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Contents

Background

Liquid biofuel use in the United States

Ethanol

  • The United States is the world's largest producer of ethanol, with an annual production capacity in 2008 of 8.06 billion gallons.[2]
  • The United States produced and consumed approximately 5 billion gallons in 2006, an increase of about 28% over 2005, when about 3.9 billion gallons were produced.2
  • Almost all of domestically produced ethanol was produced from corn, utilizing 20% of the US total corn crop.1
  • By energy, ethanol accounted for approximately 1.5% of US crude oil consumption and 2% of gasoline consumption.1
  • There are at least 73 ethanol plants under construction and another 8 facilities expanding. This could bring ethanol capacity in the United States to 11.4 billion gallons per year by 2008-09 or before1.
  • E85 use is being promoted, for use in flex-fuel cars. However, E85 is available at less than 0.5% of gasoline retailers.[3]

Biodiesel

Initiatives

  • 25x'25 - a multi-sectoral initiative to promote the vision that "By 2025, America's working lands will provide 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States while continuing to produce abundant, safe and affordable food, feed, fiber and fuel."[5]

Policies

The United States government has a number of policies in place to promote the use of biofuels. Discussion is important in determining the merits of these policies and the impacts that increased biofuel use may have on biodiversity, climate change, food versus fuel issues and land use.

American Clean Energy and Security Act supporters rally in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on 24 June 2009 to show their support for the proposed climate legislation.

National-level laws and policies

  • Farm Bill
    • Section 9006 - USDA Announces Grant and Loan Guarantee Availability for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects.

Subsidies

Tax credits

A federal tax credit instituted in 2004 that provides a tax credit of $0.51 per gallon of renewable fuel sold through the end of 2010.

Tariffs

  • 54 cent tariff on ethanol imports, renewed until January 1, 2009. (source: [8] Needs bill number etc.)

Proposed laws and policies

Policy Proposed under Bush Administration

  • President's Twenty in Ten plan to cut gasoline consumption by 20% in ten years
  • Proposed national laws and policies
    • Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act (S. 2025 & H.R. 4409).
      • Intended to reduce demand for oil "by 36% in 25 years" through "1) boosting efficiency in heavy trucks, tires and cars; 2) dramatically ramping up production and distribution of alternative fuels; and 3) funding for more transit in targeted areas." (Source: "The Heat Is On" by Deron Lovaas, Natural Resources Defense Council)

Policy Proposed under Obama Administration

Information in this section has been moved to the Policies of the Obama Administration page.

State-level laws and policies

Northeastern U.S. pine forest. Selectively harvested biomass from forests can be transformed into different forms of bioenergy.

Detailed information on individual states see California and New York .

Proposed state laws

Issues

National security/Energy security

Some who advocate for the increased use of biofuels claim that it is a matter of national security -- that the production of biofuels in the United States will decrease the need for foreign oil, much of which is imported from potentially volatile regions or hostile nations.

  • Opinions on this issue
    • U.S. Representative Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., while speaking about extending the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, said: "This is a bipartisan bill that will promote not only economic growth but also the transformation of our energy industry from one that is reliant on foreign oil to one that is based on energy that's grown in farm fields in the heartland of America." (Source: Article by CSP)
    • "Through alternative energy use, improved technological efficiencies and biofuel development," [Navy Secretary] Mabus said, "we are going to improve the range and endurance of our ships and our aircraft, reduce their reliance on a vulnerable supply chain, and create a resistance to the external shocks that come from overreliance on a fragile global oil infrastructure." (Source: Article in Honolulu Advertiser)

Organizations

Government Organizations

  • Woody Biomass Users Group (Woody BUG) - The Woody BUG is an interagency group involving five federal departments and at least seven agencies (including USDA and the Forest Service). The Woody BUG is chartered under the Biomass R&D Board, an executive level interagency group working to coordinate biomass research, development and deployment.

Companies

Non-profit Organizations

Industry organizations

Go here for a list of industry organizations.

Renewable portfolio standard goals for the United States from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency. Figure courtesy of the World Resources Institute (September 2009). [1].

News

Note: The most recent U.S. news is posted here; for older U.S.-related news, visit the United States news archive page.

2012

  • EPA palm oil analysis draws support, criticism as comments close, 26 April 2012 by Erin Voegele for Biodiesel Magazine: "The public comment period for the U.S. EPA’s palm oil pathway assessment under the renewable fuel standard (RFS2) closes April 27. As the deadline approaches, groups representing both sides of the issue are speaking out in an effort to sway the EPA’s final decision on the matter."
    • "As the deadline approaches, parties arguing in support and opposition of the EPA’s findings are speaking out. Robert Shapiro, chairman and co-founder of Sonecon LLC, a firm that advises organizations on market conditions and economic policy, is one of the people who has submitted comments opposing the EPA’s analysis of palm oil biofuels."
      • "First, he questions the accuracy of the agency’s method to predict indirect land use change (ILUC), noting that without the highly unreliable inclusion of ILUC data, palm oil-based biodiesel and renewable diesel would meet the prescribed RFS2 thresholds."
      • "He also states that his analysis has found that the EPA’s assumption that palm oil yields will not increase in the future is false. He also stated that the EPA’s calculated 'midpoints' for its projected range of emissions effects are inaccurate."
    • "However, there are also individuals and groups that are arguing that the EPA’s analysis was too lenient, and the actually GHG emissions associated with palm oil biofuels are much higher. A group of scientific and environmental groups, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, is set to submit a public comment on the issue April 27 agreeing with EPA’s assessment that these fuels don’t meet RFS2 GHG reduction thresholds, and also arguing that the agency’s GHG assessments are too low."
      • "According to Jeremy Martin, senior scientist for the UCS’ Clean Vehicles Program, the EPA’s analysis underestimates the serious environmental problems caused by palm oil production. 'We’ve done a thorough review of EPA’s analysis and have found that in several important areas they did substantially underestimate the emissions,' Martin said. 'We’ve provided EPA with data substantiating more appropriate values.' Using those new values, Martin said the analysis shows palm oil biofuels actually result in more GHG emissions than petroleum-based fuels. He also brought up issues associated with food production and the long history of deforestation associated with palm oil production." [9]
  • EPA takes steps to bring new biofuel blend to the pumps 4 April 2012 by Michael Ahene for Medill Reports - Chicago, Northwestern University: "Fuel companies can move ahead with the production and distribution of a new ethanol blended gasoline that may save motorists hundreds at the pump each year."
    • "The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday approved the first applications granting fuel manufacturers the ability to distribute a gasoline and ethanol blend called E15."
    • "The majority of gas stations in the U.S. already offer a gasoline blend containing 10 percent ethanol. The new mixture proposed by the ethanol industry will increase the amount of ethanol allowed in hybrid gasoline mixes to 15 percent, creating a second, higher octane option for drivers with biofuel capable vehicles."
    • "“'We’re very pleased with the news,' said Jim Nussle, president of the trade group Growth Energy that represents U.S. producers and supporters of ethanol. 'It’s one more step to get E15 in the market place.'” [10]
  • 7 states fight California rule over ethanol carbon scores 19 March 2012 by Adam Belz for USA TODAY: "A California rule assigning higher carbon scores to fuel produced outside the state has drawn the ire of the ethanol industry and the Midwestern states that produce most of the ethanol in the U.S."
    • "At least seven states — Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota— are opposing California's effort to enforce the mandate, which critics say threatens the renewable fuels business in the nation's grain belt."
    • "In December, a federal judge blocked California's Air Resources Board from enforcing the regulation, which encourages refiners to blend gasoline with ethanol produced in Brazil or California. The California rule considers Midwestern ethanol to have a larger carbon footprint. The judge said the rule unconstitutionally interferes with interstate commerce. California officials are appealing the decision."
    • "The rule hinges on the concept of indirect land use change, Thorne said. The idea is that if farmers in the U.S. sell their grain for ethanol, farmers in other parts of the world must grow more corn for the food supply, pumping more carbon into the atmosphere, he said."
    • "Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who said the regulation threatens $1.3 billion in annual ethanol sales from his state alone, called the indirect land use change a "highly controversial and undeveloped theory," in a brief signed by attorneys general from five other states."[11]
  • Coconut and mango waste could help power Asia 22 March 2012 by Syful Islam for SciDev.Net: "[DHAKA] Researchers in the United States say agricultural waste from coconut and mango farming could generate significant amounts of off-grid electricity for rural communities in South and South-East Asia."
  • "Many food crops have a tough, inedible part which cannot be used to feed livestock or fertilise fields. Examples of this material — known as ['endocarp'] — include coconut, almond and pistachio shells, and the stones of mangoes, olives, plums, apricots and cherries... Endocarp is high in a chemical compound known as lignin. High-lignin products can be heated to produce an energy-rich gas that can be used to generate electricity."
  • The researchers identified high-endocarp-producing regions of the world – and noted that coconut and mango agriculture account for 72 per cent of total global endocarp production. Coconut production alone accounted for 55 per cent... Most coconut endocarp comes from South and South-East Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • They then overlaid these findings with energy consumption data to identify communities with little access to electricity, who could benefit from endocarp-based energy.
  • [Tom] Shearin [co-author and a systems analyst at University of Kentucky] said endocarp was preferable to crop-based biofuels as it had no value as a food item. "Its exploitation as energy source does not compete with food production," he said. [12]
  • Joint BioEnergy Institute team engineers E. coli to overproduce diesel-range methyl ketones; may be appropriate for blendstock, 15 March 2012 by Green Car Congress: "Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have engineered Escherichia coli bacteria to overproduce saturated and monounsaturated aliphatic methyl ketones in the C11 to C15 (diesel) range from glucose. In subsequent tests, these methyl ketones yielded high cetane numbers, making them promising candidates for the production of advanced biofuels or blendstocks."
    • "The team, led by Dr. Harry Beller, found that it was possible to increase the methyl ketone titer production of E. coli more than 4,500-fold relative to that of a fatty acid-overproducing E. coli strain by using a relatively small number of genetic modifications. Methyl ketone titers in the best producing strains were in the range of 380 mg/L."
    • "A paper describing this work was published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Co-authoring this paper were Ee-Been Goh, who is the first author on the paper, plus Edward Baidoo and Jay Keasling." [13]
  • Ethanol industry lurches in wake of lost subsidy, oversupply, 28 February 2012 by Minnesota Public Radio: "After predicting they would survive the end of a major federal subsidy without problems, it looks like officials at the nation's ethanol producers may have been too optimistic."
    • "Since the subsidy ended Dec. 31, ethanol profit margins have declined sharply, even slipping into negative territory. Experts see no quick turnaround in sight...."
    • "The loss of the 45-cent-per-gallon federal tax break marks a major change in the economics of ethanol. It also created a double whammy beginning with the closing months of last year, when ethanol producers saw a rush of buyers for the last of a subsidized product."[14]
  • Biomass Supply and Carbon Accounting for Southeastern Forests , 14 February 2012 by National Wildlife Federation: "A new study of southeastern forests in the U.S. finds that in the long run, burning wood instead of fossil fuels to make electricity can reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but not soon enough to prevent worsening the conditions leading to global climate change."
    • "...[T]he southeastern United States has seen recent interest in significantly expanding the biomass energy sector, including building new power plants, co-firing with coal power in existing plants, pellet manufacture for export to Europe, and producing cellulosic ethanol. While some look to these developments and see promise, others look with great concern at pressures on the region’s forests, implications for forest health and sustainable wood supply, and impacts on cumulative greenhouse gas emissions...."
    • "...[T]his study seeks to address two key questions relevant to the biomass electric power sector in this region of the country:
      • "How much biomass (primarily wood) is available on a sustainable basis to source the expanding southeastern biomass electric power sector? And, what is the potential of public policy to create demands that exceed sustainable supply levels?
      • "How will the increased use of forest biomass for electric power generation in the Southeast affect atmospheric carbon over time, and how does biomass energy compare to several fossil fuel energy alternatives in terms of cumulative GHG emissions over time?"[15]
    • Download the report: Biomass Supply and Carbon Accounting for Southeastern Forests (PDF file)
  • Biodiesel industry tries to limit damage from fake credits scandal, 6 February 2012 by Platts: "US biodiesel producers fear the recent scandal uncovering phony renewable fuel credits could erode support for the federal energy policy at a crucial time in its implementation."
    • "National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe on Monday urged opponents of the Renewable Fuel Standard to avoid the temptation to use the fake credits as a weapon to bludgeon the mandate, which requires an increasing share of biofuels get blended into the US transportation fuel supply."
    • "Federal investigators and the Environmental Protection Agency's compliance division have flagged two sellers of renewable identification numbers (RINs), codes that should correspond with actual biofuel production to satisfy renewable energy mandates. In November, EPA declared invalid 32.3 million biodiesel credits sold by Clean Green Fuels of Maryland. Last week, the agency tossed out 48.1 million biodiesel credits sold by Absolute Fuels of Texas."[16]
  • Location key to calculating biofuel carbon footprint, 4 February 2012 by SciGuru.com: “The US government has set a target for producing cellulosic ethanol of nearly 40 billion litres each year by 2020. The perennial grass Miscanthus x giganteus is one potential source… But the climate impact of using the grass to make cellulosic ethanol depends on how and where it's grown, processed and transported. With that in mind, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, US, have assessed the optimum conditions for producing the fuel, using six different scenarios.”
    • “The team found that, provided indirect land-use change (ILUC) was successfully minimized or mitigated, the major factors affecting the greenhouse-gas emissions of cellulosic ethanol production were the amount of soil carbon emitted or stored during growth of the grass, and greenhouse-gas offset credits for electricity exported to the grid by biorefineries.”
    • "What also became increasingly clear to us is the importance of location; where the biomass is grown, where the biorefineries are located, and by what mode and how far both the biomass and ethanol product must be transported are all key to assessing the environmental impacts," said Scown. "These are all unknowns for an industry such as cellulosic ethanol production that has yet to develop on a commercial scale."[17]
    • Read the article, Lifecycle greenhouse gas implications of US national scenarios for cellulosic ethanol production, published in Environmental Research Letters (ERL).
  • EPA Rejects Palm-Oil Based Biodiesel for Renewable Fuels Program, 27 January 2012 by Business Week: "The Environmental Protection Agency said that biodiesel made from palm oil doesn’t meet the requirements to be added to its renewable fuels program because its greenhouse-gas emissions are too high."
    • "In a regulatory filing today, the EPA said that palm-oil biodiesel, which is primarily produced in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, provides reductions of as much as 17 percent in greenhouse-gas emissions compared to traditional diesel fuel, falling short of a 20 percent reduction necessary to qualify under the law."
    • "By failing to meet that threshold, oil companies can’t use palm fuels to meet national renewable fuel standards. Other fuels they can use are made from soy beans, animal fat, recycled cooking grease or similar materials...."
    • "Environmental groups, which are locked in a fight with the EPA over its approval of corn-based ethanol under the same program, praised the decision as an important marker by the agency. Palm-oil production has led to the deforestation of 6.5 million hectares (16.1 million acres) in Malaysia and Indonesia, according to Friends of the Earth."[18]
  • U.S. became world’s top ethanol exporter in 2011 January 18, 2012 by Fuel Fix: “The United States became the world’s leading exporter of ethanol in 2011, selling a record level of the biofuel into overseas markets, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.”
    • “Through November, the United States exported 1.02 billion gallons of ethanol in 2011, in denatured and undenatured forms. That’s more than double the volume exported in all of 2010, about 400 million gallons, according to the Renewable Fuels Association, the ethanol industry’s trade group.
    • “'Prior to 2010, it was rare for the U.S. to export much ethanol at all. Then in 2011, it just exploded,' said Geoff Cooper, vice president of research for the Renewable Fuels Associations. 'The U.S. is far and away the leading exporter of ethanol worldwide.'”
    • Brazil has long held that title, but its ethanol market has suffered from high prices and short supplies in recent years, Cooper said. Brazil produces its ethanol from sugarcane, which has been in short supply because of unfriendly weather. The shortage has made it a much more expensive ethanol feedstock compared to corn.”
    • ”Brazil 'has left a void on the world market and the U.S. has filled that void,' Cooper said, adding that the new role likely will continue through 2012. 'We do expect continued strength in the export market because it is going to take Brazil some time to get back on its feet and be a leading exporter.'” [[19]

2011

  • Brazil, short of biofuel, can't open spigot to US, 30 December 2011 by Reuters: "For three decades, the U.S. government sought to protect American corn farmers and ethanol makers from a feared flood of Brazilian imports by imposing a tariff that had the South American country crying foul."
    • "With Brazil's ethanol industry struggling to meet booming local demand, it's U.S. producers instead who are shipping millions of gallons to the south."
    • "Three factors have converged to push Brazil's ethanol distilleries to the limit. Sugarcane production fell this year for the first time in a decade, reducing supplies; global demand for sugar has remained strong; and domestic motor-fuel demand has surged, straining local gasoline and ethanol supply."
    • "That should come as a relief to U.S. farmers who have fought to protect their subsidized corn ethanol market from producers in Brazil, whose tropical sun and cheap land allow abundant production of sugarcane, a much more efficient biofuel feedstock than corn."
    • "Cellulosic ethanol and biomass biodiesel made in the United States are also considered advanced biofuels, but supplies of these fuels have been too low to fill demand. The resulting price increase allowed certified Brazilian ethanol to compete despite the tariff."[20]
  • Biofuel Subsidies Need Reform, 27 December 2011 by The Energy Collective: "Americans want the U.S. to lead the world in renewable energy, but these are screwy times in our nation’s capital. Some people are trying to turn clean, renewable energy into something dirty."
    • "That’s the case with the impending expiration of the main corn ethanol tax credit."
    • "Despite Norquist’s initial defense of the subsidy, at the end of the day, not even the millions the corn ethanol industry spent on lobbying could stand up against the evidence: the VEETC was redundant and wasteful, throwing billions in scarce taxpayer dollar towards another dirty fuel."
    • "The first and most important step in moving towards the biofuels we need is to stop funding mature, conventional, and dirty biofuels."
    • "Second, the entrepreneurs and innovators in the advanced biofuels industry all say that the Renewable Fuel Standard is critical to getting their fuels out of the lab and into the market place. But to be effective, the RFS and its implementation need to be strengthened and improved over time."
    • "And finally, we need to reform biofuel tax credits so that American taxpayers get real clean energy for their money."[21]
  • 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."[22]
  • Congress ‘lost faith’ in advanced bioenergy, key lawmaker says, 6 December 2011 by Des Moines Register: "Programs the Obama administration has been pushing to promote next-generation biofuels are likely to have little funding in the next farm bill, according to the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Collin Peterson."
    • "He said that the failure of Congress to pass legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions killed off support for agricultural energy programs."
    • "The failure of projects like the Range Fuels biofuels project in Georgia didn’t help either."
    • "Peterson also faulted environmentalists for opposing corn ethanol while promoting advanced biofuels made from non-food feedstocks such as cornfield residue, perennial grasses, or the wood chips from which Range Fuels was going to make fuel."
    • "A farm bill that the congressional agriculture committees drafted this fall would bar the Agriculture Department from providing subsidies for ethanol industry infrastructure. The bill would allow continued subsidies for farmers who provide corn cobs and other feedstocks to biofuel plants but there is no funding earmarked for the payments."[23]
  • U.S. Biofuel Camelina Production Set to Soar, 5 December 2011 by OilPrice.com: "Biofuel sources currently under development include algae, jatropha and camelina. Of the three, camelina is increasingly emerging as the frontrunner in attracting initial investment worldwide, as global demand for aviation fuel for passenger flights is now more than 40 billion gallons annually."
    • "Camelina has a number of advantages over its competitors, including using far less water, thus allowing it to be grown on marginal land, thereby not taking food acreage out of production."
    • "Furthermore camelina has a relatively short growing season of 80 to 100 days, requires no special equipment to harvest, and the silage remaining after processing can be fed to livestock and poultry, with the added side benefit of increasing their omega-3 production."
    • "Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has given camelina production a major shot in the arm by selecting 40 counties in Montana for a pilot program of federally backed camelina crop insurance."
    • "Among the customers lining up for camelina JP-8 aviation fuel will be the U.S. armed forces, which have spent the last two years extensively testing camelina’s suitability, with the U.S. Air Force earlier this certifying camelina biofuel for use in its fleet of Globemaster transport aircraft."[24]
  • Navy’s Big Biofuel Bet: 450,000 Gallons at 4 Times the Price of Oil, 5 December 2011 by Wired.com: "The Navy just signed deals to buy 450,000 gallons of biofuels — arguably the biggest purchase of its kind in U.S. government history....But at approximately $15 per gallon — nearly four times the price of traditional fuel — the new fuels won’t come cheap."
    • "The $12-million purchase, expected for months, will all be used this summer off the coast of Hawaii. There, supersonic F/A-18 jets will launch from the deck of an aircraft carrier, powered by fuels fermented from algae. A 9,000-ton destroyer and a cruiser will join it on a voyage across the Pacific, using fuel made from fats and greases."
    • "If it works, the Green Fleet will not only be poised for a full alt-fuel deployment in 2016. Mabus will be much closer to his promise of obtaining half of the Navy’s fuel from alternative sources by 2020. And the often-struggling biofuels industry will be a lot closer to proving its viability."
    • "Mabus notes that this 450,000-gallon buy — while comparatively large for military biofuels — is still tiny compared to the amount of fuel the Navy and the commercial airline industries consume. He’s promised that as the Navy buys more fuel, economies of scale will kick in, and prices will drop. But an MIT study of alternative jet fuels, conducted in association with the Navy, found that even under optimal conditions — with dozens of refineries up and running — the price of bio jet fuel would still be twice as high as the cost of the traditionally made stuff. (That study examined vegetable oil as a biofuel feedstock, and the Navy is a using different process this time around; but many of the same issues still apply, regardless.)"[25]
  • E.U. plans probe of U.S. bioethanol subsidies: diplomats, 15 November 2011 by Reuters: "The European Union's trade authority plans to start an investigation into whether U.S. bioethanol exporters are receiving unfair state subsidies and selling their fuel to Europe at illegally low prices, diplomats said on Tuesday."
    • "The European Commission investigation could result in import tariffs as early as next year on hundreds of millions of litres of the fuel if EU officials unearth evidence of unfair trade practices in the United States."
    • "Specifically, trade officials will investigate EU industry allegations that tax credits in the United States allow its exporters to cut their EU selling price by about 40 percent, the diplomats said."
    • "U.S. producers defend the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, which provides a 45-cent-a-gallon tax credit to ethanol blenders, as essential to propping up a fledgling industry."
    • "The U.S.-based Renewable Fuels Association has dismissed any action that aims to penalise the scheme, saying it is likely to run out anyway by the end of this year."[26]
  • Companies cited by EPA for fake biofuel credits, 15 November 2011 by Reuters: "The EPA has issued 24 notices of violation to more than a dozen companies, including units of Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil and Morgan Stanley, for the use of invalid renewable identification numbers, or RINs, according to the EPA website."
    • "To encourage renewable fuel output, the government requires U.S. oil companies to produce a certain amount of renewable fuel, or to purchase the RIN credits from producers of renewable fuels."
    • "The companies were cited by EPA for using fake credits purchased from Clean Green Fuel LLC. That company's owner, Rodney Hailey, has been charged with carrying out a $9 million scam involving the distribution of 32 million invalid credits."
    • "The EPA said in a statement that it was in discussions on how to move forward with each company that was issued a notice of violation and with industry officials on the issues raised by invalid renewable energy credits."
    • "'Enforcement of the renewable fuel requirements helps protect the program's integrity and maintain a level playing field for regulated companies,' the agency said."[27]
  • US must stop promoting biofuels to tackle world hunger, says thinktank, 11 October 2011 by The Guardian: "A new report, the Global Hunger Index, warned that US government support for corn ethanol was a major factor behind this year's food price spikes – and was projected to fuel further volatility in food prices over the next decade."
    • "Although the report noted some improvements over the past 20 years, 26 countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, are still at extreme risk of hunger including Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Eritrea."
    • "But the report also suggested that efforts to reduce world hunger would be constrained without action on climate change and changes in US and European government policies promoting the use of food stocks as fuel."
    • "In practical terms, this means countries that import food – especially those in sub-Saharan Africa which import a greater share of their food – are at the mercy of US domestic policies governing corn ethanol."
    • "US policies encouraging corn ethanol production, such as subsidies and mandates, ensure more corn is grown for fuel rather than food – especially when oil prices are high."[28]
  • Brazil Lacks Cane to Boost Fuel Exports, Senator Says, 7 November 2011 by BusinessWeek: "Brazilian sugar cane companies, which are preparing to boost ethanol exports to the U.S., don’t produce enough of the renewable fuel to do so, a lawmaker said."
    • "U.S. oil companies, which must comply with government mandates to blend environmentally friendly biofuels, are expected to expand their use of sugar-cane ethanol next year, and more than 100 Brazilian mills are preparing to deliver it."
    • "Under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard, U.S. oil companies must blend into standard fuel 2 billion gallons (7.58 billion liters) of 'advanced biofuels' next year, Alejandro Zamorano Cadavid, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New York, said in a telephone interview."
    • "Advanced biofuels must emit at least 50 percent less carbon dioxide than the petroleum-based products they replace, through their entire life cycle, including growing the crops, processing it into fuel and transporting it to the gas pump. Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol meets that standard, while U.S. corn-based ethanol does not, he said."
    • "About 107 Brazilian ethanol mills had registered with the EPA at the beginning of October to export fuel to the U.S., up from 55 in February, the Sao Paulo-based cane industry association Uniao da Industria de Cana-de-Acucar said Oct. 19."[29]
  • Biofuel from West Coat forests would increase carbon emissions, 26 October 2011 by Western Farm Press: "The largest and most comprehensive study yet done on the effect of biofuel production from West Coast forests has concluded that an emphasis on bioenergy would increase carbon dioxide emissions from these forests at least 14 percent, if the efficiency of such operations is optimal."
    • "The study was published in Nature Climate Change, by scientists from the College of Forestry at Oregon State University and other institutions in Germany and France. It was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy."
    • "During the past four years, the study examined 80 forest types in 19 eco-regions in Oregon, Washington and California, ranging from temperate rainforests to semi-arid woodlands."
    • "The study examined thousands of forest plots with detailed data and observations, considering 27 parameters, including the role of forest fire, emissions savings from bioenergy use, wood product substitution, insect infestations, forest thinning, energy and processes needed to produce biofuels, and many others."
    • "Plans for greenhouse gas reduction call for up to 10 percent lower emissions by 2020, and forest-derived fuels are now seen as a carbon-neutral solution to reducing energy emissions, the researchers note. However, this study suggests that increases in harvest volume on the West Coast, for any reason, will instead result in average increases in emissions above current levels."[30]
  • Tanzania: Rising Food Prices Affect Biofuel Projects, 24 October 2011 by AllAfrica.com: "United States Department of Agriculture Chief Advisor for Government, Academia and Industry Partnership, Cindy Smith and Deputy Coordinator for Feed the Future Initiative, Tjada McKenna argued last week that use of corn in biofuel manufacturing to drive vehicles consumes less than one per cent of the country's annual production."
    • "Both the US and EU adopted energy policies between 2008 and 2010 which targets to source up to 20 per cent of their energy needs from renewable sources."
    • "In its recent report titled, 'Meal per gallon,' an international charity, ActionAid estimated that the EU plan to source 10 per cent of transport fuels from biofuels would increase competition for agricultural lands and spur a sharp rise in food prices."
    • "The report argues that cropland expansion (17.5 million hectares will be needed in developing countries to meet the EU's 10 per cent target) will come at the expense of tropical forests and peatlands, worsening climate change."[31]
  • Magnetic algae make biofuels sticky, 21 October 2011 by MSNBC: "Scientists at a government lab in New Mexico have created what appear to be magnetic algae, a breakthrough that could lower the cost of harvesting biofuels from the microscopic plants."
    • "Current techniques for extracting algae from the ponds where they are grown include sound waves and the addition of chemicals that cause the algae to clump together, a process known as flocculation."
    • "These techniques account for about 30 percent of the total cost of algae-based biofuel production, Pulak Nath at the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory noted, and 'is one of the limiting steps for algae fuel from becoming cost competitive to fossil fuels.'"
    • "Permanent magnets are inexpensive. In theory, algae biofuel systems could flow algae-filled water through a tank lined with the magnets and the algae will get separated from the water, Nath explained."
    • "The research, he cautioned, is in the early stages. So far, they've created one species of magnetic algae. Going forward, they will try to transfer the gene to more candidates for algae biofuel production."[32]
  • Fat Replaces Oil for F-16s as Biofuels Head to War, 18 October 2011 by Bloomberg Businessweek: "Biofuels face their biggest test yet -- whether they can power fighter jets and tanks in battle at prices the world’s best-funded military can afford."
    • "The U.S. Air Force is set to certify all of its 40-plus aircraft models to burn fuels derived from waste oils and plants by 2013, three years ahead of target, Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary Kevin Geiss said. The Army wants 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. The Navy and Marines aim to shift half their energy use from oil, gas and coal by 2020."
    • "Yet the U.S., stung by an oil embargo during the 1973 Arab- Israeli war, won’t deploy biofuels beyond testing until prices tumble."
    • "The armed forces say they’ve been successful testing fuels produced from sources as diverse as animal fat, frying oils and camelina, an oil-bearing plant that’s relatively drought- and freeze-resistant."
    • "The military wants its vehicles, except for the ships that are nuclear-powered, to be able to use new combustibles, cutting fossil fuel imports from politically unstable nations."[33]
  • 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."[34]
  • 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."[35]
  • More Job-Creating Biomass Crop Projects Announced Recently, 7 October 2011 by EESI: "Over the summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the establishment of nine new biomass production project areas across the U.S. as part of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)."
    • "However, the agency is rapidly running out of funds for new project areas, and the House has zeroed out funding for the program for FY12."
    • "Developing next generation biofuels and bioenergy will help create jobs, reduce U.S. dependence on petroleum and other fossil fuels, help keep more of the nation’s energy dollars invested here at home, and help rural America grow its way out of recession."
    • "Commercial scale bioenergy production requires bringing together biomass producers and bioenergy producers within a close radius so as to minimize the cost of transporting large volumes of bulky biomass."
    • "A bioenergy plant will not be built if there is not an adequate supply of biomass nearby, but biomass producers will not begin planting biomass crops or harvesting biomass residues until they are assured that a nearby bioenergy plant will buy their biomass."[36]
  • Biofuel push a bust, report hints, 5 October 2011 by John Roach for MSNBC: "Unless a major technological breakthrough occurs in the next few years, a U.S. government push to put 16 billions of gallons of cellulosic biofuel into gas tanks annually by 2022 will be a bust, hints a new report."
    • "The push comes from the congressionally mandated Renewable Fuel Standard. Of the mandated total of 36 billion gallons from a mix of biofuels, the corn-derived ethanol target of 15 billion gallons is doable, the report says."
    • "But a big part of the standard — 16 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels from non-edible plant material such as cornstalks and switchgrass — is unlikely to be met, Wallace Tyner, an agricultural economist at Purdue University, told me Tuesday."
    • "'The technologies are just not advanced enough to be commercial, they are not cheap enough yet to be commercial, and we are going to have to invest more in R&D if we want to accelerate the pace,' he said."
    • "'Here we are in 2011 and we have 11 years to get to 2022 and build 16 billion gallons with a technology that's costlier and riskier, a feedstock that's costlier, and it is just not likely to happen,' he said."[37]
  • Biofuels can be commercialized rapidly for military, says industry group, 4 October 2011 by BrighterEnergy.org: "Advanced biofuels can be commercialized rapidly for military use, on military timelines, with adequate support and coordination of efforts by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Energy."
    • "That’s according to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), which yesterday submitted comments to the Air Force’s Request for Information on the commercial status and market for advanced drop-in biofuels."
    • "Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated: 'The U.S. military and the nation as a whole face a significant national security threat from U.S. dependence on foreign sources of energy and ongoing price volatility.'"
    • "'Military use of advanced biofuels could in turn validate emerging technologies and unlock private investment in future advanced biofuels production for civilian markets.'"[38]
  • Certain biofuel mandates unlikely to be met by 2022; unless new technologies, policies developed, 4 October 2011 by EurekAlert: "It is unlikely the United States will meet some specific biofuel mandates under the current Renewable Fuel Standard by 2022 unless innovative technologies are developed or policies change, says a new congressionally requested report from the National Research Council, which adds that the standard may be an ineffective policy for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions."
    • "The committee that wrote the report said that production of adequate volumes of biofuels are expected to meet consumption mandates for conventional biofuels and biomass-based diesel fuel. However, whether and how the mandate for cellulosic biofuels will be met is uncertain."
    • "Currently, no commercially viable biorefineries exist for converting cellulosic biomass to fuel. The capacity to meet the renewable fuel mandate for cellulosic biofuels will not be available unless the production process is unexpectedly improved and technologies are scaled up and undergo several commercial-scale demonstrations in the next few years."
    • "Only in an economic environment characterized by high oil prices, technological breakthroughs, and a high implicit or actual carbon price would biofuels be cost-competitive with petroleum-based fuels, the committee concluded."[39]
  • EPA Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel to Begin Work, 3 October 2011 by EESI: "Do bioenergy systems (biofuel, biopower, bioheat) contribute to or mitigate climate change?"
    • "The prevailing assumption in federal policies, up until this point, has been that bioenergy systems are, more or less, as climate-friendly and renewable as other renewable energy sources, and, thus, bioenergy is a suitable substitute for climate-damaging fossil fuels."
    • "However, this assumption has been questioned in recent years, and the EPA has proposed an 'accounting framework for biogenic CO2 emissions from stationary sources.'"
    • "The EPA announced October 3 the formation of the Science Advisory Board Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel which will conduct the peer review."[40]
  • U.S. gives $136 million for advanced biofuels research, 28 September 2011 by Reuters: "U.S. university researchers will get $136 million to develop advanced biofuels, including to develop jet fuel, by using tall grasses, woody plants and energy cane, the U.S. government said on Wednesday."
    • "Nearly two-thirds of the money will go toward aviation biofuels projects in the Pacific Northwest, including efforts to develop a regional source of bio-jet fuel for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport."
    • "Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who announced the awards in Seattle, said the project will help promote growth in rural America."
    • "The projects would focus on using woody crops to produce bio-gasoline and renewable aviation fuel, convert idle sawmills into bioenergy development centers and develop new feedstocks and techniques for sustainable forest production to create a regional source of renewable aviation fuel, and use switchgrass and woody biomass to produce low-cost sugars for conversion to butanol as well as use forest and mill residues and dedicated energy crops to produce biodiesel fuel, heat and power."[41]
  • Biofuels May Push 120 Million Into Hunger, Qatar’s Shah Says, 26 September 2011 by Bloomberg: "Biofuel policies in countries from Australia to the U.S. may push 120 million people into hunger by 2050 while doing little to halt climate change, said Mahendra Shah, an advisor to Qatar’s food security program."
    • "World food output will have to rise by at least 70 percent by 2050 to feed a growing world population, according to Shah."
    • "The use of crops for biofuels is forecast to raise food prices by 30 percent to 50 percent in that period, Shah said, citing a study by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development, or OFID."
    • "Government plans to boost ethanol and biodiesel production and mandates on using them in transport fuel will increase deforestation by between 20 million and 24 million hectares (49 milion to 59 million acres) by 2050 and increase fertilizer use by 10 million tons, the OFID study showed, according to Shah."
    • "Growing crops for biofuels to reduce reliance on oil may result in 6 percent to 12 percent transport-fuel security in 2030 and 2050, according to Shah."[42]
  • US, Australia sign key aviation biofuels accord, 19 September 2011 by Biofuels Digest: "In San Francisco, the U.S. FAA and Australia’s Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism have reached a Memorandum of Understanding to continue research and development of clean, sustainable alternative aviation fuels."
    • "The MOU calls for Australia and the United States to exchange information about policies, programs, projects, research results, and publications, and to conduct joint studies in areas such as fuel sources and environmental impacts."
    • "The memorandum also facilitates analysis of fuel source supply chains. The signing nations agree to cover the associated costs."
    • "Unlike other government to government agreements that emerge from time to time, this agreement sprung out of the private sector, primarily driven by the CAAFI private-public partnership in the US , and Austrade and the US Studies Center at the University of Sydney, for Australia."[43]
  • Future of biofuels seen as hinging on long-term strategy, 16 September 2011 by BuffaloNews.com: "James D. Newman calls it the 'green-versus-green debate' in biofuels."
    • "People want to be environmentally conscious, but they hesitate to part with more green — as in money — to pay for alternative-fuel products, the president and CEO of Noco Energy Corp. says."
    • "The future of biofuels, including ethanol, is a hot topic nationally, with some arguing the need to bolster the industry, and others contending that the fuels need to prove themselves in the marketplace."
    • "The debate about biofuels also includes their operating performance and the impact on the cost of food used in their production."
    • "Beyond their 'green' appeal, Newman said, biofuels can also have an effect on U. S. energy security and fuel price volatility."
    • "While Newman doesn’t believe that volatility can be completely controlled, he thinks alternative fuels can help offset it 'because we won’t be relying on the traditional petroleum suppliers.'"
    • "'I think there’s more discussion now in this country going on about how to bring alternative fuels to the system,' he said, 'and I think there is great consumer awareness around the fact that we need to do something.'"[44]
  • White House launches biofuels initiative linked to jobs creation, 15 September 2011 by Air Transport World: "The US Departments of Agriculture and Energy and the Navy will invest up to $510 million over the next three years in partnership with the private sector to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power commercial and military transportation."
    • "The biofuels initiative is being steered by the White House Biofuels Interagency Work Group and Rural Council, organizations that aim to enable greater cross-agency collaboration to strengthen rural America."
    • "The White House said there was a lack of manufacturing capability for next-generation drop-in biofuels in the US. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus have developed a plan to jointly construct or retrofit several drop-in biofuel plants and refineries."
    • "The White House said the joint plan calls for the three departments to invest a total of up to $510 million, requiring a substantial cost share from private industry of at least a one to one match."[45]
  • Debate on ethanol role in livestock/poultry feed costs, 14 September 2011 by Delta Farm Press: "A Wednesday afternoon hearing of the House Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry focused on the feed issues."
    • "The panel’s testimony uniformly painted ethanol -– with its government backing and production mandates -- as a key cause of livestock/poultry producers’ dipping profits and a coming rise in consumer prices."
    • "While livestock operations have become more efficient, 'lower feed availability will eventually mean still lower meat and poultry output and still higher meat and poultry prices.'"
    • "Rejecting such causality and claiming a deck stacked against it, the ethanol industry jumped into the fray early."
    • "'America’s ethanol producers are on pace to produce nearly 40 million metric tons of livestock feed in 2011 – a volume greater than all the corn used on cattle feedlots all across the country,' said a Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) release. 'Additionally, ethanol producers are poised to export nearly 25 percent of that volume to meet growing feed demands around the globe.'"
    • "The ethanol industry has been joined by the Obama administration in rejecting claims that the fuel is responsible for higher feed costs."[46]
  • Analysis: Ethanol industry to stay hungry for U.S. corn, 14 September 2011 by Reuters: "The U.S. ethanol industry is keeping its foot on the gas pedal at production plants, and if the trend continues it could defy a government forecast that the industry will have its first drop in corn use since the turn of the century."
    • "The government forecast, which was issued on Monday, was based on expected weaker gasoline use and higher corn prices."
    • "But for the near term, both domestic and export sales are strong, plus profit margins -- though volatile -- are largely healthy, factors that should feed continued strong demand for corn for ethanol."
    • "The U.S. mandate for conventional biofuel, which is mostly ethanol made from corn, will rise 600 million gallons next year to 13.2 billion gallons."
    • "The ethanol industry uses about 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop to make the alternative motor fuel, a factor which drives persistent criticism from food and livestock producers who say it drives up both corn prices and food prices."
    • "As harvest of the new U.S. corn crop gets under way, there simply may not be enough corn to go around, some ethanol experts said. That could drive corn prices even higher than the recent record levels."[47]
  • Ethanol critics target mandates as subsidy ends, 10 September 2011 by DesMoinesRegister.com: "With the ethanol subsidy all but dead, some of the industry’s critics are turning their attention to the government mandates that force motorists to fill up with the corn-based gasoline additive and other biofuels."
    • "Under current law, the mandates will require refiners to increase their use of corn ethanol to 15 billion gallons a year by 2015."
    • "The industry agreed this summer to a proposed congressional deal that would have ended the subsidy early and used the savings to help fund the installation of new ethanol pumps at service stations around the country."
    • "But the industry’s allies in Congress couldn’t get the deal included in a bill that lifted the government’s debt ceiling, and they say the prospects of getting it passed now are slim, given the government’s fiscal problems and the looming expiration of the 45-cent subsidy."
    • "The industry likely stands a better chance of protecting the annual usage mandates, known as the Renewable Fuel Standard, from being weakened by livestock or environmental interests."[48]
  • Department of Energy Announces up to $12 Million in Investments to Support Development and Production of Drop-In Biofuels, 31 August 2011 by EERE News: "In support of the Obama Administration's comprehensive efforts to strengthen U.S. energy security, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced up to $12 million to fund three small-scale projects in Illinois, Wisconsin, and North Carolina that aim to commercialize novel conversion technologies to accelerate the development of advanced, drop-in biofuels and other valuable bio-based chemicals."
    • "The projects, funded through DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, seek to accelerate research and development that will lead the way toward affordable, clean alternatives to fossil fuels and diversify our nation's energy portfolio."
    • "Thermochemical processes use heat and catalysts to convert biomass, in a controlled industrial environment, into liquid and gaseous intermediates—or substances formed as a necessary stage in manufacturing an end product—which can then be chemically converted into fuels and other products."[49]
  • Report Links Biofuels With Food Prices, 4 August 2011 by The Wall Street Journal: "For years, commentators have blamed Asia’s rapidly-expanding middle class for pushing up the cost of food and creating markets so volatile prices have spiked to record levels two times in four years."
    • "But according to new research for the United Nations’ food body, the increasing diversion of grain and oilseeds to create fuel—particularly in the U.S. and Europe, which spend an estimates $8 billion a year supporting their biofuel industries—has had a far greater effect."
    • "In contrast to mainstream belief, it argues that without biofuels, the rate of feed consumption in everywhere but the Soviet Union (whose livestock industry is still recovering from a collapse under Communism) is actually slowing—despite the jump in demand for meat in Asia."
    • "Because of this, the report finds that 'limiting the use of food to produce biofuel is the first objective to be pursued to curb demand.' Those that are used should be produced 'where it is economically, environmentally and socially feasible to do so, and traded more freely,' it adds."[50]
  • Biofuels Mandates Around the World, 21 July 2011 by Biofuels Digest: "In Florida, the Digest today releases its annual review of biofuels mandates and targets around the world, looking at the state of biofuels mandates in 52 countries around the world."
    • "The bulk of mandates comes from the EU-27, where the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) specifies a 10 percent renewables content by 2020 across the entire membership – though 7 percent of that will come from biofuels, the balance from the electrification of the fleet. The other 21 countries are primarily in Asia."
    • "Besides the EU, the major blending mandates that will drive global demand are those set in the US, China and Brazil – each of which has set targets – or, in the case of Brazil, is already there – at levels in the 15-20 percent range by 2020-2022."
    • "The major biofuels mandates – with some estimates of 2020 consumption, translate into the major drivers of the 60 billion gallons of global biofuels demand that are widely discussed, without addressing the demand for aviation, or the mandates in place in countries such as Canada, Australia, or throughout Southeast Asia."[51]
  • Cargill Sets Sights on Worldwide Sustainable Palm Oil by 2020, 13 July 2011 by GreenBiz.com: "Agribusiness giant Cargill plans to only offer palm oil -- an ingredient in Girl Scout cookies and numerous other foods -- that is certified sustainable in select countries by 2015 and worldwide by 2020."
    • "Cargill aims to have all of the palm oil it sells in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) within the next four years."
    • "Cargill then plans for all palm oil sold in China, India and elsewhere to be RSPO-certified by 2020."
    • "The first goal, however, excludes palm kernel oil, which is produced from the same oil palm trees that palm oil comes from and is used in food products, soaps and other goods."
    • "The Rainforest Action Network, which has been dogging Cargill about its palm oil use, says that while the goals are a good start, the deadlines are too far away, RSPO certification is weak and palm kernel oil shouldn't be left out."
    • "Cargill says, though, that it's trying to be realistic with its goals, and is aiming for achievable targets."[52]
  • Switch from Corn to Grass Would Raise Ethanol Output, Cut Emissions, 12 July 2011 by ScienceDaily: "Growing perennial grasses on the least productive farmland now used for corn ethanol production in the U.S. would result in higher overall corn yields, more ethanol output per acre and better groundwater quality, researchers report in a new study."
    • "The study used a computer model of plant growth and soil chemistry to compare the ecological effects of growing corn (Zea mays L.); miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus), a sterile hybrid grass used in bioenergy production in Western Europe; and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), which is native to the U.S."
    • "The analysis found that switching 30 percent of the least productive corn acres to miscanthus offered the most ecological advantages."
    • "'If cellulosic feedstocks (such as miscanthus) were planted on cropland that is currently used for ethanol production in the U.S., we could achieve more ethanol (plus 82 percent) and grain for food (plus 4 percent), while reducing nitrogen leaching (minus 15 to 22 percent) and greenhouse gas emissions (minus 29 percent to 473 percent),' the researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment."
    • "Several hurdles remain before the transition from corn to cellulosic ethanol production can occur on a commercial scale, the researchers said. Converting the sugars in corn to ethanol is easier than releasing the energy locked in plant stems and leaves."[53]
  • The Great Corn Con, 24 June 2011 opinion piece by Steven Rattner in the New York Times: "Feeling the need for an example of government policy run amok? Look no further than the box of cornflakes on your kitchen shelf. In its myriad corn-related interventions, Washington has managed simultaneously to help drive up food prices and add tens of billions of dollars to the deficit, while arguably increasing energy use and harming the environment."
    • "...Thanks to Washington, 4 of every 10 ears of corn grown in America — the source of 40 percent of the world’s production — are shunted into ethanol, a gasoline substitute that imperceptibly nicks our energy problem. Larded onto that are $11 billion a year of government subsidies to the corn complex."
    • "Eating up just a tenth of the corn crop as recently as 2004, ethanol was turbocharged by legislation in 2005 and 2007 that set specific requirements for its use in gasoline, mandating steep rises from year to year...."
    • "...All told, each gallon of gasoline that is displaced costs the Treasury $1.78 in subsidies and lost tax revenue."
    • "Nor does ethanol live up to its environmental promises. The Congressional Budget Office found that reducing carbon dioxide emissions by using ethanol costs at least $750 per ton of carbon dioxide, wildly more than other methods. What is more, making corn ethanol consumes vast quantities of water and increases smog."[54]
  • Senate keeps ethanol subsidies, 14 June 2011 by Politico: "The Senate on Tuesday rejected, 40-59, a symbolic attempt to strike ethanol tax subsidies as Democrats are working on a deal to hold at least one vote on ethanol next week."
    • "The amendment from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) fell well short of the necessary 60 votes to invoke cloture and limit debate. Five Democrats supported the amendment and 12 Republican ethanol backers, largely from the Midwest, opposed it."
    • "Coburn’s amendment would have repealed a 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit to blend ethanol in gasoline that is set to expire at the end of the year. It is estimated that the tax credit would be worth upwards of $6 billion if it continues the whole year. The amendment also would have repealed a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on ethanol imports."
    • "About a dozen senators, led by Thune and Klobuchar, are proposing to immediately — starting July 1 — end the existing blender tax credit and replace it with a variable blender tax credit linked to the price of crude oil through 2014."[55]
  • Tom Coburn forces Tuesday ethanol vote, 9 June 2011 by Politico: "Sen. Tom Coburn has pulled the trigger and is forcing a long-sought vote on an amendment repealing billions in annual tax incentives for ethanol."
    • "The Senate will vote Tuesday afternoon on Coburn’s motion limiting debate on his amendment that would do away with the 45 cent blender tax credit for ethanol — worth about $6 billion this year — and the 54 cent tariff on imported ethanol."
    • "Regardless of whether the underlining economic development legislation gets through the Senate and House and to the president’s desk, a vote on Coburn’s amendment could be a major symbolic vote."
    • "Ethanol backers have been looking to try to stave off such moves by working behind the scenes on ways to quickly move off of the blender tax credit and transition to federal assistance for blender pumps and other infrastructure to grow the market base for ethanol and other biofuels."[56]
  • Biofuels Future That U.S. Covets Takes Shape -- in Brazil, 1 June 2011 by The New York Times: "Several years ago, Amyris helped create a landmark achievement in medicine, engineering microbes to produce an expensive antimalarial drug. Related tricks, it later found, can create a liquid fuel similar to diesel."
    • "Using crop-derived sugars as its power source, rather than petroleum, vats of Amyris' bugs could provide carbon-neutral fuel for fleets of heavy trucks and planes within a decade."
    • "But if Amyris does all this, it won't be in the United States. It will be in Brazil."
    • "Blessed with tropical weather and abundant pastures that can be migrated to sugar cane cultivation, experts see a stark potential for Brazil's cane fields to grow almost without limit over the next decade."
    • "Over the past decade, many companies have begun promising to use advanced biology to create what are called "drop-in fuels" -- biofuels that, unlike the corn-derived ethanol added to U.S. gasoline, would be indistinguishable from petroleum."
    • "Brazil's ethanol complex is fueled by sugar cane, which requires far less energy to grow than corn -- it needs little fertilizer, and its syrup-sapped husks, when burned, provide all the refinery's electricity."[57]
  • EU rules on biofuel concern soybean growers, 28 May 2011 by DesMoinesRegister.com: "The European Union has set new environmental and labor standards for the crops used to make biofuels there, angering U.S. farmers who worry that such restrictions could spread to other products and countries."
    • "The standards include greenhouse gas limits that biofuel feedstocks must meet, and U.S. soybeans don't qualify as a feedstock for European biodiesel."
    • "Also in the rules is a requirement that exporters be able to trace the source of a shipment back to the farms on which it was grown, something the U.S. industry can't do with existing storage and transportation practices."
    • "The European Union's new biofuel rules reflected concerns that increased production of palm oil and other crops could encourage destruction of rain forests and other environmental harm."
    • "Biofuel feedstocks are required to reduce greenhouse emissions by 35 percent in comparison to petroleum, but soybeans are credited with only a 31 percent reduction regardless of where they are grown. European-produced rapeseed, or canola, is rated at 38 percent. The calculations take into account such factors as how much energy is used to produce the crop and whether forests were cleared to grow it."[58]
  • Survey Says Consumers Consider Ethanol A Green Product, 23 May 2011 by Domesticfuel.com: "In a study released by Genencor during the BIO World Congress in Toronto, when U.S. consumers were asked to name a product they considered green, 39 percent of them named ethanol first and 31 percent of Canadian respondents also named ethanol as a green product."
    • "In addition, the study found that four in 10 American consumers and about a third of Canadian consumers have already heard the term 'biobased' to describe various products including fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, as well as cleaning and personal care products and clothing."
    • "'It was very interesting to see that ethanol was at the top of the list. Now of course we were very pleased with that because ethanol is such an important product and such an important marketplace for us,' said Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO of Genencor. 'But it also shows that the consumer really starts to buy in to the concept of the importance of home produced fuels and really the contribution that ethanol is delivering to the economy.'"[59]
  • Forest Owners Tell EPA to Avoid Pitfalls in Biomass Review, 5 May 2011 by SF Gate: "Today marks the close of the comment period for the EPA's proposed rule to defer the regulation of biomass from the GHG regulations for three years while it undertakes a science and policy review of regulating biogenic carbon emissions. The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) submitted official comments today to EPA on the proposed rule."
    • "At the time of filing, Dave Tenny, President and CEO of NAFO, stated, 'EPA's reversal from the proposed to the final rule was a significant step backward for renewable energy that came as a surprise without prior notice or adequate explanation in the record. If allowed to stand, this decision will cripple the biomass energy marketplace at the very moment when our nation needs additional investment to realize its renewable energy goals.'"
    • "On January 12, 2011, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sent a letter to NAFO's attorney stating that they would defer the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from biomass for three years while they 'seek independent scientific analysis' of the issues pertinent to the climate impacts of biogenic emissions and to finalize a rule on how biomass energy emissions are treated under greenhouse gas regulations."
    • "As EPA initiates its review, this week Massachusetts published a proposed regulation to halt most biomass energy production in the state."[60]
  • Wanted by EPA: Scientists for controversial climate mission, 26 April 2011 by The Hill: "The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking experts to help unwrap a wonky but politically charged question: How to measure the carbon footprint of using biomass for energy."
    • "EPA in January backed off applying greenhouse gas permitting rules to power plants and other facilities that use plant matter to make energy."
    • "EPA said it would use the three-year delay to improve methods for accounting for the carbon footprint of using various types of forest and other plant materials. On Wednesday, the agency is slated to publish a request for nominations to serve on a panel of EPA’s Science Advisory Board that will weigh the matter."
    • "A key question is how to track carbon released from land-use changes related to harvesting plant matter."
    • "EPA has come under heavy pressure from the forest industry and some Capitol Hill lawmakers fearful that applying emissions rules to biomass would stymie the market for the energy source."[61]
  • U.S. Ethanol Boom Fuels Farmland Price Spike, and Some Fear a Bubble, 24 April 2011 by Midwest Energy News (via Solve Climate News): "Midwest farmers — and the land on which they rely — have prospered in recent years, even as the U.S. endured a financial crisis and economic recession."
    • "While rising global demand for food — particularly from densely populated and growing countries such as India — gets a chunk of the credit, this newfound prosperity is closely linked to the U.S. government's backing of corn-based ethanol. Farm incomes and farmland values have surged as the ethanol industry emerged and then swelled in the past decade, creating a new form of steady demand for corn and hastening the rise in value of the soil in which it grows."
    • "But the conditions also may be inflating a bubble, which if bursts could drag farm country into a recession, regulators and policy analysts have begun to warn."
    • "Analysts and others now say that the ethanol industry could either advance to other, less costly sources than corn or — perhaps sooner — key government subsidies for ethanol will get crimped as lawmakers in Washington look to curtail spending. This could affect demand for grain — and the cash markets."[62]
  • National Wildlife Federation Launches Lawsuit to Protect America’s Vanishing Grasslands, 22 April 2011 by National Wildlife Federation: "The National Wildlife Federation is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a bid to protect America’s vanishing grasslands. The EPA is ignoring laws designed to protect the fragile ecosystem from harmful and unnecessary agricultural production. The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) created by Congress and implemented by the EPA requires a certain amount of transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain renewable fuel, such as corn ethanol. In crafting the RFS, Congress clearly recognizes the need to protect America’s grasslands by limiting biofuel feedstock production and harvesting to agricultural lands. In other words, natural ecosystems, like grasslands, are not supposed to be converted for agricultural uses. However, the EPA is flaunting this important provision by adopting an 'aggregate compliance approach', which allows protected ecosystems to be destroyed for biofuels production."
    • "'Plowing up our nation’s last remnants of native grasslands to grow more corn for ethanol is like burning the Mona Lisa for firewood,' said Julie Sibbing, Director of Agriculture programs for the National Wildlife Federation."
    • "The National Wildlife Federation’s goal in this lawsuit is to ensure that the federal renewable fuel requirements are met in a way that protects natural ecosystems from environmentally damaging conversion to agricultural land."[63]
  • USDA revises plan to boost biofuel investment, 19 April 2011 by Denver Post: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture is embarking on a revised biorefinery-finance program that it hopes will boost the amount of cellulosic-biofuel production in the country."
    • "The USDA seeks to make the advanced-biofuels industry more attractive to private investors, who so far have been averse about pledging money to what they view as untested technology. The lack of investment forced the Environmental Protection Agency to waive its plan to have 250 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol blended into the fuel supply by 2011 and seriously jeopardizes its goal of 1 billion gallons by 2013."
    • "The updated guidelines slash many of the fees entrepreneurs had to pay just to apply to the program and also allows banks to securitize a larger portion of the loan debt and sell it in the bond market."[64]
  • Advanced biofuels lag far behind mandates, 19 April 2011 by DesMoinesRegister.com: "Advanced biofuels are developing far slower than Congress imagined when it imposed mandates on refiners to use them, and there’s little sign the production is going to catch up with the targets."
    • "The government expects just 170 million gallons of fuel to be made from crop residue and other sources of plant cellulose by 2014, which is far short of the 1.75 billion gallons that a 2007 law requires refiners to use that year, said Paul Bryan, who manages the Energy Department’s biomass program."
    • "The Environmental Protection Agency already has slashed the mandates for biomass fuels last year and this year because very little is being produced."
    • "He said the next generation of fuels can’t be just new forms of ethanol either because ethanol will displace so much gasoline that it will create economic problems for refineries that are needed to produce diesel, jet fuel and petrochemicals."[65]
  • Cattle ranchers encouraged to work with ethanol industry, 16 April 2011 by Troy Media: "Cattle prices [in Canada] have increased recently, but all is not well in the industry. The improving price can largely be attributed to demand recovering after a sharp reduction in herd sizes."
    • "Some of the industry’s woes have been attributed to government support of the ethanol industry, which has been accused of bidding up the price of corn. It might sound odd then to hear that many regions in the U.S. are encouraging cattle ranchers to work with the ethanol industry in order to lower their own costs and keep their industry healthy."
    • "An ethanol plant grinds corn into a powder and adds water and enzymes to break down the starch. The remaining solids that are left over from the process are called distilled grains and soluble (DGS), which are then dried to be used as animal feed that is very high in energy and protein relative to corn."
    • "The key point is that feedlots located near ethanol plants will have a significant cost savings advantages. This doesn’t only come from the reduction in the need to compete with ethanol producers for corn, it also reduces the need to purchase another expensive input, soybean meal (although there are minor added expenses related to the management of manure)."[66]
  • Lack of input for EPA biofuels report could impact future policy, 12 April 2011 by Ethanol Producer Magazine: "The first triennial report on biofuels being drafted for Congress by the U.S. EPA lacks input from industry experts, which could result in negative information being falsely presented as fact to policymakers later this year, according to researchers familiar with the report."
    • "The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires the EPA to assess the environmental impacts associated with biofuels every three years and report its findings to Congress. The EPA released its first draft report in February for reviewing purposes and conducted a peer review meeting in March to evaluate the report, which is to be presented in its final form to Congress mid-year....However, industry experts who offered oral testimony at the hearing were disappointed to see the panel did not include a single member of the biofuels industry or anyone with expertise in areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, which could provide valuable insight into some of the report’s conclusions."[67]
    • See the draft report, Biofuels and the Environment: the First Triennial Report to Congress (External Review Draft)
  • USDA aims to expand E85 market, 9 April 2011 by Des Moines Register: "In a bid to increase the market for ethanol, the Obama administration is offering aid to rural gas stations to install new tanks and pumps."
    • "Under rules that the Agriculture Department will issue soon, stations could get grants and loan guarantees to cover up to 75 percent of the cost of installing equipment needed to dispense E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and gasoline, and other mixtures."
    • "The goal is to get the ethanol pumps in 10,000 more stations in five years. About 2,300 stations nationwide are now equipped to sell E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol."
    • "The ethanol industry is fast running out of room to increase its sales because most conventional gasoline now contains 10 percent ethanol, which has long been the legal limit for the additive. The Environmental Protection Agency recently agreed to raise the ethanol cap to 15 percent for 2001 and newer cars and trucks, but it's not clear how many stations will sell a blend that won't be legal for all of their customers to buy."[68]
  • Brazilian demand for U.S. ethanol expected to increase, 6 April 2011 by Ethanol Producer Magazine: "U.S. ethanol exports to Brazil are expected to increase during the month of April in order to fill supply gaps brought on by economic difficulties experienced within the country."
    • "Raphael Hudson, Hart Energy’s director of research and consulting for Latin America, said high sugar prices have had some impact on Brazil’s ethanol industry, but have not played a significant role because the ability for mills to switch from sugar to ethanol production or vice versa is somewhat limited. He attributes the country’s ethanol supply shortage mostly to economic factors."
    • "UNICA, Brazil’s sugarcane industry association, stated that ethanol exports from Brazil are anticipated to drop by nearly 20 percent this season compared to the previous period. Fewer exports will improve the tight supply situation, but not by much."
    • "Last year, the country also experienced tightening supply between February and April, but chose to temporarily reduce its blend mandate from E25 to E20 in order to alleviate supply/demand issues. That wasn’t done this year, presumably as an attempt to encourage free trade with the U.S. with the hope of receiving some reciprocity in the future."[69]
  • Recent developments of biofuels/bioenergy sustainability certification: A global overview , March 2011 by ScienceDirect:
    • From the abstract: "A large number of national and international initiatives lately experienced rapid development in the view of the biofuels and bioenergy targets announced in the European Union, United States and other countries worldwide. The main certification initiatives are analysed in detail, including certification schemes for crops used as feedstock for biofuels, the various initiatives in the European Union, United States and globally, to cover biofuels and/or biofuels production and use....Certification has the potential to influence positively direct environmental and social impact of bioenergy production. Key recommendations to ensure sustainability of biofuels/bioenergy through certification include the need of an international approach and further harmonisation, combined with additional measures for global monitoring and control. The effects of biofuels/bioenergy production on indirect land use change (ILUC) is still very uncertain; addressing the unwanted ILUC requires sustainable land use planning and adequate monitoring tools such as remote sensing, regardless of the end-use of the product."[71]
  • Midwest senators strike back with pro-biofuels bill, 11 March 2011 by Ethanol Producer Magazine: "Two Midwest senators proposed legislation March 10 favoring the build-out of biofuels infrastructure and continued federal support of ethanol and biodiesel. The Securing America’s Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies Act, introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., would establish incentives for biofuels infrastructure and deployment, develop a 'more cost-effective' tax credit program for ethanol and biodiesel, establish a renewable energy standard and encourage greater production of hybrid, electric and flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs)."
    • "The bill immediately received widespread support from renewable fuels and agriculture groups."
    • "The 117-page SAFEST Act covers a wide spectrum of renewable fuels interests and contains several important provisions related to the ethanol industry. It amends the definition of 'advanced biofuel' to include corn starch-derived ethanol....It attempts to eliminate liability concerns related to the use of ethanol in combustion engines. It also provides subsidies for the installation of blender pumps and requires any entity that owns or manages 10 or more retail fueling stations to install a blender pump at each station."
    • "The legislation also includes text that would prevent the U.S. EPA from considering international indirect land use changes when calculating biofuels’ lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and calls for the National Academies of Science to conduct a review of methodologies used to project indirect GHG emissions relating to transportation fuels."[72]
  • Environmental groups object to biomass plant, 9 March 2011 by iStockAnalyst/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Critics of a biomass power plant proposed by We Energies and Domtar Corp. say the project shouldn't qualify for a [Wisconsin] environmental permit because it will lead to higher emissions of greenhouse gases."
    • "The We Energies project is the first biomass plant, and one of the first three projects in the country, to be reviewed under new greenhouse gas rules enacted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."
    • "It doesn't make sense to issue a permit for the project because it would add emissions of carbon dioxide at a rate much higher than a natural gas-fueled power plant, said Mary Booth, an ecologist who is researching biomass projects for a national coalition called the Partnership for Policy Integrity."
    • "The proposal is being closely watched by the industry because it is one of the first to be issued. It also comes at an unusual time, because the EPA is considering backing off on carbon regulation for biomass power plants."[73]
  • Bad time to kill E15, retired Navy leader says, 21 February 2011 by Agriculture.com: "Retired Vice Admiral Denny McGinn and other leaders of 25 x ’25 Alliance, a coalition of almost 1,000 groups that favor getting 25% of the nation’s energy from renewable sources by 2025, criticized a vote in the House last week that would kill, at least for this year, any implementation of a 15% blend of ethanol in gasoline (E15) by the EPA."
    • "'This is a wrong-headed vote because any concerns about any impact of higher ethanol blends have been answered,' said the Alliance’s co-chair, Read Smith."
    • "'The vote also negatively impact's the nation's economy, our balance of payments and public health by further increasing our dependence on oil and exposure to toxic emissions associated with gasoline production and use,' Smith said in a statement.[75]
  • Global Ethanol Production to Reach 88.7 Billion Litres in 2011, 14 February 2011 by Marketwire: "The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) forecasts ethanol production to hit 88.7 billion litres in 2011 replacing the need for one million barrels of crude oil per day worldwide."
    • "The United States continues to be the largest ethanol producer in the world with production levels expected to reach over 51 billion litres (13.5 U.S. gallons) in 2011."[76]
  • USDA Approves Use of Genetically Engineered Corn for Ethanol, 11 February 2011 by Friends of the Earth: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that it has approved a form of genetically engineered corn created by the biotechnology corporation Syngenta Seeds, Inc. for use in ethanol production."
    • "The USDA deregulated the crop, meaning it is not subject to a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement or any restrictions on where and how it can be planted."
    • "Eric Hoffman warned, “This new strain of genetically engineered corn is not meant for human consumption, but... contamination is bound to happen."
    • "The Renewable Fuel Standard, the law passed by Congress in 2007, requires the consumption of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022, 15 billion gallons of which is projected to be met with corn ethanol. The Environmental Protection Agency recently released a report detailing the harmful impacts that this law continues to have on water, soil and air quality."[77]
  • Biofuel debate unlikely to end, 7 February 2011 by PJStar.Com: "The rise in corn prices - and the continued increase in how much corn is used in the production of ethanol - fuels an ongoing debate pitting biofuels against food production."
    • "In 2001, only 7 percent of the nation's corn crop went for ethanol. Last year, ethanol production took almost 40 percent of the crop."
    • "'With corn ethanol now taking 40 percent of the U.S. corn supply, enormous pressure is being placed on the corn supply and price as well as other commodities. This pressure is being felt all throughout the supply chain and right to the consumer,' said Tom Super, spokesman for Washington, D.C.-based American Meat Institute."
    • "Michael Doherty, senior economist for the Bloomington-based Illinois Farm Bureau, said that, while higher corn prices have an impact on livestock producers, it's not the only factor."
    • "He called ethanol 'a pin cushion' - a target for critics who seize on instability around the world to focus on biofuels."[78]
  • Biodiesel roars back with mandate, tax credits, B20 OKs, 7 February 2011 by Biofuels Digest: "'The EPA has said that they are going to enforce the 800 million gallon volume RFS2 requirement' said National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe to Biodiesel magazine, 'and we will have the tax credit in place.'"
    • "At the same time, there are challenges on the feedstock front. Bottom line, jatropha, camelina and algae are still emerging feedstocks, soy and canola are pricey, waste oils & greases are tough to find at scale, and palm is politically radioactive."
    • "For sure, the biodiesel industry is in a right jolly mood in comparison to 2009 or 2010, and has set its theme as 'Advance'. In part, that’s a recognition of biodiesel, under the rules of the Renewable Fuel Standard, as an 'advanced biofuel’ and that’s a market position that the biodiesel industry would like to have in the mind of every renewable fuels stakeholder"
    • "We continue to see biodiesel as a growing fuel, but not yet do we see the near-term feedstock availability, at affordable prices, for the fuel to have major US advancements beyond mandated levels in the billion-gallon range, before mid-decade, without importing jatropha oil from abroad (if it is not snapped up by the military or aviation sectors first)."[79]
  • Hawaiian Electric seeks suppliers of biodiesel for Campbell Industrial Park Generating Station, 1 February 2011 press release by the Hawaiian Electric Company: "Hawaiian Electric Company today issued a call for a supply of three to seven million gallons of biodiesel per year for the 110-megawatt Campbell Estate Industrial Park Generating Station."
    • "The request for proposals (RFP) states Hawaiian Electric’s preference for locally produced biodiesel. In addition, Hawaiian Electric places a qualitative value on biodiesel made in the United States from domestic feedstocks."
    • "The CIP generating station currently uses biodiesel from Renewable Energy Group (REG), an Iowa-based supplier providing biodiesel from yellow grease or waste animal fat."
    • "All biofuel provided to any Hawaiian Electric Company must conform to environmental guidelines for the sustainable use of biofuels developed by Hawaiian Electric Company in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council."
    • "In addition, the Hawaii Biofuels Foundation is currently developing guidelines for sustainable production of local biofuels in partnership with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels."[80]
  • Inhofe's new allies on ethanol issue surprising, 30 January 2011 by Tulsa World: "WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe's efforts on ethanol have provided unlikely allies for the Oklahoma Republican perhaps best known to such groups for calling man-made global warming a hoax."
    • "Kate McMahon, the biofuels campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth, was not reticent about discussing the matter publicly and even complimented Inhofe for having a good staff to work on such issues."
    • "'Simply put, in this city, there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies,' McMahon said."
    • "McMahon said her concerns over corn ethanol are directly related to its impact on the issue of global warming. Ethanol, she said, has more global-warming impact than gasoline in many ways."
    • "Clearly Inhofe, who dismisses global warming, carved out his stance on ethanol for other reasons."
    • "Concerns over ethanol include potential damage to certain engines, confusion at the pump, lack of availability for 'clear' gasoline, lower mileage for fuel with ethanol and higher feed stock prices for farmers."[81]
  • EPA Ethanol Expansion Hardens a Divide, 27 January 2011 by SolveClimateNews.com: "The divide between pro- and anti-ethanol forces is widening now that EPA has approved E15 gas for 2001-06 cars."
    • "The Clean Air Act waiver for E15 gasoline that the EPA announced last Friday comes on the heels of the agency's mid-October granting of an E15 waiver covering vehicles built during and after 2007. A 10 percent ethanol limit still stands for pre-2001 vehicles."
    • "'Recently completed testing and data analysis show that E15 does not harm emissions control equipment in newer cars and light trucks,' EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said via a news release. 'Wherever sound science and the law support steps to allow more home-grown fuels in America's vehicles, this administration takes those steps.'"
    • "Opponents of Jackson's line of thinking greeted her announcement with a chorus of jeers about the supposed benefits of corn ethanol."
    • "'For several decades now, Washington has propped up ethanol through subsidies, sweetheart tax deals, mandates and other schemes,' said Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union."
    • "Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association, told SolveClimate News that the opposition to ethanol is 'manufactured angst.'"
    • "'Many of the complaints are from industries who desperately want to maintain the status quo, a nation addicted to imported oil,' Hartwig said, adding that environmental concerns about ethanol stem from unproven theories.
    • "The E15 waiver does not cover pre-2001 vehicle models because of concerns that ethanol's corrosive nature could increase air pollution by damaging engine performance and emissions controls. As well, it doesn't include motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles, or non-road engines because current testing data does not support such a waiver, according to the EPA." [82]
  • Biofuels of No Benefit to Military -- RAND, 26 January 2011 by ClimateWire/New York Times: "A new analysis presented to Congress yesterday paints a stark picture for the Defense Department's current efforts to secure renewable fuels."
    • "Fuels made from plant waste or algae will not be achievable in large or cheap enough quantities to make sense for military applications in the next decade, concluded the report penned by the RAND Corporation."
    • "'The use of alternative fuels offers the armed services no direct military benefit,' it added, urging the military and Congress to rethink dedicating defense appropriations to alternative fuels research."
    • "The work assessed the current status of the alternative fuels market and concluded that the only fossil fuel substitutes that could be attainable in the foreseeable future would be those produced through the Fischer-Tropsch process, a method with a hefty carbon footprint that produces synthetic diesel from coal, natural gas or coal-biomass blends."
    • "The Navy, which has been on the front lines of biofuel research, blasted the findings."[83]
    • Download a summary of the report, Alternative Fuels for Military Applications (PDF file)
  • Understanding the complicated biofuels fight, 24 January 2011 by Mother Nature Network: "The EPA said that E15 — a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline — is safe for all cars on the road that were made in 2001 or later."
    • "Until this announcement, the EPA had only approved E15 for model year 2007 and newer vehicles."
    • "Currently, most gas sold in the U.S. has at least some corn-based ethanol in it, but not more than 10 percent."
    • "Ethanol producers say they can make more ethanol than what is needed for that 10 percent, and that's what's called the blend wall. By approving E15, the EPA pushes the wall higher and makes corn states happy."
    • "Not everyone is so pleased. Environmentalists, for example, have legitimate concerns about the negative effect of corn-based ethanol."
    • "Automakers, too, have serious concerns. They worry that the new E15 fuel could damage vehicles."[84]
  • 110 Advanced Biofuels Projects Now in Development, 14 January 2011 by Renewable Energy World.com: "Today, the Biofuels Digest released version 1.7 of its free Advanced Biofuels Tracking Database, projecting advanced biofuels capacity for the 2011-2015 period."
    • "The new database, which is the quarterly update tracking new projects and changes in capacity announced since October, includes updates on 13 companies and their projects in Australia, Austria, Brazil, India, the Netherlands, Norway and the US."
    • "The database now tracks 110 advanced biofuels projects, and projects that advanced biofuels capacity will reach 718 million gallons in 2011, 1.522 billion by 2012, 2.685 billion by 2013, and 3.579 billion gallons by 2014."
    • "Renewable drop-in fuels (renewable gasoline, and renewable diesel, and biobutanol) have climbed to 59 percent of planned advanced biofuels capacity by 2015."[85]
  • 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."[86]

2010

  • Tide turns against corn ethanol, 20 December 2010 by Jeff Tollefson: "Buffeted by the economic crisis and a drop in the oil price, US producers of corn ethanol are encountering increasing scepticism from the legislators on Capitol Hill even as producers of the 'greener' cellulose-derived ethanol struggle to move beyond basic research and development."
    • "The tax package brokered by US President Barack Obama... included a host of incentives for energy development. Among them was a one-year extension of a tax credit giving refiners nearly 12 cents of federal cash for every litre of corn ethanol they blend into gasoline. A tariff of more than 14 cents per litre on imported ethanol was also extended through 2011."
    • "These are shorter times than industry wanted, marking a victory for environmentalists and budget hawks who see the roughly US$6-billion-a-year benefit as wasteful spending on a mature industry. Critics say the corn ethanol credit eats up scarce federal resources and puts cellulosic ethanol at a competitive disadvantage."
    • "The mandated levels of biofuel production in the United States will increase to 53 billion litres in 2011 — about 8% of the country's total fuel consumption — and will ramp up to more than 136 billion litres by 2022. Around 90% of the biofuel will come from conventional corn ethanol next year, with the remainder coming from biodiesel and other "advanced biofuels". Last month, however, the US Environmental Protection Agency pulled back the 2011 requirement for cellulosic biofuels from 946 million to 25 million litres, citing delays in scaling up production."
  • While Tax Package Richly Rewards Corn Ethanol, Senate Appropriators Propose Pulling Rug Out from Under Next Generation Bioenergy, 15 December 2010 by the National Wildlife Federation: "While the Senate approved a tax package today that includes a $5-billion subsidy for corn ethanol, five lines buried within the almost 2000-page Senate Omnibus appropriations bill unveiled yesterday sound a death knell for next generation bioenergy crops at a critical time for the industry. The omnibus bill proposes to zero out funding for a key program to support development of the next generation of biofuels and bioenergy based on grasses and trees."
    • "The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), enacted as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, has been eagerly awaited by the next generation bioenergy industry as a critical link in making biomass based energy a reality by helping with the “chicken and the egg” problem of ensuring an adequate supply of tree and grass crops to fuel biomass energy facilities. The program would provide annual payments for five years to offset the risk to the landowner of trying these new crops, as well as assistance with the cost of establishing the new crops."
    • "While Senate appropriators claim that it was their intent to deeply cut, rather than to eliminate the BCAP, the language included in the bill would eliminate all funding for the program in Fiscal Year 2011."
  • New Wikileaks show biofuel food impacts were underestimated, 14 December 2010 by Kenneth Richter of Friends of the Earth UK: "I found out today that biofuels and GM crops now have their very own Wikileak."
    • "The secret cables reveal some yet more evidence about US attempts to push GM crops onto Africa. The cables also contain notes from an international meeting called by Gordon Brown on biofuels and the food crises in 2008."
    • "In that meeting Joachim Von Braun, Director General of the [International] Food Policy Institute Research (IFPRI) suggested a moratorium on maize for biofuels. Their modelling showed it would immediately slash maize prices by 20 per cent and wheat prices by 10 per cent, with further reductions because it would discourage speculation."
    • "But this idea was dismissed by other participants. Cargill's Ruth Rawling predicted that wheat prices would come down quite quickly without the moratorium. The Overseas Development Institute estimated that prices would fall back from their 2008 peak to roughly what they had been in the early 1990s."
    • "How wrong they were."
    • "Wheat has now risen in price by nearly two-thirds in the past six months. Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Unilever's chief supply chain officer acknowledges: 'The world is losing arable land at a rate of about 40,000 square miles a year. That is land being used for biofuel production, while climate change is eroding away topsoil.'"
    • "As a result the FAO now predicts another major global food crisis for 2011."[87]
  • Left-Right Coalition Responds to Senate Vote on Ethanol Tax Credit, 6 December 2010 by BeforeItsNews: "On Saturday (December 4, 2010), the Senate defeated a package of tax policy extensions, including a year extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) at $.36 per gallon, a 20 percent reduction from current levels. In response, a diverse coalition of organizations issued a joint press release applauding the vote on the VEETC and explaining why the tax credit should not be renewed."
    • "Here’s what the participants said:
    • "'A reduction in the corn ethanol tax credit is a small step in the right direction for animal agriculture and America's taxpayers. Burning a substantial portion of our food and feed as fuel is not a sustainable answer, in the long term, to solving this nation’s fuel needs....' - J. Patrick Boyle, President and CEO, American Meat Institute"
    • "'The blender’s credit and import tariff on foreign ethanol have distorted the corn market, creating needless volatility in the cost of animal feed....' - Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation"[88]
  • U.S. corn ethanol "was not a good policy" -Gore, 22 November 2010 by Reuters: "Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was 'not a good policy', weeks before tax credits are up for renewal."
    • "'It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol,' said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank."
    • "A food-versus-fuel debate erupted in 2008, in the wake of record food prices, where the biofuel industry was criticised for helping stoke food prices."
    • "Gore said a range of factors had contributed to that food price crisis, including drought in Australia, but said there was no doubt biofuels have an effect."
    • Gore also stated, "'I do think second and third generation that don't compete with food prices will play an increasing role, certainly with aviation fuels.'"[89]
  • Researchers Debate Whether Biofuels Are Truly Greener Than Fossil Fuels, 21 November 2010 by Loren Grush: "The ETC Group, an international organization supporting sustainability and conservation, has just published its newest report, an 84-page document that presents a lengthy criticism of "the new bioeconomy." In it, principal author Jim Thomas argues that using biofuels for energy and resources isn't green -- in fact, he says, in certain ways they can be more harmful to the environment than coal."
    • "But other scientists say the biofuel economy is complex, and they note that it's hard to lump absolutely everything labeled biomass together."
    • "'One needs to recognize that all biofuels are not the same. The current generation is based on corn in the U.S., based on wheat and rapeseed in Europe,' Dr. Madhu Khanna, a professor of agriculture at the University of Illinois, told FoxNews.com."
    • "But even among the first generation, there is also sugarcane, which is a much cleaner fuel, and Brazil has a lot of available land for sugarcane production. You're able to expand without coming into conflict with food production. So you don't hear the same criticism necessarily about sugarcane."
    • "Thomas is adamant that land use will become a massive issue for the biomass industry. "This isn't a switch, it's a massive grab on land," he said. "This movement to a plant-based, or so-called green economy, will throw a lot of people off their land in the developing world."[90]
  • Tsunami: Top 10 Impacts for Biofuels from US Elections, 3 November 2010 by Biofuels Digest: "US voters gave control of the House of Representatives to the Republican Party, when Democrats lost at least 57 seats in the House and six Senate seats in the 2012 mid-term elections."
    • "But what does it mean for biofuels? ...[Ten] impacts — ranging from people to policies — can be seen even now."
    • "The bottom line: moderately positive for biofuels. One of the few areas where Republicans and Democrats agree on priorities is the importance of reforming US energy policy, and biofuels enjoy bipartisan support, especially advanced biofuels. Though the Farm Bill may push to 2013, and gridlock may reign, Obama will have to run on something other than health care and the 2009 stimulus, and is likely to reach out on energy."
    • "Among the survivors. The leadership of the House Algae Energy Caucus, Brian Bilbray of California and Jay Inslee of Washington, sailed through this election cycle. Senator Chuck Grassley faced only token opposition, and Senator John Thune of South Dakota was unopposed. Jerry Moran of Kansas moved up successfully from the House to the Senate. Rick Perry, who requested that the EPA waive the Renewable Fuels Standard in 2008, was elected to a third term as Governor of Texas, while Sam Brownback, a staunch friend of bioenergy while in the Senate, becomes the new Governor of Kansas. Leonard Boswell of Iowa survived a challenge to his House seat from Brad Zaun, who had opposed the biodiesel tax credit extension."
    • "Among the new faces. John Hoeven, the incoming Senator from North Dakota, was a strong proponent of E15 ethanol while Governor, and was sharply critical of foot-dragging at EPA on the issue."
    • "Ethanol tax credit. Full-court pressure will now be on to pass the ethanol tax credit before a huge freshman class of spending-wary House members come to Washington. With time pressure, ethanol proponents will take less of a hard line, and look for the ethanol tax credit to drop to 36 cents or lower."[91]
  • Grasses Have Potential as Alternate Ethanol Crop, Illinois Study Finds, 1 November 2010 by Science Daily: "Researchers at the University of Illinois have completed the first extensive geographic yield and economic analysis of potential bioenergy grass crops in the Midwestern United States."
    • "[F]ederal regulations mandate that 79 billion liters of biofuels must be produced annually from non-corn biomass by 2022. Large grasses, such as switchgrass and miscanthus, could provide biomass with the added benefits of better nitrogen fixation and carbon capture, higher ethanol volumes per acre and lower water requirements than corn."
    • "Switchgrass is large prairie grass native to the Midwest, and Miscanthus, a sterile hybrid, is already widely cultivated in Europe as a biofuel crop."
    • "The team published its results in the October issue of the journal Global Change Biology Bioenergy."
    • "The researchers found that, in general, the yield is very high for miscanthus -- up to three times higher than switchgrass in the Midwest. Even through switchgrass is native to the region, it doesn't grow well in higher latitudes like Minnesota or Wisconsin because it has poor tolerance for cold temperatures."
    • "Most notably, for the southernmost counties -- much of southern Illinois and nearly all of Missouri -- the model predicts greater production of grasses than of current corn and soy crops. This could be a key factor in farmers' decisions to cultivate biofuel crops."
    • "Unlike annual crops that provide a farmer with a crop every year, miscanthus and switchgrass require a lag of at least two years before harvesting."[92]
  • The only thing ‘green’ about NASCAR’s switch to corn ethanol is the cash, 29 October 2010 by Donald Carr: "In a move that USA Today says "could be regarded as economically motivated as well as environmentally aware," NASCAR will adopt an ethanol blend of fuel beginning with the 2011 Daytona 500."
    • "This bit of news was welcomed heartily by the corn ethanol lobby, which is facing the prospect of the ethanol tax credit subsidy expiring at the end of the year as well as consumer confusion at fueling stations across the country, as ethanol blends increase only for specific model-year vehicles."
    • "Here at the Environmental Working Group, we are certain that using corn ethanol as an alternative to gasoline is hardly a sustainable solution to our energy needs. We know that between 2005 and 2009, U.S. taxpayers spent $17 billion to subsidize corn ethanol blends in gasoline, an outlay that produced a paltry reduction in overall oil consumption equal to a 1.1 mile-per-gallon increase in fleetwide fuel economy."
    • "We're sure that corn ethanol production pollutes fresh-water sources in the Midwest. We know that there are serious concerns about ethanol plants and their impact on the environment. We know corn production for ethanol expands the dead zone in the Gulf. We also know it has led to obliteration of wildlife habitat."
  • U.S. to Pay Farmers for Non-Food Crops for Biofuels, Vilsack Says, 21 October 2010 by Bloomberg: "The U.S. will pay farmers to produce non-food crops that can be converted to fuels for planes, cars and power plants to reduce reliance on imported oil and boost rural economies, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today."
    • "The Agriculture Department will resume payments to farmers under the 2008 Biomass Crop Assistance Program for eligible perennial crops and work with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop aviation fuels from farm wastes, Vilsack said today at the National Press Club."
    • "Vilsack said he is directing the agency to plan within 60 days and help fund construction of five refineries spread across the U.S. to process biomass into fuels. Higher costs for refiners related to use of the new feedstocks will be paid from up to $281.5 million that remains from the 2008 Farm Act, Vilsack said."
    • "To boost demand for ethanol during the transition to higher concentrations, the agency will help deploy 10,000 blending pumps at convenience stores and filling stations around the country. Each of those pumps cost $25,000, which would put the total cost of the expansion at $250 million, Vilsack said."[93]
  • EPA allows E15 ethanol fuel in cars made after 2007, 13 October 2010 by BrighterEnergy: "The US Environmental Protection Agency has cleared the way for 15% ethanol fuel (E15) to be sold for use in cars and light trucks placed on the market from 2007 onwards."
    • "Testing has shown that E15 does not harm emissions control equipment in newer cars and trucks, the Agency’s Administrator Lisa P Jackson said today."
    • "The decision clears the way for E15 to be used in about 42 million vehicles in America, about 20% of those on US roads."
    • "Ms Jackson said: 'Wherever sound science and the law support steps to allow more home-grown fuels in America’s vehicles, this administration takes those steps.'"
    • "The EPA’s long-awaited decision on E15 came after a review of the Department of Energy’s extensive testing and other available data on the fuel’s impact on engine durability and emissions."
    • "The decision on allowing E15 fuels followed a request by ethanol lobby group Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers back in March 2009."[94]
  • Despite Billions in Subsidies, Corn Ethanol Has Not Cut U.S. Oil Imports, 7 October 2010 by the Manhattan Institute: "In the next few weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to rule on a proposal to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of ethanol that may be blended into gasoline."
    • "Since the 1970s, Congress has justified subsidies to the corn ethanol industry with the oft-repeated claim that boosting domestic production of ethanol will increase America's energy security by reducing U.S. oil imports."
    • "That claim has no basis in fact."
    • "Between 1999 and 2009, U.S. ethanol production increased seven-fold, to more than 700,000 barrels per day (bbl/d). During that period, however, oil imports increased by more than 800,000 bbl/d. ...Ethanol production levels had no apparent effect on the volume of oil imports or on consumption."
    • "Corn ethanol has not reduced the volume of oil imports, or overall oil use, and likely never will, because it can replace only one segment of the crude-oil barrel. Unless or until inventors come up with a substance (or substances) that can replace all of the products refined from a barrel of crude oil — from gasoline to naphtha and diesel to asphalt — this country, along with every other one, will have to continue to rely on the global oil market — the biggest, most global, most transparent, most liquid market in human history."[95]
  • Updated US Federal Trade Commission Guideline May Nullify 100's of Existing Green Labels, Product Claims, 26 August 2010 by TreeHugger: "The US FTC is close to updating its original 'green guides' which have been the sole legal basis for examining and challenging the validity of various green marketing claims or product 'green marks'."
    • "Many of the early efforts at green labeling utilized life cycle inventory data that were inapplicable to actual countries of product origin..."
    • "Here's a key cite from the Advertising Age article on this:"
      • "Christopher Cole, an advertising-law specialist and partner with law firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips in Washington, said the guides could render most of the more than 300 environmental seals of approval now in currency on packaging and products largely useless and possibly in violation of FTC standards."[98]
  • In Defense of Biomass, 11 August 2010 by 25 x 25: "Over the past several years, the production of biomass for use as renewable energy has elicited criticism from some on Capitol Hill and from some in the environmental community who have drawn their conclusions from flawed assumptions and misconstrued data."
    • "The latest assault is focused on greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy and other biogenic sources and more specifically how they should be calculated. Farm and forestry bioenergy feedstock suppliers and their partners along the value-chain are being aggressively challenged about the ways in which they measure and account for the differences between bioenergy pathways and fossil fuel pathways."
    • "In response, the 25x’25 Alliance has created a new work group that will develop recommendations for how greenhouse emissions (GHGs) from biomass energy development should be calculated. The mission of the Work Group is to develop a set of overarching bioenergy accounting principles that policy makers and regulators can use to assess the GHGs from bioenergy and other biogenic sources."
    • "The EPA is currently soliciting information and viewpoints to help the agency address the issue of the carbon neutrality of biogenic energy. The agency has imposed a Sept. 13 deadline for the public comment period, and the Work Group’s first priority is to study the issue of biogenic emissions and provide EPA with information and recommendations."[100]
  • 46,000 Square Miles Of Forest Needed To Supply 120 Planned US Wood-Fired Power Plants, 3 August 2010 blog post by TreeHugger: Why "are 120 wood burning power plants being planned in multiple US states? Are banks and managing utilities planning for biomass (a euphemism for wood-fired) just to meet state renewable energy goals?"
    • "Mainstream media are 'missing the forest for the trees' on this issue and the underlying reasons may surprise you."
    • An article from Ohio.com, Burning Ohio trees at Burger sets fire to debate reported that:
      • "Nationally, there are 102 biomass plants that generate electricity in 21 states, according to the Biomass Power Association, a national trade group. Biomass accounts for 1.2 percent of America's electricity."
      • "More than 120 wood-burning biomass power plants have been proposed in the past three years. They would require 46,000 square miles of forests -- an area the size of Pennsylvania -- to be cleared by 2025, according to one national eco-group."
    • "Wood fired power plant stack emissions are relatively low in SOX and PM2.5 particulates compared to stack emissions produced by coal. Utilities can meet their emission permit limits by simply switching to wood - without investing in expensive new air pollution equipment."
    • "Environmental regulations promulgated under the US Clean Air Act may be a primary force behind the biomass power movement. Too soon [to] tell whether local opposition to such planned projects will hold many of them back."[101]
  • Subsidies for Renewables, Biofuels Dwarfed by Supports for Fossil Fuels, 29 July 2010 by Business Wire: "New research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance reveals that despite many platitudes and pledges, governments of the world are spending substantially more on subsidizing dirty forms of energy than on renewables and biofuels. In fact, support for cleaner sources is dwarfed by the help the oil, coal, and other fossil fuel sectors receive."
    • "The BNEF preliminary analysis suggests the US is the top country, as measured in dollars deployed, in providing direct subsidies for clean energy with an estimated $18.2bn spent in total in 2009. Approximately 40% of this went toward supporting the US biofuels sector with the rest going towards renewables."
    • "China, the world leader in new wind installations in 2009 with 14GW, provided approximately $2bn in direct subsidies, according to the preliminary analysis. This figure is deceptive, however, as much crucial support for clean energy in the country comes in form of low-interest loans from state-owned banks."[102]
  • Opponents of E15 ethanol blend launch campaign calling for more testing, 27 July 2010 by AutoBlogGreen: "Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that its decision to raise the ethanol blend from ten percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15) had been postponed pending further testing. Prior to announcing the postponement, the EPA received reports from automakers suggesting that E15 could be detrimental to modern engines."
    • "Environmental and industry groups are now calling on Congress to require thorough scientific testing before increasing the ethanol blend. The groups banded together to create FollowTheScience.org, a site focused on the negative impact of E15. FollowTheScience launched an ad campaign with the tagline 'Say NO to untested E15'."
    • A press release by the coalition stated:
      • "Most gasoline sold in the United States contains 10 percent ethanol (E10). Some ethanol lobbyists are seeking to boost that to 15 percent (E15), or to compromise with a boost to 12 percent (E12)."
      • "Ethanol burns hotter than gasoline and corrodes soft metals, plastics and rubber. The groups collectively believe more testing is needed to determine how much ethanol is too much for different types of existing engines to use safely without risking engine failure".[103]
    • Sponsors of the ad include the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Hispanic Institute, the Engine Manufacturers Association, and the Snack Food Association.
  • Commercial Airlines May Get 1% of Fuel From Biofuels By 2015, Boeing Says, 22 July by Alex Morales: "Boeing has worked with airlines from the U.S. to Japan to test jet fuels made from plants such as jatropha and camelina."
    • "Boeing’s forecast of 1 percent of fuels coming from biofuels by the middle of the decade is for the global air industry, and the company is working with the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, an alliance of 19 airlines that aim to be first-movers, Glover said. UOP’s Rekoske said 1 percent is more likely to be reached at regional levels, with Europe and the U.S. Northwest as potential candidates."
    • "'They’re actually not made in major quantities at this point,' [James Rekoske, vice president and general manager of renewable energy and chemicals at Honeywell International Inc.] said in an interview this week at the Farnborough Air Show south of London. 'We have the largest facility in the world and we’ve produced biofuels at about 200,000 gallons this year, which is really a very small quantity compared to what the airlines would need.'"[104]
  • 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."[105]
  • Growth Energy proposes shift in fuel policy, 15 July 2010 by Ethanol Producer Magazine: "With the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, set to expire at the end of the year, Growth Energy is calling for a change in the way ethanol tax incentives are used and an eventual phase out of governmental support of ethanol."
    • Growth Energy’s "Fueling Freedom Plan calls for, ideally, a five-year extension to VEETC. However, rather than provide the all incentive money to blenders, the oil industry, Growth Energy is advocating that some of that tax money go to installing 200,000 blender pumps and ethanol pipelines."
    • "Another part of the plan would require that all automobiles sold in the U.S. be flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs)."
    • "Currently, the ethanol industry is supplying about 10 percent of the U.S. fuel needs."
    • "Ethanol tax incentives cost the U.S. about $5 to $7 billion a year, said Growth Energy co-chair Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark."
    • "On the same day as Growth Energy’s announcement, RFA [the Renewable Fuels Association] joined with the American Coalition for Ethanol, the National Corn Growers Association and the National Sorghum Producers to lend its support to the current tax incentive legislation" that would "extend ethanol tax incentives through 2015."[107]
  • Alaska Airlines, Boeing, & Airports Partner on Biofuels, 14 July 2010 by Bill DiBenedetto: "Their endeavor, called the “Sustainable Aviation Fuel Northwest” project, is the first regional assessment of its kind in the U.S., according to a joint announcement from the group this week."
    • "The assessment will examine all phases of developing a sustainable biofuel industry, including biomass production and harvest, refining, transport infrastructure and actual use by airlines. It will include an analysis of potential biomass sources that are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, including algae, agriculturally based oilseeds such as camelina, wood byproducts and others. The project is jointly funded by the participating parties and is expected to be completed in about six months."
    • "Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh added, 'Developing a sustainable aviation fuel supply now is a top priority both to ensure continued economic growth and prosperity at regional levels and to support the broader aim of achieving carbon-neutral growth across the industry by 2020.'"
    • "The assessment process will be managed by Climate Solutions, an Olympia, WA, environmental nonprofit organization, which will align the effort to sustainability criteria developed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels. The project’s objective is to identify potential pathways and necessary actions to make aviation biofuel commercially available to airline operators serving the region."[108]
  • Klobuchar bill: trojan horse for bad biofuels, 14 July 2010, Nathanael Greene’s Blog/NRDC: "It should come as no surprise that the first copy of the full text of Sen Klobuchar's energy bill was found on a corn ethanol industry association website; the bill reads like the industry's wish list."
    • "Today's corn ethanol is mature and mainstream and, unfortunately, generally causes more global warming pollution than gasoline. Klobuchar's bill would lavish over $30 billion on the ethanol and oil industries, it would pull the rug out from under entreprenours trying to develop cleaner, advanced biofuels, and it would threaten forests across our country..."
    • "Here are some of laundry list of bad biofuel provisions:
  • "5 year extension of the corn ethanol tax credit (which mostly enriches oil companies such as BP)."
  • "Gutting the definition of renewable biomass so that it would include everything from old growth to garbage..."
  • "Legislating away the science of lifecycle GHG accounting for ethanol. Using lots of land to make ethanol instead of food means that food production moves to new land and that leads to deforestation."
  • "Defining mature and mainstream corn ethanol, which has been commercially produced for well over 30 years as an 'advanced biofuel' under the RFS2."
  • "Huge give aways for building corn ethanol pipes to the coast so that we can ship our 'home grown energy' overseas."[109]
  • New Rules May Cloud the Outlook for Biomass, 9 July 2010 by New York Times: "An energy technology that has long been viewed as a clean and climate-friendly alternative to fossil fuels is facing tough new regulatory hurdles that could ultimately hamper its ability to compete with renewable power sources like wind and solar."
    • "There is opposition to a proposed biomass power plant in Russell, Mass. Critics of the technology fear the use of wood products for fuel would create a rapacious industry and threaten forests."
    • "[A] long-simmering debate in Massachusetts questioning the environmental benefits of biomass has culminated in new rules that will limit what sorts of projects will qualify for renewable energy incentives there....The new proposals would, among other things, require the projects to provide 'significant near-term greenhouse gas dividends.'"[112]
  • Ethanol Credits Have A Major Beneficiary In Big Oil Firms, 2 July 2010 by National Journal/Congress Daily: "BP could stand to reap [U.S.] federal tax credits approaching $600 million this year for blending gasoline with corn-based ethanol, making the British oil and gas giant one of the largest beneficiaries of the 45 cents-per-gallon ethanol incentive."
    • "The credit expires Dec. 31, and the House Ways and Means Committee is preparing as early as next month to debate a 'green jobs' bill eyed as a vehicle for an extension."
    • "'Generally, we feel that after 30 years, it's finally time for ethanol to stand on its own,' said Dusty Horwitt, senior counsel at the Environmental Working Group. 'These massive handouts flow to oil companies like BP and only cement our dependence on environmentally damaging sources of energy'."
    • "Ethanol backers say the BP argument is a straw man. 'I don't think that has any legs,' said House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson."
    • "On BP's website, the firm states: 'As one of the largest blenders and marketers of biofuels in the nation, we blended over 1 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline in 2008 alone.' Extrapolating from Energy Information Administration data on 2009 refining capacity, BP is estimated to have produced about 11.5 billion gallons of gasoline."[113]
  • 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."[114]
  • Greener palm oil arrives in the United States, 29 June 2010 by Mongabay.com: "The first shipment of palm oil certified under sustainability criteria [has] arrived in the United States, according to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)."
    • "AAK, a vegetable oils and fats manufacturer based in Malmo, Sweden, announced the arrival of the first shipment of segregated RSPO-certified palm oil to its refinery in Port Newark, New Jersey. Segregated RSPO-certified palm oil has been kept separate from conventional palm oil throughout the supply chain. Most 'sustainable' palm oil users don't actually use segregated certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), Instead they offset conventional palm oil buy purchasing the equivalent amount of GreenPalm certificates, which represent real CSPO sold elsewhere as conventional palm oil."
    • "The RSPO also announced that daily production of CSPO has now surpassed 5,000 metric tons per day."
    • "Some critics say the [RSPO] lacks oversight, sets a low bar for compliance, and is underfunded. Supporters argue that RSPO is still a relatively new initiative that needs more time to prove itself."[116]
  • Department of Energy Announces $24 Million for Algal Biofuels Research, 28 June 2010 by the US DOE: "The U.S. Department of Energy announced today the investment of up to $24 million for three research groups to tackle key hurdles in the commercialization of algae-based biofuels."
    • "The consortia consist of partners from academia, national laboratories, and private industries that are based across the country, broadening the geographic range and technical expertise of DOE partners in the area of algal biofuels... Together, they represent a diversified portfolio that will help accelerate algal biofuels development with the objective of significantly increasing production of affordable, high-quality algal biofuels that are environmentally and economically sustainable."
    • "Despite algae's potential, many technical and economic challenges must be overcome for algal biofuels to be commercialized. To identify these hurdles and guide research and development activities, DOE convened the National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap Workshop, bringing together more than 200 experts and stakeholders from across the country. The Department synthesized workshop results and released a draft report for public comment in June 2009"[117]
  • UNECE Black Carbon Group Holds First Meeting, 28 June 2010 by Climate-L.org: "The first meeting of the Ad Hoc Expert Group on Black Carbon under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was held in Brussels, Belgium, on 17-18 June 2010."
    • "During the meeting, national experts and policymakers from Europe, North and South America and Asia reviewed the current state of black carbon research, discussed knowledge gaps, and explored future strategies for reducing the pollutant’s emissions."
    • "By the end of 2010, the Group, chaired by Norway and the US, is expected to provide options for potential revisions to the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol, enabling parties to the Convention to mitigate black carbon as part of a broader particulate matter strategy for health purposes and to achieve climate co-benefits."[118]
  • E.P.A. Delays Ruling on Increasing Ethanol Content in Gasoline, 18 June 2010 by Christopher Jensen: "A major association representing ethanol manufacturers is furious that the Environmental Protection Agency has delayed making a decision on whether to allow the ethanol content in gasoline to be increased to 15 percent, from 10 percent. But those worried that the increase will damage existing engines applauded the agency’s decision."
    • "Growth Energy has told the E.P.A. that studies prove E15 will not damage engines and will result in cleaner air while reducing the nation’s reliance on oil."
    • "In a statement released Thursday, the agency said all the necessary tests are not finished and a decision is not expected until this fall."[122]
  • EPA “Dropping the Ball” on E15, 18 June 2010 by The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA): "EPA is preparing to approve E15 use for only model year 2007 and newer vehicles in September while waiting to approve E15 for model year 2001 and newer vehicles later this fall. The RFA has repeatedly challenged EPA to provide any justification for such a decision, but the agency has yet to do so."
    • "Allowing up to E15 blends, up from current 10 percent limits, would mean a potential increase of 6.5 billion gallons of new ethanol demand, displacing more than 200 million additional barrels of imported oil." [123]
  • Net Benefits of Biomass Power Under Scrutiny, 18 June 2010 by Tom Zeller Jr. from The New York Times: "Matthew Wolfe, an energy developer with plans to turn tree branches and other woody debris into electric power, sees himself as a positive force in the effort to wean his state off of planet-warming fossil fuels."
    • "[P]ower generated by burning wood, plants and other organic material, which makes up 50 percent of all renewable energy produced in the United States, according to federal statistics, is facing increased scrutiny and opposition."
    • "Biomass proponents say it is a simple and proved renewable technology based on natural cycles. They acknowledge that burning wood and other organic matter releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere just as coal does, but point out that trees and plants also absorb the gas. If done carefully, and without overharvesting, they say, the damage to the climate can be offset."
    • "But opponents say achieving that sort of balance is almost impossible, and carbon-absorbing forests will ultimately be destroyed to feed a voracious biomass industry fueled inappropriately by clean-energy subsidies. They also argue that, like any incinerating operation, biomass plants generate all sorts of other pollution, including particulate matter. State and federal regulators are now puzzling over these arguments."[124]
  • Magically carbon neutral biomass, evil EPA rules and other myths, 18 June 2010 by Nathanael Greene on the NRDC Switchboard blog: "The [biomass] industry has convinced policymakers that no matter how much carbon is 'spent' when biomass is burned for energy, there will magically be enough income in the form of regrowth to cover all expenses. Because of this magic, the industry would have us categorically exclude their emissions when we do our carbon accounting."
    • Recent climate and energy bills "buy into this magically carbon neutral source of energy. The European Union has done it too."
    • "So how did the biomass industry and its supporters...react recently when EPA said it was going to account for the emissions column of the ledger as part of its rules governing which facilities will be covered by the Clean Air Act? Sadly, with willful misinterpretation."
    • A recent Massachusetts report "makes it very clear that most forest biomass is not carbon neutral."
    • "The ultimate solution is a comprehensive climate and energy bill that requires careful accounting of all carbon, including the carbon released and absorbed by biomass."[125]
  • New Energy Coalition Calls for Passage of Clean Energy Bill, 16 June 2010 by American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): "On the heels of President Obama's June 15 speech calling for clean energy legislation, a new coalition of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and biofuels organizations today called on the U.S. Senate to quickly pass comprehensive energy legislation that will create millions of American jobs and decrease our reliance on foreign supplies of fossil fuels by using our own clean and abundant resources."
    • A letter issued by this coalition reads in part: "We urge that the Senate move quickly to consider legislation promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, and biofuels, along with associated manufacturing opportunities."[127]
  • Cars and People Compete for Grain, 1 June 2010 by Earth Policy Institute: "Historically the food and energy economies were separate, but now with the massive U.S. capacity to convert grain into ethanol, that is changing....If the fuel value of grain exceeds its food value, the market will simply move the commodity into the energy economy."
    • "Suddenly the world is facing an epic moral and political issue: Should grain be used to fuel cars or feed people?"
    • "For every additional acre planted to corn to produce fuel, an acre of land must be cleared for cropping elsewhere. But there is little new land to be brought under the plow unless it comes from clearing tropical rainforests in the Amazon and Congo basins and in Indonesia or from clearing land in the Brazilian cerrado."[129]
  • China, US launch airline biofuel venture, 26 May 2010 by By Joe McDonald: "The United States and China launched a research venture Wednesday to develop biofuels for use by Chinese airlines based on algae or oily nuts and said an inaugural flight could come as early as this year."
    • "The two sides signed a series of research partnerships between Boeing Co., U.S. government agencies and Chinese research institutions and state companies including Air China Ltd. and PetroChina Ltd."
    • "The first flight in China using biofuels could happen this year, and the fuel could be in use in commercial aviation in three to five years, said Al Bryant, Boeing's vice president for research and technology in China. He said four test flights using biofuels have been flown successfully in the United States."
    • "Chinese companies have yet to decide which plants to use as a fuel source, but researchers are looking at algae and jatropha, a tree grown in south China that produces an oily nut, Bryant said."[130]
  • 90 US scientists demand revision of biofuels carbon accounting, 25 May 2010 by Jim Lane: "In Washington, 90 US scientists wrote to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and US Senate Majority leader Harry Reid to fix accounting standards for greenhouse gas emissions associated with bioenergy projects."
    • "Replacement of fossil fuels with bioenergy does not directly stop carbon dioxide emissions from tailpipes or smokestacks. Although fossil fuel emissions are reduced or eliminated, the combustion of biomass replaces fossil emissions with its own emissions (which may even be higher per unit of energy because of the lower energy to carbon ratio of biomass)."
    • "[C]learing or cutting forests for energy, either to burn trees directly in power plants or to replace forests with bioenergy crops, has the net effect of releasing otherwise sequestered carbon into the atmosphere, just like the extraction and burning of fossil fuels."
    • "Alternatively, bioenergy can use some vegetative residues that would otherwise decompose and release carbon to the atmosphere rapidly. Whether land and plants sequester additional carbon to offset emissions from burning the biomass depends on changes both in the rates of plant growth and in the carbon storage in plants and soils."[131]
  • Biomass Industry Sees 'Chilling Message' in EPA's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule, 14 May 2010 by Greenwire/New York Times: "U.S. EPA's final rule determining which sources will be subject to greenhouse gas permitting requirements does not exempt biomass power, a decision that has raised concern in the biomass industry."
    • "Issued yesterday, EPA's final 'tailoring' rule determines which polluters will be required to account for their greenhouse gas emissions in Clean Air Act permits when the agency begins to formally regulate the heat-trapping gases next January."
    • "Emissions from biomass or biogenic sources are treated the same as other sources of greenhouse gases in the final rule, EPA spokeswoman Cathy Milbourn said."
    • "That decision 'came as a bit of a surprise to us,' said David Tenny, president and CEO of the National Alliance of Forest Owners....Tenny's organization and other forestry groups had urged EPA to exclude biomass combustion from the requirements, arguing that the process is 'carbon neutral.'"[133]
  • Ethanol Industry: Too Big to De-Subsidize?, 10 May 2010 by HybridCars: "The auto industry is fighting to delay an EPA rule change that would increase the allowable level of ethanol blended into gasoline from 10 to 15 percent. Carmakers say that the increase could damage catalytic converters and cause 'check engine' lights to malfunction."
    • "A 50 percent increase in the ethanol allowance would help the United States meet a 36 billion gallon ethanol mandate made law by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and help the ethanol industry—which has lost several companies to bankruptcy recently—continue to grow."
    • "The EPA is reported to be leaning toward approving the increase, despite calls from automakers for further testing. Environmentalists are also largely opposed to ethanol, citing a net carbon emissions effect that is questionable at best. Though the burning of ethanol itself produces less carbon than petroleum, emissions associated with the growth, harvesting and production of the fuel have been shown in some studies to neutralize any positive effect."
    • "Under the government’s fuel economy regulations, automakers are allowed to assign higher fuel economy ratings to vehicles that have been specially outfitted to use an 85 percent blend of ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Yet, very few of these vehicles ever use E85 fuel."[134]
  • Gulf Oil Spill Spawns Biofuels Industry Opportunism, 6 May 2010 blog post by Dave Levitan on SolveClimate: "[T]he biofuels industry is seizing on the Gulf [of Mexico] oil disaster to highlight the differences between traditional fossil fuels and a safer ethanol alternative. But to some environmentalists, the effort smacks of opportunism that masks many thorny issues swirling around the nation's commitment to corn-based biofuels."
    • "The president of the Renewable Fuels Assocation, or RFA, Bob Dinneen wrote a letter to President Obama on Wednesday calling for approval of increased ethanol blends."
    • "The only problem, according to Craig Cox of the Environmental Working Group, is that the corn ethanol industry has contributed substantially to its own version of Gulf [of Mexico] pollution."
    • "'The RFA statement used the tragedy essentially as a marketing tool, which we thought was offensive,' Cox said. A large 'dead zone' exists in the Gulf that has been attributed to runoff of nitrogen-based fertilizers and sediment, largely coming from the Corn Belt region."[135]
    • Related item: Union of Concerned Scientists, RFA call for more biofuel investment in wake of oil spill, 6 May 2010 by Biofuels Digest: "In Washington, the Union of Concerned Scientists [UCS] and the Renewable Fuels Association [RFA] linked increased investment in biofuels to the solution to offshore drilling risks demonstrated by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico."
      • Brendan Bell of UCS was quoted as saying, "The real ticket to reducing our oil dependence is stronger fuel economy standards, more clean homegrown biofuels, and a 21st century transportation system."
      • Bob Dinneen of the RFA was quoted as saying, "The EPA should immediately move to allow for the blending of 12% ethanol by volume in each gallon of gasoline...EPA should grant a full waiver for the use of 15% ethanol blends as soon as the Department of Energy testing on catalytic converters is completed early this summer."[136]
  • 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."[137]
  • Banking on Fuel-Sweating Flora, 4 May 2010 by the New York Times: "A start-up company has broken ground on a Texas pilot plant that is supposed to produce ethanol and diesel in a radical new way: with an organism that sweats fuel."
    • "The company, Joule Unlimited of Cambridge, Mass., has developed several patented gene-altered organisms that absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide and combine these into hydrocarbons."
    • "Joule says its organisms release their oil and survive to make more. And the diesel fuel is easy to gather because, like most hydrocarbon oils, it is lighter than water and tends to separate. Ethanol mixes with water and must be distilled, but the technology for this is widely available."
    • "Carbon dioxide is trucked in for now, but the longer-term strategy is to locate the operation near a power plant that runs on coal or natural gas and captures its carbon dioxide. If a national cap on emissions is enacted, a power plant might be willing to pay a fuel plant to take its carbon dioxide gas."
    • "The company projects production of 25,000 gallons of ethanol a year from each acre, which would be many times higher than production from wood waste or other biomass source."[138]
  • EPA Administrator and Agriculture Secretary Team Up to Promote Farm Energy Generation, 3 May 2010 press release by USDA: "U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today announced a new interagency agreement promoting renewable energy generation and slashing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock operations. The agreement expands the work of the AgSTAR program, a joint EPA-USDA effort that helps livestock producers reduce methane emissions from their operations."
    • "The collaboration will expand technical assistance efforts, improve technical standards and guidance for the construction and evaluation of biogas recovery systems, and expand outreach to livestock producers and assist them with pre-feasibility studies."
    • "Biogas is composed primarily of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Biogas emitted from manure management systems called digesters can be collected and used to produce electricity, heat or hot water."[139]
  • Meat Producers Oppose Ethanol Tax Incentives, 29 April 2010 by Cindy Zimmerman, DomesticFuel: "Major livestock and poultry trade associations sent a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee this week asking that they allow the blenders’ tax credit and associated tariff for ethanol to expire at the end of this year."
    • "'The blender’s tax credit, coupled with the import tariff on foreign ethanol, has distorted the corn market, increased the cost of feeding animals, and squeezed production margins — resulting in job losses and bankruptcies in rural communities across America,' the groups wrote."
    • "The ethanol industry begs to disagree and contends that the livestock industry just wants cheap feed."
    • The Renewable Fuels Association in a statement responded with, "Ethanol is not the major driving force behind corn prices, whether they are rising or falling. Oil prices, speculation, weather, and a host of other factors have far more to do with the price of corn than ethanol production."[140]
  • Obama touts ethanol as vital piece of rural economic recovery, 28 April 2010 by Ben Geman, The Hill: "Obama endorsed expanded ethanol production during a speech at a Macon, Missouri plant owned by POET, the country’s largest ethanol producer."
    • "Obama noted funding for ethanol projects and research in last year’s stimulus law, and also cited his interagency biofuels working group. The administration wants to see ethanol production tripled over the next 12 years, he said. "
    • "POET and other companies are also seeking to develop next-generation fuels made from materials such as crop wastes, algae and grasses."[141]
  • Will Extending the Ethanol Tax Credit Slow Progress Toward Advanced Biofuels?, 25 April 2010 by Solve Climate: "The federal tax credit for ethanol is among the most controversial energy- or environment-related policies in the country. The volume on all sides of the issue is increasing, with some shouting down ethanol’s claim to lower greenhouse gas emissions, others touting the tax credit’s job-creation capabilities and still others lamenting the diversion of farmland for fuel."
    • Autumn Hanna of Taxpayers for Common Sense was quoted in the article as saying, the tax credit "does little more than pad the pockets of big oil companies like Shell. The ethanol tax credit has already cost taxpayers more than $20 billion in the last five years and, if extended, taxpayers stand to lose billions more. Since the 1970's, taxpayers have heavily subsidized corn ethanol. It’s time this mature energy industry stand on its own two feet."
    • "Legislators from agricultural states claim that ethanol won’t prosper on its own yet, and that more than 100,000 jobs would be lost if the credit were allowed to lapse."
    • Craig Cox, the senior vice president for agricultural and natural resources at the Environmental Working Group "argues that extending the ethanol tax credits now will only divert resources from much-needed research into those second-generation fuels."[142]
  • EPA's Biofuel Mandates Based on Shaky Assumptions, Scientists Say, 20 April 2010 by SolveClimate: "Federal renewable fuel mandates have created an industry around corn ethanol that now consumes nearly a third of the U.S. corn crop. But what is the rationale behind those mandates in the first place? Several scientists have asked and found the answers to be unsound."
    • "When the Environmental Protection Agency revised its renewable fuel standards in February, the agency recalculated the lifecycle emissions of corn ethanol to find that it was 20 percent less greenhouse-gas emitting than gasoline and, therefore, qualified as a renewable fuel. Some wondered what had changed since an EPA review issued less than a year before found that emissions from corn ethanol were too high for it to qualify."
    • "As it turns out, none of the actual data about emissions from biofuels changed — just the way the EPA presented it....Specifically, the agency's new fuel standards assess each biofuel based on its assumed greenhouse gas emissions in the year 2022, the deadline by which renewable fuel production must be at levels mandated by the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007."[145]
  • Europe Finds Clean Energy in Trash, but U.S. Lags, 13 April 2010 by the New York Times: Twenty-nine modern waste-to-energy incinerators in Denmark "have become both the mainstay of garbage disposal and a crucial fuel source across Denmark....Their use has not only reduced the country’s energy costs and reliance on oil and gas, but also benefited the environment, diminishing the use of landfills and cutting carbon dioxide emissions."
    • "With all these innovations, Denmark now regards garbage as a clean alternative fuel rather than a smelly, unsightly problem."
    • "Across Europe, there are about 400 plants, with Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands leading the pack in expanding them and building new ones."
    • "By contrast, no new waste-to-energy plants are being planned or built in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency says — even though the federal government and 24 states now classify waste that is burned this way for energy as a renewable fuel, in many cases eligible for subsidies. There are only 87 trash-burning power plants in the United States, a country of more than 300 million people, and almost all were built at least 15 years ago."
    • One reason is that "powerful environmental groups have fought the concept passionately. 'Incinerators are really the devil,' said Laura Haight, a senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group."[146]
  • The Scientists' Letter on the Copenhagen Commitment for Tropical Forests, April 2010 by the Union of Concerned Scientists on behalf of over 200 scientists: "The Scientists' Letter on the Copenhagen Commitment for Tropical Forests is a letter asking members of Congress to keep the commitment made by the United States in Copenhagen on December 16, 2009. There the United States promised $1 billion over 3 years for tropical forest conservation."
    • "Tropical forests contain half of all carbon stored in terrestrial vegetation, and clearing and degradation of tropical forests constitutes about 15% of all anthropogenic carbon emissions. REDD+ [Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation in Developing countries] can greatly strengthen measures to reduce carbon emissions, protect biodiversity, and provide other human benefits."
    • "REDD+ is an inexpensive solution relative to alternatives such as industrial energy efficiency or solar or nuclear power and an immediate solution too — $20 billion could cut emissions by half a billion tons and do so by 2020."
  • Rival Ethanol Trade Groups Campaigning to Woo Senators, Clobber Each Other, 13 April 2010 by Greenwire/New York Times: "Two rival trade groups seeking congressional help for the ethanol industry launched advertising yesterday to promote themselves and bash one another."
    • "Growth Energy Inc., which represents U.S.-based corn ethanol producers, seeks to maintain supremacy at home, while the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, or UNICA, wants to tear down corn ethanol's benefits in order to grab a larger share of the U.S. market."
    • "Growth Energy wants an extension of tax credits as well as to maintain an import tariff against ethanol produced in other countries and to promote the construction of ethanol pipelines and blender pumps. UNICA seeks elimination of the import tariff and of domestic subsidies for biofuels."
    • "Domestic ethanol producers are facing the expiration at the end of this year of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, also known as VEETC and the blender's tax credit. The federal benefit that started in 2005 gives a tax credit of 51 cents for every gallon of pure ethanol blended into gasoline."
    • UNICA hopes "'the Sweeter Alternative campaign will help Americans understand how sugar-cane ethanol is a clean and affordable renewable fuel that could help them save money at the pump, cut U.S. dependence on Middle East oil and improve the environment,' said Joel Velasco, UNICA's chief representative in North America, in a statement."[147]
  • EDITORIAL: Stop 'Big Corn', 5 April 2010 by the Washington Times: "The Environmental Protection Agency wants to dump more corn into your fuel tank this summer, and it's going to cost more than you think."
    • "The agency is expected to approve a request from 52 ethanol producers known collectively as "Growth Energy" to boost existing requirements that gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol to 15 percent. The change means billions more in government subsidies for companies in the business of growing corn and converting it into ethanol. For the rest of us, it means significantly higher gasoline and food prices."
    • "It's time that this shameless corporate welfare gets plowed under....Big Corn's advocates claim that forcing Americans to use this renewable fuel would reduce dependency on Mideast oil and lead to cleaner air. It's just as likely, however, that they want to get their hands on the $16 billion a year from the 45-cent-per-gallon "blender's tax credit" - in addition to the various state and federal mandates giving us no choice but to pump their pricey product into our fuel tanks."
    • "According to the University of Missouri's Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, the ethanol tax credit increases corn prices by 18 cents a bushel, wheat by 15 cents and soybeans by 28 cents. That means higher prices for most food items at the grocery store and restaurants."[148]
  • Hawaii crops, algae may get funded for military biofuel, 3 April 2010 by William Cole for the Honolulu Advertiser: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Navy are hoping to jumpstart the growth of crops and algae in Hawai'i that can be used for military fuel as part of an aggressive drive by the Pentagon to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and increase renewable energy sources."
    • "By 2016, the Navy wants to deploy a "Great Green Fleet" that will be powered entirely by alternative fuels, said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus during the signing of the Navy and Department of Agriculture agreement on Jan. 21."
    • "'Through alternative energy use, improved technological efficiencies and biofuel development,' Mabus said, 'we are going to improve the range and endurance of our ships and our aircraft, reduce their reliance on a vulnerable supply chain, and create a resistance to the external shocks that come from overreliance on a fragile global oil infrastructure.'"[149]
  • US military to run on 50:50 biofuels mix, 1 April 2010 by Biofuels International: "US president Barack Obama is introducing new energy policies that will see an increased use of advanced biofuels in the country’s military vehicles."
    • "According to Obama these energy strategies will not only help protect the environment, but will also go towards protecting national security."
    • "The Green Hornet, a Navy F-18 fighter jet, is scheduled to fly on Earth Day and will be the first plane to fly faster than the speed of sound powered by a 50:50 biofuel blend."
    • "A mixture of biofuels and ordinary fuels is also being tested in a tank from the Army and Marine Corps, while the Air Force is testing jet engines that run on biofuels."[150]
The March 2010 report by the National Wildlife Federation, Growing a Green Energy Future, examines issues related to the sustainability of biomass utilization in the United States.
  • 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."[152]
  • US Company Wins No. 1 Sustainable Biofuel Award in Europe, 17 March 2010 by CleanTechnica:"South San Francisco’s Solarzyme has just taken home the gold in the Sustainable Biofuels Technology category at the 2nd Annual Sustainable Biofuels Awards held in Amsterdam."
    • "Since its beginnings in 2003, Solayzme has produced the world’s first algal-based renewable diesel and the world’s first 100% algal-based jet fuel. It has also signed the largest production orders for commercial algae fuel contracts to date, supplying the U.S. Department of Defense with 21,500 gallons of fuel for Navy compatibility testing."
    • "In 2009, a field-to-wheels greenhouse gas life cycle test conducted by the Life Cycle Associates found that Solazyme’s algal biofuel, Soladiesel™, emits 85 to 93 percent less GHG emissions than standard petroleum based ultra-low sulfur diesel. But not just that. It also found that its biofuels result in a significantly lower carbon footprint than any currently available first-generation biofuel as well."[153]
  • 'Black Carbon' Crackdown Offers Fast-Action Solution to Slow Warming, 17 March 2010 blog post by Stacy Feldman: "Lawmakers, scientists and advocates in the U.S. intensified calls Tuesday to immediately cut emissions from climate-warming soot — also known as black carbon — as deadlock continues in Congress over far more complicated regulation of carbon dioxide."
    • "Black carbon causes up to 600 times the warming of CO2 and lasts just a few weeks in the atmosphere, whereas CO2 lingers for a century or more. Because of black carbon's short lifespan, the impact of efforts to knock out the potent, heat-absorbing particle would be near immediate."
    • "The U.S. contributes 5.5 percent to that global total, estimates say, mainly from diesel engines. Advocates argue the nation could easily shrink that number down to almost nothing, starting now. The filters to trap up to 90 percent of diesel pollution, for instance, are ready to go."[154]
  • The Case Against Biofuels: Probing Ethanol’s Hidden Costs, 11 March 2010 opinion piece by C. Ford Runge in Yale environment360: "Despite strong evidence that growing food crops to produce ethanol is harmful to the environment and the world’s poor, the Obama administration is backing subsidies and programs that will ensure that half of the U.S.’s corn crop will soon go to biofuel production. It’s time to recognize that biofuels are anything but green."
    • President Obama "and his administration have wholeheartedly embraced corn ethanol and the tangle of government subsidies, price supports, and tariffs that underpin the entire dubious enterprise of using corn to power our cars. In early February, the president threw his weight behind new and existing initiatives to boost ethanol production from both food and nonfood sources, including supporting Congressional mandates that would triple biofuel production to 36 billion gallons by 2022."
    • "Yet a close look at their impact on food security and the environment — with profound effects on water, the eutrophication of our coastal zones from fertilizers, land use, and greenhouse gas emissions — suggests that the biofuel bandwagon is anything but green."
    • Due to fertilizer usage, "loadings of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico encourage algae growth, starving water bodies of oxygen needed by aquatic life and enlarging the hypoxic 'dead zone' in the gulf."[155]
  • Obama Announces Steps to Boost Biofuels, Clean Coal, 3 February 2010, US Department of Energy Press release: "At a meeting with a bipartisan group of governors from around the country, the President laid out three measures that will work in concert to boost biofuels production and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil."
    • "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a rule to implement the long-term renewable fuels standard of 36 billion gallons by 2022 established by Congress. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a rule on the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) that would provide financing to increase the conversion of biomass to bioenergy."
    • "In addition, President Obama announced a Presidential Memorandum creating an Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage to develop a comprehensive and coordinated federal strategy to speed the development and deployment of clean coal technologies."[158]
  • White House Clears Rules on Indirect GHG Emissions From Biofuels, 2 February 2010 by Greenwire/New York Times: "The White House has completed its review of controversial U.S. EPA regulations aimed at curbing renewable fuels' greenhouse gas emissions."
    • "The Office of Management and Budget signed off on the rule yesterday..., clearing EPA to finalize the long-delayed implementation of the renewable fuels standard that Congress included in the 2007 energy bill."
    • "The standard requires EPA to assess the "lifecycle" emissions of biofuels -- weighing the emissions from growing crops, producing fuels made from them, and distributing and using the fuels."
    • "The draft regulations EPA proposed last year sparked outrage from biofuels advocates and farm-state lawmakers who maintained the agency was unfair to ethanol."
    • "The EPA proposal measures emissions from "indirect" land-use changes associated with biofuels -- such as land that is deforested in other countries because of increased crop growth in the United States. The agency concluded, depending on the time frames modeled, that traditional corn ethanol could have a slightly larger emissions footprint than gasoline when land-use changes are factored in."[159]
  • U.S. Feeds One Quarter of its Grain to Cars While Hunger is on the Rise, 21 January 2010 press release by Earth Policy Institute: "The 107 million tons of grain that went to U.S. ethanol distilleries in 2009 was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels. More than a quarter of the total U.S. grain crop was turned into ethanol to fuel cars last year."
    • "In a globalized food economy, increased demand for food to fuel American vehicles puts additional pressure on world food supplies."
    • EPI calculates that "even if the entire U.S. grain crop were converted to ethanol..., it would satisfy at most 18 percent of U.S. automotive fuel needs."
    • "The amount of grain needed to fill the tank of an SUV with ethanol just once can feed one person for an entire year....Continuing to divert more food to fuel, as is now mandated by the U.S. federal government in its Renewable Fuel Standard, will likely only reinforce the disturbing rise in hunger."[160]
  • DOE to Award Nearly $80 Million for Biofuels Research and Infrastructure, 20 January 2010 by EERE Network News: "DOE announced on January 13 its investment of nearly $80 million in advanced biofuels research and fueling infrastructure under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."
    • A majority of the money is going to, "two biofuels consortia that will seek to break down barriers to the commercialization of algae-based and other biofuels that can be transported and sold using the existing fueling infrastructure, including refineries and pipelines."
    • "In addition, the new infrastructure projects will allow the installation of new pumps and the retrofitting of existing pumps to dispense E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline."[161]
Change in Corn Plantings as Percent of County Area, 2004-2007 in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region.
  • Lawsuit: LCFS violates US Constitution, 4 January 2010 by Todd J. Guerrero in Ethanol Producer Magazine: "In a case that will be closely watched throughout the country, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association recently filed suit in federal district court alleging that California’s low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) violates the federal Constitution."
    • "Adopted by the California Air Resources Board in 2009, the LCFS is intended to reduce California greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuels used in California by an average of 10 percent by the year 2020."
    • "In its lawsuit, the trade groups assert that the LCFS stands as an obstacle to Congress’ intent in adopting the Environmental Security and Independence Act of 2007," which "exempted existing corn ethanol producers from claiming or demonstrating GHG reductions." The lawsuit also alleges that the LCFS violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which concerns interstate commerce, in particular because it requires calculating land use changes that occur mainly outside the state.[163]
  • Bad year for biofuel ends on a dour note, 1 January 2010 by AP/Washington Post: "A federal tax credit that provided makers of biodiesel $1 for every gallon expired Friday. As a result, some U.S. producers say they will shut down without the government subsidy."
    • "Biodiesel's woes come on top of a year of problems for the fledgling biofuel industry - an irony given the push to cut down on greenhouse gases and ease the nation's need for foreign oil. A key driver for the alternative fuel - the high cost of oil - disappeared as diesel prices dropped 18 percent since the beginning of the recession. Then in March the European Union placed import-killing tariffs on biodiesel and other biofuels."
    • "The biodiesel industry is now operating at only 15 percent of its potential capacity, according to the National Biodiesel Board, largely because the price of traditional diesel has collapsed. There are close to 180 biodiesel plants operating in about 40 states."
    • "There is little chance that the U.S. will reach alternative fuel benchmarks of 36 billion gallons a year by 2022 in hopes of weaning the nation off foreign oil."[164]

Events

Also see the main events page.

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

Publications

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

  • Midwest U.S. landscape change to 2020 driven by biofuel mandates by Megan Mehaffey, Elizabeth Smith, and Rick Van Remortel, January 2012. "Meeting future biofuel targets set by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) will require a substantial increase in production of corn. The Midwest, which has the highest overall crop production capacity, is likely to bear the brunt of the biofuel-driven changes. In this paper, we set forth a method for developing a possible future landscape and evaluate changes in practices and production between base year (BY) 2001 and biofuel target (BT) 2020.... Understanding where changes are likely to take place on the landscape will enable the evaluation of trade-offs between economic benefits and ecosystem services allowing proactive conservation and sustainable production for human well-being into the future." [166]
    • PDF available at: oaspub.epa.gov/eims/eimscomm.getfile?p_download_id=502641
  • Sustainable Ethanol: Biofuels, Biorefineries, Cellulosic Biomass, Flex-Fuel Vehicles, and Sustainable Farming for Energy Independence, authors Goettemoeller, Jeffrey and Adrian Goettemoeller, Praire Oak Publishing, Maryville, Missouri, 2007, 195 pages. ISBN 978-0-9786293-0-4.
  • This book presents a very comprehensive stat-of-the-art of the ethanol industry in the United States up to early 2007.

References

1Biofuels: Statement Of Keith Collins Chief Economist, U.S. Department Of Agriculture Before The U.S. Senate Committee On Agriculture, Nutrition And Forestry (PDF) - 10 January 2007.

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