Ethanol: Corn Hits New High, Verenium Wins Grant

by: Konrad Imielinski

Today's biggest stories surrounding the sector:

1) Uh-Oh! March Corn reached a new all-time high today as it shot up 18 1/4 cents to $5.43 1/4 per bushel. The rise was due to a record setting rally by both gold ($975 per ounce) and oil ($102.59 per barrel) as the U.S. dollar fell to a record low against the Euro. Ethanol on the CBOT managed to rise 3.9 cents to $2.359 per gallon. After today's trading, ethanol's crush spread has fallen to $1.17.

Date CBOT ethanol price CBOT corn price Crush spread
February 28th $2.36 $5.43 $1.17
January 2nd $2.42 $4.62 $2.15
December 18th $2.13 $4.32 $1.66
December 15th $2.08 $4.38 $1.44
November 19th $1.81 $3.94 $1.12
October 16th $1.61 $3.74 $.77
September 1st $1.54 $3.69 $.62

2) Verenium Corporation (NASDAQ:VRNM) was awarded today one of the four grants available by the U.S. Department of Energy to "develop improved enzyme systems to convert cellulosic material into sugars suitable for the production of ethanol." Verenium will receive a nice slice of the $33.8 million available. Earlier in the year, Pacific Ethanol received a similar grant of up to $24.3 million to build a small-scale demonstration plant that will make ethanol out of wood chips.