?

  5. Phil

    Definitely worth it!!!

    Funny... I make my own ethanol and I find it profitable and tasty.

    Mine's the one with the clay bottle marked XXXX

  6. Jamie Davis

    In a word... good

    While the whole practice of making bio-ethanol has dubious value, corn is a pretty pants crop for making it. There are a number of alternatives both hardier and with a higher yield of ethanol per hectare.

    Corn, at the end of the day is a valuable food crop and none of the husk goes to waste. Even the core is used to make HFCS - a major cause of obesity as it does not trigger the same "I'm full" feelings as normal sugar.

    The momentum behind corn ethanol is basically the product of misled backing and greedy lobbying.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Oh bugger...

    that means people may have some food on the table this year. Heck, it may even mean that a few less million acres of rain forest are cut down instead of powering the green revoloution...

  8. jake Silver badge

    So let me get this right ...

    The company lost (maybe) US$103million in corn futures ... and is close to 2 billion dollars in debt ... and is trying to blame corn futures on the bankruptcy?

    Maybe (just maybe, mind!) it's because turning corn into ethanol isn't a reliably profitable source of energy^Wincome ... unless you properly age it for a few years, anyway.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good Stuff

    Excellent. Hopefully the others will follow suit ! Producing ethanol from corn is a really really really bad idea.

  10. Chris Hamilton

    Bio-ethanol from corn = Starving millions!

    I'm sorry, but I have no sympathy for these companies. Corn is a highly valuable food stock, in a world where a quarter of the population are hungry.

    Yes, we need to do more to reduce our dependance on fossil fuels, but using a food crop is not the right move.

    I think that until someone masters an effcient method of electrolysis for Hydrogen, GM crops are the way forward for fuel. We could engineer them to grow in places not normally suited for food crops (desert fringes for instance). We could engineer them to grow bigger and faster (maybe we could even get 2 crops a year).

    For now, I will continue to use good old fashioned, just like yer mum used to make, Unleaded.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    daft idea in the first place. Sort out energy for the human body first, them move to transportation.

    I would rather like to see a return to horse and buggy.

    But, frankly most don't need to drive now, we should all be telecommuting, and buying stuff online, this is the 21st century, and we are in a recession people need to start doing the right thing.

  12. Wade Burchette Silver badge


    Well, at least one of them. I want to meet the people who thought it was a good idea (and still thinks it is a good idea) to turn the food we eat and the food we give to farm animals into fuel. Those people are idiots. And I want to let them have it. Because of them, the price for my steak and my milk jumped. Thank you, moron. Forest Gump calls you stupid. (Unfortunately, our Congress calls you smart. Maybe that is why their approval rating is far far below our President.)

  13. Chris


    As a Brit, let me ask: We're talking about maize here, right? not Wheat?

  14. Rob Foster

    Add my comment to the pile - Good riddance...

    Dubya pushed this idiocy because it allowed him to sound like he was doing something without jeopardizing big oil or acknowledging global warming.

    I went as far a researching the Canadian potential. If ALL our corn production (based on 2005 numbers) was converted to ethanol utilizing accepted yield rates it would provide enough fuel to replace 15% of annual gasoline consumption.

    Although when you consider how much food would not be produced as a consequence the fuel production, the percentage would quickly rise as people starved to death. Moronic idea from day one.

    I will also add that the global food grains reserve has fallen year over year for the last several years which means we are not currently growing enough grains to feed the world even without the stupidity of converting it to fuel. Fill your tank = let someone starve. Sometwo if you have a Hummer.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @Jake & Phil - aged corn

    Best use of corn - EVER!

    @Rob Foster - percentage would quickly rise as people starved to death

    So what's the down side again...lower population = lower demand for fuel and lower demand for food

    we are not currently growing enough grains to feed the world - erm, and we have what obligation to do this when there's still people in this side of the world who can't afford to eat...

  16. Anonymous Coward

    @Wade Burchette

    Wade, meet Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). ADM, meet Wade....

  17. Schultz

    Biofuels are so 1st millenia

    Honestly, they burned wood in the good old days. -Some 200 Megapeople had a cozy life collecting and chopping wood, albeit not cozy enough to afford a hummer or related seafood.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I don't get it

    "Corn is a highly valuable food stock, in a world where a quarter of the population are hungry."

    A few years ago food prices were dropping, alarums and excursions, poor peasants will go bankrupt, the world is coming to an end. Now food prices are rising, another round of alarums and excursions, poor people won't be able to eat, the world is coming to an end.

    Just one comment from here: would you knuckleheads please make up your mind as to what the emergency is? I can't bloody keep up. Thankyouverymuch.

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