October 2010

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Bioenergy > Timeline > 2010 > October 2010


This page includes information on News and Events in October 2010. (News and events are archived here at the end of the month.)

Events

News

  • Scientists Spar With Defender of Palm Oil and Pulp Firms, 29 October 2010 by New York Times' Dot Earth Blog: "A dozen scientists focused on the diversity and health of tropical forests released a letter this week describing what they say are deceptive statements made by two groups working on behalf of palm oil, timber and pulp interests. In the document, 'An Open Letter about Scientific Credibility and the Conservation of Tropical Forests,' the scientists strongly criticize the groups, World Growth International (WGI), a nonprofit organization, and International Trade Strategies Global (ITS), a consultancy on international trade issues. Here are a couple of their complaints:"
    • "A recent technical report by ITS concluded that 'There is no evidence of substantial deforestation' in Papua New Guinea, a conclusion strongly at variance with quantitative, remote-sensing studies of forest conversion published in the refereed scientific literature. Reports from WGI and ITS routinely claim that newly established oil palm plantations sequester carbon more rapidly than do old-growth rainforests."
    • "This claim, while technically correct, is a distraction from the reality that mature oil palm plantations store much less carbon than do old-growth rainforests (plantations store just 40-80 tons of biomass aboveground, half of which is carbon, compared to 200-400 tons of aboveground biomass in old-growth rainforests)."[1]
  • A wiki for the biofuels research community, 29 October 2010 by PhysOrg.com: "Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have created a technoeconomic model that should help accelerate the development of a next generation of...biofuels....This on-line, wiki-based model enables researchers to pursue the most promising strategies for cost-efficient biorefinery operations by simulating such critical factors as production costs and energy balances under different processing scenarios."
    • "'The high production cost of biofuels has been the main factor limiting their widespread adoption,' says JBEI's Daniel Klein-Marcuschamer. 'We felt that a model of the biorefinery operation that was open, transparent about the assumptions it uses, and updatable by the community of users could aid in guiding research in the direction where it is most likely to reduce the production cost of biofuels.'"
    • "Klein-Marcuschamer, a post-doctoral researcher in JBEI's Deconstruction Division, was the lead author of a paper describing this research that was published in the journal Biomass and Bioenergy. The paper is titled "Technoeconomic analysis of biofuels: A wiki-based platform for lignocellulosic biorefineries (PDF file).'"
    • "The initial JBEI technoeconomic model is formulated to simulate a lignocellulosic ethanol biorefinery that uses corn stover feedstock. Model input factors include the cost of transporting the stover to a refinery, the use of acid pre-treatments to break down lignin and enzymes to break down cellulose into simples sugars, and the fermentation of these simple sugars into ethanol using yeast. From such inputs, users can calculate the resulting energy and greenhouse gas output."[2]
  • 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."[4]
  • Bioenergy’s Carbon Neutrality Dismissed by Coalition of NGOs, 20 October 2010 by the Energy Collective: "A coalition of environmental organizations has warned that bioenergy is far from being carbon neutral and that related carbon accounting systems currently in place are deceptive."
    • "According to Ecosystems Climate Alliance, an alliance of NGOs committed to 'keeping natural terrestrial ecosystems intact and their carbon out of the atmosphere', zero-emission bioenergy is a myth. It blames the loopholes in LULUCF’s (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry) accounting rules for the misconception."
    • "ECA says" that nations "with renewable energy targets allow biomass burners to stay out of emissions accounting, backed by the 'deceptive assumption that prior sequestration is sufficient to neutralize the problem', and give them generous financial incentives for generating 'green energy'. This way they act as serious competition for real renewables like wind and solar, which have much higher unit cost of production."
    • "The fact that emissions from logging and burning of biomass are left out of Kyoto Protocol accounting systems, ECA says, creates an 'attractive but misleading way for industrialized countries to appear to be achieving their national emissions reduction targets under the Protocol through substituting bioenergy for fossil fuels. In reality, such substitution results in higher emissions than those from fossil fuel for the same amount of useable energy.'"[5]
  • 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."[6]
  • 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."[7]



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