Florida will soon be home to the nation's first ethanol pipeline.
The 104-mile Central Florida Pipeline has carried gasoline from the Port of Tampa to the Orlando International Airport since 1965. Workers have been upgrading the 16-inch pipeline in preparation for its first batch of ethanol, slated for the third quarter of this year.
The booming U.S. ethanol industry is watching the project closely. If successful, it could lead to a boom in ethanol pipeline projects nationwide, since shipping by pipeline is significantly cheaper than shipping by train, barge or truck.
"It's a test for us, and everybody else, to see if we can make it work," said Joe Hollier, spokesman for Kinder Morgan. "It will be a big advantage if we are able to move ethanol by pipeline, obviously."
Kinder Morgan's Central Florida Pipeline Co. has already begun cleaning the pipeline and replacing seals, gaskets, pumps and other equipment. Kinder Morgan, based in Houston, is one of the largest pipeline and terminal operators in the United States. The company plans regular shipments by the end of the year.