Flooding in the US Midwest may threaten to impact on carbon dioxide (CO2) production over the next month, gasworld understands.

Production of ethanol has slowed or shut down at plants in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota, areas which have suffered damaged farmland and rail lines.

The widespread flooding has seen a 13% drop in the US’ ethanol production, according to Reuters.

Ethanol is delivered by rail to the Gulf Coast, East Coast and West Coast markets and with the Midwest rail lines washed out, biofuel shipments are being delayed.

Eight million people have been affected by flood warnings, with reports the situation will continue for weeks after a record wet winter.

The CO2 market in the US is known to be largely dependent on bioethanol production, unlike in Europe where it is mostly ammonia dependent, for example. The delay also threatens to push up gasoline pump prices in the US.

Sam Rushing, President at Advanced Cryogenics, Ltd and CO2 expert, told gasworld, “Some CO2 plants operate off the ethanol facilities in Nebraska, however, what I am finding at this moment is the threat to CO2 production may still occur, should the problem continue to hamper rail traffic from the ethanol plants to their destination. One such ethanol producer, which has CO2 recovery by one of the majors, says the successful delivery of ethanol is viewed on a day to day basis.”

“Some feel this problem may remain a month or so, and what further damage to the ethanol shipments due to flooding and trade is an unknown, and may spread. This situation should be monitored over the next few weeks ahead.”

Archer Daniels Midland Co’s plant in Nebraska is one of the plants reported to have scaled back due to the rail line serving the plant being flooded.

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