Cellulosic ethanol

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Cellulose (C6H10O5)n is a complex carbohydrate (a long-chain polymeric polysaccharide of beta-glucose) that forms the main constituent of the cell wall in most plants. It is the most abundant form of living terrestrial biomass. Cellulosic biomass has three primary components: cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Lignin and cellulose, considered together, are termed lignocellulose, which (as wood) is argued to be one of the most common biopolymers on Earth. While most animals, including humans can not digest cellulose, some, particularly ruminants (such as cows) and termites, can digest cellulose with the help of symbiotic micro-organisms.

Relative GHG emissions reduction potentials for ethanol by feedstock type. These estimates refer to direct emissions only, and do not include emissions from land use change. Source: Worldwatch Issue Brief: U.S. Biofuels: Climate Change and Policies (PDF file)

Contents

Cellulosic ethanol

While ethanol production from sugars and starches has been done for thousands of years, the technology to produce ethanol from cellulose is relatively modern and is not yet fully commercialized.

  • The conversion process uses enzymes, like cellulase, to break cellulose down to sugars. It is also possible to produce biofuels from cellulosic feedstocks through gasification and biomass-to-liquids technologies.1
    • The high cost of these enzymes is one of the main limitations on the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol. (Citation needed)
  • Cellulosic ethanol has many advantages however:
  • Cellulosic biomass from fast-growing perennial energy crops, such as short rotation woody crops and tall grass crops, can be grown on a much wider range of soil types, where the extensive root systems that remain in place with these crops help prevent erosion, and increase carbon storage in soil.1
  • Energy crops can often be grown on poorer soils.1
    • However, high biomass yields will only be achieved on good soils with sufficient water supply.1
  • Cellulosic biomass can be easier to store for long periods of time.1

Events

2011

2010

See the archive of past Cellulosic ethanol-related events.

Publications

See books, reports, scientific papers, position papers and websites for additional useful resources.

News

2012

  • Land Matters – Sizing up the bioenergy potential of marginal lands, 5 March 2012 by Greg Breining: “During 2007-8, world food prices exploded…. Many analysts later pinned most of the blame on commodities speculation, oil prices, and weather—not biofuels production. But the food-versus-fuel debate had begun.”
    • “Today, looking beyond corn for ethanol toward the possibility of producing cellulosic and other new biofuels on a meaningful commercial scale, researchers and policymakers are asking: How can we raise new non-food feedstocks without displacing food crops?”
    • “Such concerns have driven the search for abandoned land. J. Elliott Campbell, assistant professor of engineering at the University of California, Merced and colleagues from Stanford University consulted historical land-use data dating to 1700, satellite land-cover imagery, and global ecosystem modeling to identify lands worldwide that had once been farmed but now lay idle.”
      • “Campbell’s and Cai’s assessments identify lands suitable for biofuel crops. That’s not to say they are economically viable. The actual acreage used for biofuel feedstocks will depend on land ownership, transportation costs, markets, prices of other crops, [etc.]…” [2]

2011

  • The Cellulosic Ethanol Debacle, 14 December 2011 by Wall Street Journal: "To launch this biofuel industry, the feds under Mr. Bush and President Obama have pumped at least $1.5 billion of grants and loan subsidies to fledgling producers. Mr. Bush signed an energy bill in 2007 that established a tax credit of $1.01 per gallon produced."
    • "Most important, the Nancy Pelosi Congress passed and Mr. Bush signed a law imposing mandates on oil companies to blend cellulosic fuel into conventional gasoline."
    • "Last year the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the authority to revise the mandates, quietly reduced the 2011 requirement by 243.4 million gallons to a mere 6.6 million."
    • "One reason the mandates can't be met is the half-dozen or so companies that received the first round of subsidies to produce cellulosic fuel never got off the ground."
    • "Because there was no cellulosic fuel available, oil companies have had to purchase 'waiver credits'—for failing to comply with a mandate to buy a product that doesn't exist."
    • "To recap: Congress subsidized a product that didn't exist, mandated its purchase though it still didn't exist, is punishing oil companies for not buying the product that doesn't exist, and is now doubling down on the subsidies in the hope that someday it might exist."[3]
  • RFS: It’s Not Perfect, But It’s Working, 11 October 2011 by Biofuels Digest: "The Renewable Fuel Standard is the key foundation policy supporting the commercial development of advanced biofuels."
    • "It is not working as fast as some would like, but given the current economic situation it is indeed working."
    • "Nevertheless, there is some impatience and disappointment that cellulosic biofuel production has not grown fast enough to meet the aggressive RFS goals. A new report from the National Academies on the RFS is stoking this sentiment."
    • "The National Academies report takes a good hard look at the challenges facing the cellulosic biofuel industry – primarily, the growing and harvesting of sufficient biomass resources and the formation of capital to construct new biorefineries."
    • "The large volume of the advanced biofuels mandate of the RFS permits a number of technologies, feedstocks and strategies to compete for market space, depending on their ability to achieve cost competitiveness and meet end-user needs."
    • "We need to follow a parallel path of commercialization and continued research so we can improve technology and the cost structure as we move forward with building modern biorefineries and creating a new biobased economy."[4]
  • Cellulosic Ethanol Production Far Behind Renewable Fuel Standard, 11 October 2011 by Environment News Service: "The United States is not likely to reach cellulosic ethanol production mandates spelled out in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard by 2022 unless 'innovative technologies are developed or policies change,' says a new congressionally-requested report from the National Research Council."
    • "Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel produced from wood, grasses, or the non-edible parts of plants, such as corncobs or citrus peels."
    • "In 2005, Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard as part of the Energy Policy Act and amended it in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act."
    • "While production of ethanol and biodiesel already exceed the mandate, no commercial cellulosic biofuels plants exist and technologies are at demonstration scale."
    • "But this year cellulosic biofuel output is likely to be 6.6 million gallons, far below the RFS target for 2011 of 250 million gallons, the report points out."
    • "Renewable fuels advocates criticized the NRC committee for is narrow focus and said a broader view of the entire industry is required to accurately evaluate the likelihood of cellulosic biofuel to meet the mandated requirements."[5]
  • Ethanol fuel use goal likely a bust, science panel says, 4 October 2011 by USA Today: "The federal requirement for consuming 36 billion gallons of ethanol and other so-called biofuels annually by 2022 probably won't be met, and it might not reach its goal of cutting greenhouse gases even it were met, according to a report requested by Congress and published Tuesday by the National Academy of Sciences."
    • "Meeting the standard 'would likely increase federal budget outlays as well as have mixed economic and environmental effects,' according to a summary."
    • "The report notes that the way biofuels (mainly ethanol) are produced, and changes in how land is used to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard, will determine whether greenhouse gases (GHG) increase or decrease."
    • "The portion of the requirements dictating the use of 15 billion gallons of fuel mainly from corn ethanol certainly will be met, he says: 'We're at 14 billion today,' and plenty of ethanol plants are in operation. But meeting the requirements for cellulosic biofuels is uncertain, the report says."[6]
  • Senators Reach Deal on Ethanol Subsidy Repeal, Urge Swift Congressional Action for Maximum Benefit, 7 July 2011 by The New York Times: "Bipartisan Senate negotiators today reached a deal to save $1.3 billion through an early repeal of two major ethanol tax benefits, setting what could prove a precedent for more energy-sector tax changes as part of a sprawling deal to raise the nation's debt limit."
    • "The agreement released by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) would end the ethanol blenders' tax credit and the tariff on imported biofuels this month, routing most of the proceeds to deficit reduction while extending tax breaks for infrastructure as well as cellulosic and smaller producers."
    • "But without a House-side buy-in to the deal, its prospects of becoming law -- either as part of a larger measure to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling or as a stand-alone bill -- are slim."
    • "Klobuchar said today that she saw the ethanol accord as a template for a similar tax-benefit compromise with oil and gas companies."
    • "Ethanol interest groups largely hailed the terms of the Senate agreement, which would extend the tax credit for cellulosic production through 2015 with an expansion for algae-based fuels, extend tax incentives for infrastructure through 2014 and extend benefits for smaller ethanol producers through 2012."[7]
  • U.S. Backs Project to Produce Fuel From Corn Waste, 6 July 2011 by The New York Times: "The Energy Department plans to provide a $105 million loan guarantee for the expansion of an ethanol factory in Emmetsburg, Iowa, that intends to make motor fuel from corncobs, leaves and husks."
    • "Experts say that the new factory, being built by POET, a major producer of ethanol derived from corn kernels, could be the first commercial-scale plant to make ethanol from a nonfood, or cellulosic, plant source."
    • "Commercial production of ethanol from waste products like husks is the holy grail of the ethanol industry, and other companies have stumbled in their quest to achieve that goal."
    • "If celluosic ethanol could be produced in an economical fashion, it would vastly increase the American potential to make motor vehicle fuel and reduce use of fossil fuels. It could reduce the use of corn in the manufacture of ethanol as a motor fuel, which is criticized for reducing food supplies for people and animals."[8]
  • Franken, Klobuchar propose end to ethanol subsidies, 5 May 2011 by MPR News: "Minnesota's two U.S. senators, along with lawmakers from other corn-growing states, have introduced a bill that would gradually end tax subsidies for ethanol producers."
    • "Under the proposal, the tax credit for the corn-based fuel would drop from 45 cents a gallon today to 15 cents a gallon by 2013. After that, the size of the credit would be linked to the price of oil."
    • "The bill would maintain support for cellulosic ethanol to promote a transition to those fuels, which don't use corn as a feedstock."
    • "The bill comes as deficit hawks have zeroed in on tax breaks for ethanol as a sign of special interest influence over the federal tax code."
    • "Minnesota produced about 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol least year, about 8 percent of all production in the U.S."[9]
  • Washington Start-Up Promises Cheaper, More Efficient Biofuel Generation, 22 April 2011 by Triple Pundit: "One start-up in Washington state promises that it can develop biodiesel cost effectively with a wide range of feedstocks: everything from wood chips to waste from the pulp and paper industry."
    • "The company uses two fuel processing techniques that can convert wood and other plant-based materials into biodiesel: one is specifically from the pulp and paper industry, the other similar to petroleum refining."
    • "Instead of using enzymes or microbes, the process involves acid hydrolysis, almost identical to a process that the pulp and paper industry uses."
    • "According to Mercurius, a biorefinery using its technology could produce biodiesel at US$0.90 a gallon; that is almost two-thirds less than the cost to make a gallon of cellulosic ethanol, which currently runs about US$2.40 a gallon."[10]
  • IEA: Biofuels could supply 27 per cent of transport fuel by 2050, 21 April 2011 by Business Green: "Up to $13tn (£8tr) of investment is required to ensure that sustainable biofuels make up more than a quarter of all transport fuel by 2050, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) which argues that emerging biofuel technologies could deliver deep cuts in carbon emissions and improvements in energy security."
    • "The Biofuels for Transport report says that most biofuel technologies could cost the same, or even less, than fossil fuels."
    • "Around three billion tonnes of biomass, along with a further billion tonnes of biomass residues and wastes, and supplementary production from around 100 million hectares of land, would be needed each year to meet the 2050 targets set out in the report."
    • "The IEA expects the majority of new biofuels to come from second-generation technologies, such as cellulosic ethanol, which is derived from wood, straw and other waste materials, and can be be produced without eating into agricultural land."[11]
    • Read the full IEA Technology Roadmap: Biofuels for Transport Report (PDF).
  • Shell Shifts Biofuel Technology Focus to Brazil Sugar-Cane Waste, 8 April 2011 by Bloomberg.com: "Shell, Iogen Corp. and Codexis Inc. (CDXS) have been researching enzymes to produce cellulosic ethanol from wheat stalks and sugar-cane bagasse, a sugar industry waste product."
    • "The Anglo- Dutch company has set up a $12 billion venture with Cosan SA Industria & Comercio to produce and market traditional sugar- cane ethanol in Brazil, where it’s used to fuel cars."
    • "The Hague-based Shell, Europe’s largest oil company by market value, expects the share of renewable energy in transport fuels worldwide to double over the next 10 years."
    • "Shell and Cosan, which controls the world’s largest sugar- cane processor, last year agreed to combine ethanol-making and fuel distribution assets in Brazil. Shell agreed to contribute about $1.6 billion of cash and assets including 2,740 service stations, while Cosan put up 23 cane-crushing mills, 1,730 gas stations and other assets."
    • "The cellulosic ethanol technology will let Shell and Cosan further grow fuel output in Brazil. The partners need to scale the process to a pilot project from a demonstration plant to see if it works and that may take as long as five years. If successful, industrial-scale production may start by the end of the decade, according to Shell."[12]
  • Overfertilizing corn undermines ethanol, 25 February 2011 by Rice University News and Media Relations: "Rice University scientists and their colleagues have found that liberal use of nitrogen fertilizer to maximize grain yields from corn crops results in only marginally more usable cellulose from leaves and stems. And when the grain is used for food and the cellulose is processed for biofuel, pumping up the rate of nitrogen fertilization actually makes it more difficult to extract ethanol from corn leaves and stems."
    • "This happens because surplus nitrogen fertilizer speeds up the biochemical pathway that produces lignin, a molecule that must be removed before cellulosic ethanol can be produced from corn stems and leaves."
    • "Lignin breaks down slowly via bacterial enzymes, and it is expensive to remove by chemical or mechanical processes that create a bottleneck in cellulosic ethanol production."
    • "'What we want is a low lignin-to-cellulose ratio,' said co-author Bill Hockaday, a former Rice postdoctoral researcher and now an assistant professor at Baylor University."
    • "Reducing fertilizer to the bare-bones minimum serves that purpose."[14]
  • The Corn Ultimatum: How long can Americans keep burning one sixth the world’s corn supply in our cars?, 24 February 2011 by Climate Progress: "In a world of blatantly increasing food insecurity — driven by population, dietary trends, rising oil prices, and growing climate instability — America’s policy of burning one third of our corn crop in our engines (soon to be 37% or more) is becoming increasingly untenable, if not unconscionable."
    • "Reuters has a good article which notes, 'U.S. ethanol production this year will consume 15 percent of the world’s corn supply, up from 10 percent in 2008.'"
    • "The only reason environmentalists and clean energy advocates even tolerated energy deals with corn ethanol mandates is the hope that jumpstarting the infrastructure for corn ethanol would pave the way for next-generation cellulosic ethanol."[15]
  • A billion tons of biomass a viable goal, but at high price, new research shows, 16 February 2011 by Physorg.com: "A team of researchers led by Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois, shows that between 600 and 900 million metric tons of biomass could be produced in 2030 at a price of $140 per metric ton (in 2007 dollars) while still meeting demand for food with current assumptions about yields, production costs and land availability."
    • "According to the study, not only would this require producing about a billion tons of biomass every year in the U.S., it would also mean using a part of the available land currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program for energy crop production, which could significantly increase biomass production and keep biomass costs low."
    • "The study also contends that the economic viability of cellulosic biofuels depends on significant policy support in the form of the biofuel mandate and incentives for agricultural producers for harvesting, storing and delivering biomass as well as switching land from conventional crops to perennial grasses."[16]
  • Plant closure bursts Ga.’s biomass bubble, 15 February 2011 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "The premise, and the promise, were brilliant in their simplicity: Turn tree waste into fuel, help break the Middle Eastern choke hold on America’s economy and bring hundreds of jobs to rural Georgia."
    • "What wasn’t there to like?"
    • "Plenty, starting with the closing last month of the Range Fuels cellulosic ethanol factory that promised to help make Georgia a national leader in alternative energy production. Then there’s the money — more than $162 million in local, state and federal grants, loans and other subsidies committed to the venture."
    • "Over the last six years, Georgia has successfully wooed a variety of companies specializing in biomass — cellulosic ethanol, corn ethanol, biodiesel, wood pellet, wood-to-electricity — with the goal of becoming a renewable energy leader. Many of the companies, though, are no longer in business."[17]
  • High Per-Acre Productivity of Giant King Grass Promises 40% Reduction in Biofuel Feedstock Costs, 14 February 2011 by PR Newswire: "Test data shows that VIASPACE's proprietary Giant King Grass has essentially the same properties as corn stover and wheat straw, which are current leading candidate feedstocks for making not only cellulosic biofuels but also a wide range of biochemicals."
    • "VIASPACE Chief Executive Dr. Carl Kukkonen commented: 'These initial results show that a ton of Giant King Grass can yield as much bio ethanol as a ton of corn stover. This validates Giant King Grass, a nonfood dedicated energy crop, as a competitive feedstock for producing cellulosic biofuels.'"
    • "'Most importantly, an acre of Giant King Grass yields up to 10 times greater tonnage than an acre of corn stover, which is the stalk and leaves leftover from harvesting an acre of corn,' Kukkonen continued, 'With our high yield, we believe that Giant King Grass can reduce biofuel feedstock costs by up to 40%, even when compared to projected prices for corn straw as agricultural waste.'"[18]
  • The Range Fuels Fiasco, 10 February 2011 by The Wall Street Journal: "As taxpayer tragedies go, Broomfield, Colorado-based Range Fuels has all the plot elements—splashy headlines, subsidies and opportunistic venture capitalists."
    • "Vinod Khosla founded Range Fuels and in March 2007 it received a $76 million grant from the Department of Energy— one of six cellulosic projects the Bush Administration selected for $385 million in grants. Range said it would build the nation's first commercial cellulosic plant, near Soperton, Georgia, using wood chips to produce 20 million gallons a year in 2008, with a goal of 100 million gallons."
    • "By spring 2008, Range had also attracted $130 million of private funding, the largest venture investment in the nation in the first quarter of that year."
    • "In early 2010, the EPA said Range would finally produce some fuel in 2010—but only four million gallons, not 100 million, and of methanol, not cellulosic ethanol."
    • "So taxpayers have committed $162 million (along with at least that much in private financing) to produce four million gallons of a biofuel that others have been making in quantity for decades."[19]
  • Investing in the Future: USDA and DOE Back Biorefinery Development, 2 February 2011 by Biotech-Now.org: "The Agriculture Department has awarded $405 million in loan guarantees to cellulosic biofuel developers."
    • "The guarantees, which will help advanced biofuel companies secure the private equity needed to build commercial facilities, were made under the Biorefinery Assistance Program."
    • "At the same time, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the offer of a $241 million conditional loan guarantee to Diamond Green Diesel, the proposed joint venture between Valero Energy and Darling International."
    • In addition to the USDA loan guarantees, the department’s Advanced Biofuels Payment Program also announced funding for biofuel producers in 33 states. Plus, the Rural Energy for America Program released $1.6 million in grant money for 68 feasibility studies."[20]
  • Is Biomass Clean or Dirty Energy? We Won't Know for 3 Years, 13 January 2011 by Solve Climate News: "The Obama administration put off for another three years a decision on whether to regulate planet-warming gases from biomass power."
    • "The delay leaves wide open a question central to the industry's future: Should turning tree parts into electricity qualify as clean renewable power in the eyes of government regulators, or should biomass emissions be regarded as a source of greenhouse gas pollution?"
    • "Biomass includes plant waste, wood chips, organic debris and whole trees, and industry representatives say burning it is "carbon neutral." They argue that new growth absorbs CO2 and cancels out emissions spewed into the atmosphere from burning the wood."
    • "Conservationists dispute that claim with a very different understanding of what constitutes the natural carbon cycle. Rotting biomass enriches soils, which capture and sequester some of the carbon of the once-living plant tissue. They argue that biomass combustion produces more CO2 than burning fossil fuels — by how much varies depending on the type of materials and how they are transported."
    • "EPA said it would bring the best science to bear on the issues over the next three years. By July 2014, it will decide how to treat biomass under its "tailoring" rule, which determines which polluters are required to account for their emissions under the Clean Air Act."[21]

2010

  • Genetic map for switchgrass published, aids in study of biofuel, August 25 2010 by Andrea Johnson: "As farmers wait to produce new alternative energy crops, some USDA Agri-cultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are uncovering the secrets of switchgrass which, they say, holds so much potential as an alternative energy source."
    • "The USDA ARS Switchgrass team has found that switchgrass produces five times the cellulosic ethanol needed to cover the energy needs required to grow it and make it into fuel."
    • "It is also a perennial that reduces weed pressure and holds soils in place - preventing wind and rain erosion. It sequesters carbon long term, and it can be fed to cattle."
    • "One of the challenges with switchgrass is the need for fertilizer and water - just like corn - to produce maximum yields. Because it’s a perennial, it is challenging to get into the tall grass to apply fertilizer. The more switchgrass is harvested, the more water and fertilizer it needs to continue to thrive."
    • "Scientists hope to modify the cell wall composition of switchgrass to improve its properties for co-firing in a power plant. They also hope to use biotechnology to increase its digestibility and access to enzymes that would produce fermentable sugars for ethanol production."[23]
  • Range Fuels Finally Gets its Cellulosic Plant Running, 18 August 2010 by Renewable Energy World: "After a two year delay, Range Fuels is producing methanol fuel from its commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility in Georgia."
    • "The delay is not out of the ordinary for cellulosic ethanol producers. Because of the technical and financial problems companies have been facing, the Environmental Protection Agency scaled back its 2010 mandate for cellulosic fuels from 100 million gallons to 6.5 million gallons."
    • "Range Fuels has gotten over $100 million from high profile investors over the last few years. The company is producing fuels from woody biomass and grasses by turning the feedstock into a syngas. With its proprietary catalyst, Range produces a variety of alcohols that can be processed into fuels like ethanol and methanol."[24]
  • New CBO Report Examines Biofuels Tax Incentives, 16 July 2010 by Mackinnon Lawrence: "CBO releases report this week assessing biofuel incentives. Study finds that biofuel subsidies, costs associated with reducing petroleum use and GHG emissions vary by fuel."
    • "First, after making adjustments for the different energy contents of the various biofuels and the petroleum fuel used to produce them, the report finds that producers of ethanol made from corn receive 73 cents to provide an amount of biofuel with the energy equivalent to that in one gallon of gasoline. On a similar basis, producers of cellulosic ethanol receive $1.62, and producers of biodiesel receive $1.08."
    • "Second, the report finds reducing petroleum use costs taxpayers anywhere from $1.78 – 3.00 per one gallon of gasoline, again, depending on the type of fuel."
    • "Third, the costs to taxpayers of reducing greenhouse gas emissions varies from $275 per metric ton of CO2e for cellulosic, $300 per metric ton for CO2e for biodiesel, and about $750 per metric ton of CO2e for ethanol . NOTE: the CBO estimates do not reflect any emissions associated with land use change (direct or indirect)."
    • "Domestic Fuel reports this week that the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) asserts the report provides no comparison to other technologies or types of biofuels against the destruction that goes hand in hand with fossil fuel production."[25]
  • Next-Generation Biofuels: Near-Term Challenges and Implications for Agriculture, June 2010 by William Coyle: "Next-generation biofuel companies are using a variety of strategies to overcome high initial capital costs, limited access to low-cost biomass, and other hurdles to remain financially viable during pre-commercial development."
    • "Achieving the U.S. goal to triple biofuel use by 2022 will depend on rapid expansion in cellulosic biofuels, and U.S. agriculture, as a leading source of the Nation’s biomass, will play a significant role in this expansion."
    • "There are more than 30 U.S. companies developing biochemical, thermochemical, and other approaches to produce next-generation fuels. Most of these firms are currently engaged in small-scale production, experimenting with a variety of feedstocks. Most are also focusing on cellulosic ethanol, a fuel identical to corn ethanol—now commonly used as a gasoline additive. Because ethanol provides only two-thirds of the energy of gasoline and faces blending and transportation constraints, some companies are developing products like green gasoline, green diesel, and biobutanol, which are closer substitutes for fossil fuels."
    • "If next-generation biofuels are to play a key role in America’s energy future, a number of challenges must be overcome, foremost of which are reducing costs."[26]
  • New Federal Policies Needed to Jump-Start Clean Advanced Biofuels Industry, 14 June 2010 by The Union of Concerned Scientists: "The federal government needs to adopt a suite of new policies to spur production in the stalled advanced biofuels industry, according to a report, The Billion Gallon Challenge, released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
    • "Advanced cellulosic biofuels – made from grasses, woodchips, wastes and other non-food sources – release dramatically less pollution than gasoline or corn ethanol. Reforming production tax credits for biofuels and providing new loan guarantees, investment tax credits and other financial incentives would spark investment in cellulosic biofuels, cut oil consumption, reduce global warming pollution, and ultimately save taxpayers money, the report found."
    • "Currently, cellulosic biofuels are falling far short of the mandated levels. In 2010, the standard requires fuel suppliers, largely oil companies, to purchase 100 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had to lower this target to just 6.5 million gallons due to a lack of supply."[27]
  • DOE, USDA Announce Funding for Biomass Research and Development Initiative, 6 May 2010, press release by the Department of Energy: "The U.S. Departments of Energy (DOE) and Agriculture (USDA) today jointly announced up to $33 million in funding for research and development of technologies and processes to produce biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products, subject to annual appropriations."
    • "DOE also released today a new video which showcases how cellulosic biofuel technologies can help decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil, spur growth in the domestic biofuels industry, and provide new revenue opportunities to farmers in many rural areas of the country."
    • "The video, shot at a harvesting equipment demonstration in Emmetsburg, Iowa, highlights a new way of producing ethanol from the cellulose fibers in corn cobs, not from the corn kernels. The technology generates a new opportunity for farmers to harvest and sell the cobs that they’d normally leave in the field."[29]
  • Canadian government orders biofuels study, April 2010 by Holly Jessen, Ethanol Producers Magazine:"Environment Canada solicited companies to complete an assessment of the ecological footprint of biofuel production facilities in Canada."
    • "The Canadian government is following through with its commitment to establish regulations for renewable fuels in the fuel supply... 'The strategy requires 5 percent renewable content of gasoline by 2010,' the spokesperson said. 'Canada also intends to implement a requirement for 2 percent renewable content in diesel fuel and heating oil by 2011, or earlier, subject to technical feasibility.'"
    • "Not long after Environment Canada called for companies to submit proposals for the study, the Canadian government passed out funding to 16 clean technology companies. Sustainable Development Technology Canada announced $58 million in funding, $13 million of which was earmarked for proposed cellulosic ethanol plant projects. "[30]
  • Bill To Extend Ethanol Tax Credit Reignites Fuel vs. Food Debate, 25 March 2010 by SustainableBusiness.com: "A bill introduced in the US House last week would extend ethanol tax credits for another five years, to 2015. This tax credit is set to expire on December 31, 2010."
    • "The Renewable Fuels Reinvestment Act (RFRA), introduced by Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and and John Shimkus (R-IL), has reignited the fuel versus food debate and intensified scrutiny on the EPA's regulations on the environmental impact of corn-based ethanol."
    • "The bill would extend the $0.45 Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), commonly called the blenders’ credit, and a secondary tariff on imported ethanol from countries like Brazil. It would also extend the Small Producers Tax Credit and the Cellulosic Ethanol Production Tax Credit to January 1, 2016."[32]

See the archive of past Cellulosic ethanol-related news


References

1Biofuels for Transportation (draft) (2006, Worldwatch Institute), p.10-12. Used with permission.

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