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Energy density: 19.6 MJ/l1
Air-fuel ratio: 9.01
Specific energy: 3.0 MJ/kg air1
Heat of Vaporization: 0.92 MJ/kg1
Research Octane Number (RON): 1301
Motor Octane Number (MON): 961
Pump Octane Number (PON):  ???
Feedstocks: Temperate: corn, sorghum, sugar beets
Tropical: sugar cane, sweet potatoes, coconut, cassava, milo
Second-generation: cellulose, miscanthus, prairie grass, switchgrass
1Wikipedia: biobutanol

Ethanol (C2H5OH) (shorthand designation EtOH), also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol, is a colorless, flammable, toxic chemical compound. It is the alcohol that is consumed in alcoholic beverages. Ethanol has been used as a fuel since the early days of the automobile. It can be blended with gasoline for use in flex-fuel engines, making it a gasoline additive and substitute for petroleum-derived gasoline.



  • One liter of ethanol contains 66% of the energy content (typically expressed as British Thermal Units, or BTUs as one liter of gasoline, which means that cars that use ethanol require one third more fuel by volume to travel the same distance.1
  • "However, pure ethanol has a high octane value, which improves the performance of gasoline by reducing the likelihood that engine knock problems will occur."1

Hydrous Ethanol Fuel Blends

  • Hydrous Ethanol Fuel blends can be easily made from the lighter HC components of gasoline blended with ethanol containing small proportions of water (4~8% v/v). To facilitate the blending and prevent separation, longer chain alcohols (isobut, nbut, nprop, isoprop) are used in amounts inversely proportional to the volumes of hydrous ethanol. E20 to E30 blends can be used in modern fuel injected automobiles where the closed loop operation of the O2 sensor detects a change in the fuel/air ratio and the fuel delivery system automatically compensates. A maximum change in fuel/air ratio can be determined in any particular model of vehicle by its ability to compensate. If the vehicle cannot compensate for the change, it will detect a "lean burn" and turn on the malfunction indicator light.
  • High alcohol fuel blends are reputed to cause corrosion of aluminum fuel system components. However, studies indicate that the addition of water to the high alcohol fuel blends helps prevent corrosion. This is shown in SAE paper 2005-01-3708 Appendix 1.2 where gasoline/alcohol blends of E50, nP50,IP50 nB50, IB50 were tested on steel, copper, nickel, zinc, tin and three types of aluminum. The tests showed that when the water content was increased from 2000ppm to 1%, corrosion was no longer evident except some materials showed discolouration.

Instruction on Blending Your Own Hydrous Ethanol Fuel

  • Ingredients-190 proof ethyl alcohol (everclear will work fine), n-Butanol (ordered from a chemist supply), Gasoline. Simply splash blend 30% hydrous ethanol, 10% n-Butanol and 60% gasoline. Increase the content of butanol if phase separation exists. To determine how stable the blend is, put it in the freezer with a thermometer and watch it closely for phase separation. The lower the temperature of phase separation, the more stable the blend. This mixture will work in a standard (non-FFV) fuel injected automobile without any problems.


  • Ethanol is an oxygenate because it contains oxygen, unlike gasoline.1
  • However, ethanol combustion products also react with more atmospheric nitrogen, which can marginally increase emissions of ozone-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) gases.1
  • Ethanol contains less sulfur than gasoline and as a result lowers emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx).1
  • The carbon dioxide released by burning bioethanol is the same CO2 that was fixed by the plant it was produced from, and therefore net emissions of carbon are zero.1

Ethanol production

  • The simplest way to produce ethanol is through the fermentation of simple sugars, such as those found in sugar cane, sugar beet and sweet sorghum.1
  • "Starch crops such as corn, wheat, and cassava can also be hydrolyzed into sugar, which can then be fermented into ethanol".1
    • Sugars naturally ferment into acids and alcohols, including ethanol, but yeast and other enzymes can be used to speed up the process.1
  • Cellulosic ethanol - Ethanol can also be produced from cellulose, which makes up the fibrous and woody parts of the plant. Cellulose is mostly inedible, except to termites and ruminants, such as cows.
Corn is currently the main feedstock for producing E85 ethanol in the United States.

Brazilian ethanol

  • Brazil is the largest producer of ethanol in the world.
  • "The fermentation units are usually integrated into existing sugar mills, where the co-products of refining sugar cane include various grades of sugar, molasses, CO2, and the fibrous residue of crushed sugar cane stalks, called bagasse.1
  • The bagasse residue is often used as a direct-firing biofuel to produce steam, which is used to provide heat and often to generate electricity for use in the ethanol production process. The excess electricity is often sold to the electric grid. (This process is known as co-firing.)1

Ethanol in the United States

United States ethanol news


  • Eight Biofuels-related Groups Send Letter to Congress Championing the Success of the RFS, 27 March 2012 by Renewable Fuels Association: "The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) joined with seven other biofuel-related organizations to champion the success of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker John Boehner(R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The letter highlighted ethanol’s proven ability to lower gas prices and reduce this country’s dependence upon foreign oil. It also noted that any changes to the RFS could dampen investment in the development of next generation biofuels."
    • "The letter signatories were: the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the Energy Future Coalition, Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and the 25x25 Alliance." [1]
    • Read the full letter here (PDF File)
  • 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."[2]
  • 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."[3]
  • 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."[4]
  • 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.'” [[5]
  • The ILUC Debate, Four Years Later, 11 January 2012 by Ethanol Producer Magazine: “Four years ago, the biofuels industry was boorishly introduced to the theory of indirect land use change, or ILUC.”
    • “Timothy Searchinger’s now infamous article in the February 2008 edition of Science magazine boldly suggested increased corn ethanol production in the United States would lead to massive deforestation and conversion of grassland in nations halfway around the world. These hypothetical land conversions, he proffered, would release large amounts of stored carbon, indirectly making ethanol’s carbon footprint twice as bad as gasoline’s.”
    • “[Today] the scientific community has better data, improved modeling tools, and a better appreciation of the uncertainty and complexity involved in ILUC analysis. But, above all, they have the benefit of some experience and hindsight.”
    • Real world data show that Searchinger was dead wrong in his predictions that ethanol expansion would cause U.S. farmers to plant fewer soybean acres, or that they would '…directly plow up more forest or grassland.'”
    • Empirical data also prove wrong Searchinger’s notion that “higher prices triggered by biofuels will accelerate forest and grassland conversion” in South America. Data from Brazil’s Ministry of Science and Technology show dramatic reductions in Amazon deforestation over the past five years. In fact, 2010 saw the lowest level of deforestation since the government began collecting the data in 1988.
    • “While methods to empirically verify the past occurrence and magnitude of ILUC continue to improve, the economic models used to predict potential future ILUC also are being refined…. Contrasting these latest estimates with Searchinger’s outrageous value of 104 g/MJ shows his worst-case analysis was simply out of touch with reality.”
    • "Unfortunately, advancements in the science of ILUC have not been mirrored by improvements in biofuels regulations that penalize ethanol for hypothetical ILUC emissions. California and EPA continue to rely on outdated and inflated estimates of ILUC, to the detriment of our industry." [6]


  • 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."[7]
  • 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."[8]
  • 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."[9]
  • Ethanol fuel use goal likely a bust, science panel says, 4 October 2011 by USA Today: "The federal requirement for consuming 36 billion gallons of ethanol and other so-called biofuels annually by 2022 probably won't be met, and it might not reach its goal of cutting greenhouse gases even it were met, according to a report requested by Congress and published Tuesday by the National Academy of Sciences."
    • "Meeting the standard 'would likely increase federal budget outlays as well as have mixed economic and environmental effects,' according to a summary."
    • "The report notes that the way biofuels (mainly ethanol) are produced, and changes in how land is used to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard, will determine whether greenhouse gases (GHG) increase or decrease."
    • "The portion of the requirements dictating the use of 15 billion gallons of fuel mainly from corn ethanol certainly will be met, he says: 'We're at 14 billion today,' and plenty of ethanol plants are in operation. But meeting the requirements for cellulosic biofuels is uncertain, the report says."[10]
  • Future of biofuels seen as hinging on long-term strategy, 16 September 2011 by "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.'"[11]
  • Livestock producers face ethanol makers over cost of corn, 15 September 2011 by USA Today: "The flooding and record heat that have combined to shrink this year's corn crop are feeding new calls from livestock producers to weaken the government's ethanol mandates."
    • "Producers told the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday that tightening grain supplies are driving up feed costs further and threatening to push many poultry farms and others out of business."
    • "More than 20 percent of the chicken industry, as measured by production, has been sold to foreign-owned companies because of bankruptcies in the U.S. industry over the last three years, said Ted Seger, president of Farbest Foods Inc."
    • "The Agriculture Department this week estimated that farmers will harvest 12.5 billion bushels of corn this year, the third-largest crop on record, but that was 3 percent less than the USDA had forecast a month earlier."
    • "About one-third of the corn that is sold for ethanol production winds up as a byproduct known as distillers grains that can substitute for corn in livestock feed, but poultry and hog producers say they can use the product only in small amounts."[12]
  • 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."[13]
  • 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."[14]
  • Ethanol critics target mandates as subsidy ends, 10 September 2011 by "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."[15]
  • U.S. Ethanol Industry to Keep Subsidies Until End of 2011, 1 August 2011 by Bloomberg: "U.S. ethanol subsidies aren’t affected by a congressional agreement to lift the country’s debt limit that may be voted on by both chambers today, according to industry groups."
    • "The 45-cent tax credit for each gallon of the biofuel blended into gasoline and the 54-cent tariff on Brazilian imports, due to expire Dec. 31, will stay in place for now, according to the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, Washington-based industry trade groups."
    • "Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, forged a July 7 deal with Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, to eliminate the government supports and to include it as part of the deficit- reduction package. The agreement proposed to reduce federal deficit by $1.33 billion and to dedicate $668 million to biofuels and new technologies."
    • "The U.S. is required to use 12.6 billion gallons of ethanol this year and 15 billion gallons by 2015 under an energy law signed in 2007, known as the Renewable Fuels Standard."[16]
  • 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."[17]
  • Senators Reach Deal on Ethanol Subsidy Repeal, Urge Swift Congressional Action for Maximum Benefit, 7 July 2011 by The New York Times: "Bipartisan Senate negotiators today reached a deal to save $1.3 billion through an early repeal of two major ethanol tax benefits, setting what could prove a precedent for more energy-sector tax changes as part of a sprawling deal to raise the nation's debt limit."
    • "The agreement released by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) would end the ethanol blenders' tax credit and the tariff on imported biofuels this month, routing most of the proceeds to deficit reduction while extending tax breaks for infrastructure as well as cellulosic and smaller producers."
    • "But without a House-side buy-in to the deal, its prospects of becoming law -- either as part of a larger measure to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling or as a stand-alone bill -- are slim."
    • "Klobuchar said today that she saw the ethanol accord as a template for a similar tax-benefit compromise with oil and gas companies."
    • "Ethanol interest groups largely hailed the terms of the Senate agreement, which would extend the tax credit for cellulosic production through 2015 with an expansion for algae-based fuels, extend tax incentives for infrastructure through 2014 and extend benefits for smaller ethanol producers through 2012."[18]
  • U.S. Backs Project to Produce Fuel From Corn Waste, 6 July 2011 by The New York Times: "The Energy Department plans to provide a $105 million loan guarantee for the expansion of an ethanol factory in Emmetsburg, Iowa, that intends to make motor fuel from corncobs, leaves and husks."
    • "Experts say that the new factory, being built by POET, a major producer of ethanol derived from corn kernels, could be the first commercial-scale plant to make ethanol from a nonfood, or cellulosic, plant source."
    • "Commercial production of ethanol from waste products like husks is the holy grail of the ethanol industry, and other companies have stumbled in their quest to achieve that goal."
    • "If celluosic ethanol could be produced in an economical fashion, it would vastly increase the American potential to make motor vehicle fuel and reduce use of fossil fuels. It could reduce the use of corn in the manufacture of ethanol as a motor fuel, which is criticized for reducing food supplies for people and animals."[19]
  • Nevada will get next-generation ethanol plant, 28 June 2011 by "Nevada will be the site of one of the world's few next-generation ethanol plants, DuPont announced Monday."
    • "The biorefinery will use corncobs, leaves and stalks as feedstock rather than corn."
    • "To remain a leader in ethanol production, Iowa must find an efficient, cost-effective way to harvest the tons of biomass left on fields and turn it into biofuel."
    • "Federal renewable-energy goals will require refiners to use 36 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2022, and much of it from sources other than cornstarch."
    • "DuPont Danisco is working with local farmers to get commitments for collecting cobs, leaves and stalks from their fields. The plant will need about 300,000 dry tons of stover annually."[20]
  • 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."[21]
  • Ethanol Industry Is Unruffled by Senate Vote Against Tax Breaks, 17 June 2011 by The New York Times: "The Senate dealt the ethanol industry a rare defeat on Thursday when it voted 73-27 to end the annual $6 billion tax break given to blenders of ethanol, along with a tariff on foreign ethanol intended to protect the domestic industry from Brazilian sugar ethanol imports."
    • "The biggest government support for ethanol — the renewable fuels standard, which mandates the use of up to 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol in transport fuels — would not be touched by the amendment and appears politically safe."
    • "And lastly, just minutes after overwhelmingly voting against tax supports for ethanol, the Senate voted down another measure previously passed by the House of Representatives to prohibit public spending on special blender pumps and tanks needed to distribute higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline."
    • "But if some tax changes do occur, some small ethanol producers who depend on the blending tax breaks are likely to get hurt and some may go out of business."[22]
  • Senate Votes to End Ethanol Blenders Tax Credit, 16 June 2011 by AgWired: "An amendment to end the ethanol blenders tax credit (VEETC) passed the Senate today by 73 to 27, a vote that some agricultural groups applaud while some denounce, while the ethanol industry says it is unlikely to matter."
    • "The Renewable Fuels Association calls the vote disappointing but 'ultimately inconsequential' since the underlying economic development bill to which this amendment is attached is 'unlikely to make it to the president’s desk.'"
    • "U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Obama administration opposes an abrupt end to the VEETC. 'We need reforms and a smarter biofuels program, but simply cutting off support for the industry isn’t the right approach. Therefore, we oppose a straight repeal of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and efforts to block biofuels infrastructure programs.'"
    • "On the other side of the corn field, National Cattlemens Beef Association (NCBA) President Bill Donald called the vote 'a giant step toward leveling the playing field for a bushel of corn' noting that'...'after 30 years and more than $30 billion in taxpayer support, the day has come to let the mature corn-based ethanol industry stand on its own two feet.'"
    • "A coalition of groups, including food retailers, poultry organizations and environmental interests also applauded the vote as 'the start of a new era for U.S. biofuels policy.'"
    • "Immediately after the vote to end the VEETC, senators defeated an amendment that would have stopped federal funding for ethanol blender pumps by a vote of 41 to 59."[23]
  • Senate keeps ethanol subsidies, 14 June 2011 by Politico: (United States) "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."[24]
  • 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."[25]
  • Battle Between Ethanol and Pork May Cause Corn Shortage, 8 June 2011 by "A large international turnout is expected here this week at the World Pork Expo in Iowa. Hot topics include pushing for free trade with Panama, Colombia, and especially South Korea."
    • "The hottest topic, however, is the price of corn. Thursday, the USDA updates its outlook on this year's corn crop, the first update since flooding delayed planting."
    • "Which leads to the big beef between hogs and ethanol. Both are competing for corn, and after September, there may not be enough to go around."
    • "In its defense, the ethanol industry highlights the fact that after it extracts what it needs from corn, it sells the residual product back to the livestock industry as a nutritious, concentrated feed (though it contains less energy). This residual is called Dried Distillers Grains, or DDG."
    • "Hog farmers and meat packers are discovering that pigs don't process the DDGs the same way, and too much of the stuff in the diet affects the meat."
    • "So now hog farmers have one more reason to complain about ethanol."[26]
  • USDA report predicts record biofuel crop this year, 12 May 2011 by "According to survey data gathered from farmers and historical yield trends, USDA is predicting 92.2 million acres of corn to be planted, 85.1 million harvested acres, and an average yield of 158.7 bushels per acre. This would produce a total crop of 13.5 billion bushels, an all-time record."
    • "Additionally, USDA increased its estimate for carry-out stocks of corn for 2010/11 to 730 million bushels, based on slightly lower export demand. As for the 2011/2012 marketing year (Sept. 1 – Aug. 31), USDA is anticipating total corn use of 13.355 billion bushels."
    • "Specifically for ethanol, USDA is projecting demand at 5.05 billion bushels, which translates to more than 14 billion gallons of ethanol using industry average ethanol yields."
    • "After all demands are met, USDA expects 2011/12 carry-out to be 900 million bushels, up nearly 25% from the current marketing year."
    • "In separate government data also released today, ethanol exports set another record in March, as 84 million gallons of product (denatured and undenatured, non-beverage) were shipped to destinations around the world."[27]
  • Feinstein, GOP senator fight subsidies for ethanol, 7 May 2011 by SFGate: "Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn have joined forces with Tea Party activists in an attempt to kill $6 billion a year in ethanol subsidies, taking on the corn lobby and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist."
    • "The fuel has been alternately touted by corn growers as a salvation from U.S. dependence on foreign oil and blamed by environmentalists for contributing to giant algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico and by anti-poverty groups for raising food prices."
    • "'Ethanol is the only industry that benefits from a triple crown of government intervention,' Feinstein said. 'Its use is mandated by law, it is protected by tariffs, and companies are paid by the federal government to use it.'"
    • "The ethanol tax credit is a classic 'tax expenditure,' or spending program disguised as a tax cut. Such tax breaks together cost more than $1 trillion a year. There is wide agreement among budget analysts, including the president's bipartisan deficit commission, that reducing such tax breaks could reduce the deficit and increase the fairness of the tax code."[28]
  • Franken, Klobuchar propose end to ethanol subsidies, 5 May 2011 by MPR News: "Minnesota's two U.S. senators, along with lawmakers from other corn-growing states, have introduced a bill that would gradually end tax subsidies for ethanol producers."
    • "Under the proposal, the tax credit for the corn-based fuel would drop from 45 cents a gallon today to 15 cents a gallon by 2013. After that, the size of the credit would be linked to the price of oil."
    • "The bill would maintain support for cellulosic ethanol to promote a transition to those fuels, which don't use corn as a feedstock."
    • "The bill comes as deficit hawks have zeroed in on tax breaks for ethanol as a sign of special interest influence over the federal tax code."
    • "Minnesota produced about 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol least year, about 8 percent of all production in the U.S."[29]
  • Corn ethanol policy under attack in California, 26 April 2011 by Ethanol Producer Magazine: "Opponents of corn ethanol in California achieved a small victory on April 25 after the state assembly natural resources committee approved a bill that would make corn ethanol ineligible for state funding and would repeal the California Ethanol Producer Incentive Program."
    • "Supporters of the measure claim that ethanol production is to blame for higher corn prices, which in turn directly affects Californians through higher food prices. The state’s poultry, dairy and cattle producers are at the top of the list of the bill’s supporters. Many attended the committee hearing and told legislators that high corn prices are 'killing' their businesses and eliminating support for corn ethanol will help to reduce corn prices."
    • "Three California ethanol producers are currently able to receive assistance through CEPIP—Calgren Renewable Fuels LLC, Pacific Ethanol Inc. and AE Biofuels Inc. Representatives from all three companies were on hand at the hearing to offer their input. Each producer stressed that while they are currently using corn to produce their ethanol, CEPIP requires them to invest in technology to transition to other feedstocks and the state’s low carbon fuel standard further spurs them to produce low-carbon fuels. Corn ethanol is the best option currently available, they said, and provides a bridge toward cellulosic ethanol and other lower-carbon fuels. But if incentives currently in place to support the existing industry are taken away, California’s ethanol plants will undoubtedly close and the state will lose its forward momentum in commercializing those other fuels."[30]
  • 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."[31]
  • USDA gets it right by changing corn for ethanol category, 21 April 2011 by Delta Farm Press: "USDA has changed a reporting category in its monthly supply and demand estimates to better clarify how corn is being used for ethanol."
    • "When USDA first started reporting corn used for ethanol in May 2004, it listed the gross corn bushels as simply 'ethanol for fuel,' giving the impression that 100 percent of each bushel is used for fuel ethanol."
    • "U.S. corn farmers produced 12.5 billion bushels of corn in 2010-11 and USDA projects that 5 billion bushels will be used by the ethanol industry. Without the clarification, a layman would figure that 40 percent of the U.S. crop went into ethanol production."
    • "But the real story is that one-third of every bushel used in the ethanol process returns to the animal feed market in the form of distillers grains, corn gluten feed or corn gluten meal. When you consider this, corn used for ethanol drops to 23 percent of U.S. corn production, a big difference."
    • "In USDA’s April 8 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, USDA changed the category from 'ethanol for fuel' to 'ethanol and byproducts,' and included a footnote explaining that corn used for ethanol also produces distillers grains, corn gluten feed, corn gluten meal and corn oil."[32]
  • Advanced biofuels lag far behind mandates, 19 April 2011 by "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."[33]
  • ISU creates 'Nintendo for biofuel nerds.', 18 April 2011 by The Gazette: "I-BOS (the Interactive Biorefinery Operations Simulator) is no game. It’s based on real Iowa biorefineries that are producing ethanol and biodiesel."
    • "It’s designed to help students in Iowa State’s biorenewable resources and technology program learn about biofuel production. And it could be used by the biofuel industry to help train employees to operate a biorefinery."
    • "It’s based on differential calculations that describe the fundamental transport phenomena and incorporate the principles of mass and energy conservation. The simulations also take into account more than 20 specific production attributes including moisture, starch content, contaminants, temperature and particle size."
    • "The virtual control room is now written to simulate the operation of ethanol and biodiesel plants. It keeps track of energy consumption, production efficiency and fuel quality."
    • "The virtual control room can also offer training and experience with new feedstocks and technologies. Grewell said as new ideas are developed, and as researchers understand the processes and conversions, feedstocks such as cellulose from plants or oil from algae can be written into the simulations."
  • Sen. Harkin: Biofuels Don’t Contribute to World Hunger, 18 April 2011 by "Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) dismissed concerns Thursday that ethanol and other biofuels are contributing to rising food prices and world hunger."
    • "The five-term Senator said the U.S. has not reduced the amount of corn it exports, and increased ethanol production in recent years has been matched by increased corn production."
    • "Biofuels currently account for nearly 10 percent of U.S. gasoline supplies. The 13 billion gallons America produces each year fall well short of the 36 billion gallons 2007’s Renewable Fuel Standard requires the country to produce by 2022."
    • "Harkin said that number is still attainable, but several of the committee’s members cited concerns that the U.S. has maxed out how much ethanol it can produce. This fear stems from the fact most fuel in America is 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol, creating a 'blend wall' that prevents ethanol from accounting for more than 10 percent of the nation’s fuel."
    • "Harkin said the Biofuels Market Expansion Act, which he introduced in January, would help the country push past the blend wall. The bill would require car companies to make more flex-fuel vehicles – which can operate on more than one fuel at a time – and gas companies to equip more of their filling stations with blender pumps that provide fuel with higher concentrations of ethanol."[34]
  • Corn’s biofuel role in question, 10 April 2011 by Star Tribune: "Attempts to dethrone King Corn in the renewable fuels market are more frequent and forceful than they used to be. Corn ethanol no longer qualifies as an innovative technology that garners broad federal subsidies."
    • "Al Franken, one of Minnesota's senators, said his bill safeguards the utility and availability of ethanol from any source. In fact, there is not enough productive capacity in corn ethanol to meet the country's long-term goals for renewable fuels."
    • "In the world of renewable energy, cellulose means whatever grows naturally in renewable supplies. Theoretically, this is the 50-state solution to American energy independence -- biorefineries that convert anything from sawdust to saw grass into alternatives to gasoline."
    • "The problem, say guys like Kelly Nixon, is turning theory into practice. 'We looked at the cost, and it was too expensive without millions from [the federal government],' Nixon said. 'I think the little guys are probably out [of the cellulosic conversion business].'"[35]
  • 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."[36]
  • Senate targets ethanol infrastructure, 7 April 2011 by "The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Thursday gave Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) a chance to promote a bill that would open larger markets for ethanol. It could be the first step toward passing legislation aimed at helping ethanol from both corn and cellulose get past the 10% blend wall that could limit growth of the industry."
    • "The legislation would do three things: 1)require a large majority of cars sold in the U.S. to be 'flex-fuel' vehicles that can burn up to 85% ethanol, which would cost about $100 per car, 2)require major fuel distributors to install increasing numbers of blender pumps for ethanol over a six year period and authorize grants to help owners of smaller filling stations install the pumps, 3)authorize loan guarantees for pipelines that could move ethanol from production areas to major markets such as New York or New Jersey."
    • "The House has been less friendly to ethanol, recently passing a budget that would block EPA from implementing 15% blends of ethanol into gasoline this year."[37]
  • Experts: Farmers not to blame for high food prices, 7 April 2011 by Sify Finance: "Corn prices rose even higher last week following an announcement that U.S. farmers are planting the second largest corn crop since 1944, but it won't be enough to meet growing worldwide demand. Corn has traded at more than $7 a bushel this month, more than double last summer's $3.50, and many traders say it could pass the record $7.65 set in 2008."
    • "But experts say those prices have little to do with what shoppers pay at the grocery store, and farmers and ethanol producers aren't responsible for recent increases in the cost of groceries."
    • "'Ethanol has increased demand for corn, but the lion's share of the responsibility for rising food prices has to do with volatile energy prices,' Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association, said. "It is the price of energy, oil, gas, diesel, that makes what you buy at the store more expensive."
    • "The U.S. Department of Agriculture report released last month that broke down where each dollar spent on groceries goes. Farmers received an average of 11.6 cents per dollar in 2008, the latest year data was available. The rest of the money goes to processing, packaging, transportation, retail trade and food service, which includes any place that prepares meals, snacks and beverages for immediate consumption including deli counters and in-store salad bars. The share going to each category has declined some, except for food service which now gets 33.7 cents of every dollar spent, the USDA reported."[38]
  • Ethanol: How Much Can We Produce?, 5 April 2011 by "Innovations in America’s ethanol industry are constantly delivering new ways to reduce water and energy consumption at the plant, coax more energy out of the feedstock and cut greenhouse gas emissions through use of renewable energy."
    • "But researchers from General Motors, Auburn University and Coskata Inc. have also identified ethanol as the most efficient and productive way to create renewable fuels from biomass – such as agricultural waste, trash and other cellulosic materials – that is often otherwise left unused in the United States."
    • "As oil prices spike on unrest and instability in the Middle East, research demonstrates that we have more than enough cellulosic feedstock for conversion into ethanol in this country to cut our foreign oil consumption by as much as 30 percent."
    • "Some of the paper’s findings echo other work – such as the finding that ethanol substantially reduces carbon emissions, compared to other transportation fuels. But other conclusions would surprise critics of ethanol. For example, the paper concludes that using higher blends of ethanol improves the performance of today’s high-compression engines, because of its superior qualities over gasoline as a fuel."[39]
  • Okla. St. professor turns soda waste into ethanol, 14 March 2011 by Business Week: "Biosystems and agricultural engineering associate professor Danielle Bellmer said that by adjusting the pH levels she has found that the leftover materials from soda manufacturing can be converted into ethanol."
    • "By adding a nitrogen source and Superstart, a common dry yeast, Bellmer and her students discovered it took anywhere from three to 10 days, depending on the amount of yeast added and the temperature, for the soda's sugar to ferment into ethanol."
    • "About 6 to 7 percent alcohol is converted from the 12 to 13 percent sugar found in one two-liter soda bottle, Bellmer said."[40]
  • 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."[41]
  • Feinstein introduces bill repealing VEETC for corn-based ethanol , 10 March 2011 by Oil Price Information Service: "In a move that she believes would save taxpayers $3 billion in the first six months of implementation, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would repeal the 45ct/gal ethanol tax credit for corn-based ethanol and lower the 54ct/gal ethanol import tariff to match the tax credit."
    • "'Ethanol is the only industry that benefits from a triple crown of government intervention: its use is mandated by law, it is protected by tariffs and companies are paid by the federal government to use it,' said Feinstein. 'It's time we end this practice once and for all."
    • "The bill takes a different direction than the proposal introduced yesterday by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), which would immediately repeal the ethanol tax credit. Feinstein's bill (S.530), co-sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), would eliminate the ethanol tax credit by June 30 only for corn-based ethanol. According to the bill text, after June 30, the tax credit would only be available to ethanol which qualifies as an advanced biofuel as defined by section 211(o) of the Clean Air Act."
    • "Ethanol groups roundly criticized Feinstein's bill. 'This does nothing to help our nation reduce its dependence on foreign oil,' said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis."
    • "U.S. ethanol advocates have always described the 54ct/gal import tariff as essential to offset the U.S. ethanol tax incentive, otherwise foreign producers could bring in product and take advantage of the same tax incentive as U.S. producers. However, that description no longer jibes, as the tax credit was reduced in the 2008 farm bill from 51cts/gal to 45cts/gal, but the import tariff was kept at the same amount."[42]
  • BESC scores a first with isobutanol directly from cellulose, 7 March 2011 by Oak Ridge National Laboratory: "Using consolidated bioprocessing, a team led by James Liao of the University of California at Los Angeles for the first time produced isobutanol directly from cellulose."
    • "Compared to ethanol, higher alcohols such as isobutanol are better candidates for gasoline replacement because they have an energy density, octane value and Reid vapor pressure - a measurement of volatility - that is much closer to gasoline, Liao said."
    • "To make the conversion possible, Liao and postdoctoral researcher Wendy Higashide of UCLA and Yongchao Li and Yunfeng Yang of Oak Ridge National Laboratory had to develop a strain of Clostridium cellulolyticum, a native cellulose-degrading microbe, that could synthesize isobutanol directly from cellulose."
    • ""In nature, no microorganisms have been identified that possess all of the characteristics necessary for the ideal consolidated bioprocessing strain, so we knew we had to genetically engineer a strain for this purpose," Li said."[43]
  • Vilsack: US Farms Producing Enough for Food & Biofuels, 6 March 2011 by "Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says American farmers are producing enough to provide the food AND fuel, in particular ethanol and biodiesel, this country needs."
    • "Vilsack took the blame for food price increases off the American farmers and biofuels industry and put it on a more likely culprit."
    • "'I think OPEC has more to do with food price increases than farmers,' pointing out that even if you doubled the price of commodities, farmers, with their paltry 20 cents of every food dollar share, wouldn’t see much of an increase in their pocketbooks."[44]
  • The energy emperor's ethanol wardrobe looks mighty bare , 6 March 2011 by Washington Examiner: "Anyone looking at the ethanol subsidy program should be reminded of the childhood story of the emperor's new clothes."
    • "While those who support the program put forth various reasons for their support -- that ethanol will reduce greenhouse gases or curb our reliance on foreign oil -- in reality, it is merely a wealth transfer program from the general taxpayer to corn producers."
    • "If we admitted that, and just gave corn producers a check, we would be better off. We would avoid the misallocation of resources and the unintended consequences of the current program, such as higher food prices, that are a result of making the subsidy indirect rather than direct."
    • "The environmental reasons for using ethanol are at best controversial. Former Vice President Al Gore has recently said about the ethanol subsidy, 'It is not good to have these massive subsidies.' Producing ethanol from corn and distributing it emits more greenhouse gases than producing gasoline from crude oil and distributing it."
    • "If the use of corn ethanol were economically efficient, the ethanol industry would not need subsidies, taxes on the use of competitive fuels, and a government requirement that its product be used."[45]
  • Coalition of 90 groups urges Congress to end corn ethanol subsidies, 1 March 2011 by "Today, a whopping coalition of 90 organizations sent a letter to Congressional leadership calling on Congress to end wasteful corn ethanol subsidies and resist industry pressure to spend more taxpayer dollars supporting this dirty fuel."
    • "This is not the first time that business associations and advocacy groups, lawmakers and major newspaper editorial boards from the left, right and center have all come together to reject more giveaways to old, dirty corn ethanol by allowing the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit or “VEETC” to expire at year-end."
    • "As the coalition letter points out, the facts are crystal clear: analysis after analysis has shown the redundancy and wastefulness of the VEETC and concluded that ending it would have little impact on domestic corn ethanol production or jobs."[46]
    • "To see the letter, go to Anti-VEETC Coalition Letter (PDF File)"
  • The Corn Ultimatum: How long can Americans keep burning one sixth the world’s corn supply in our cars?, 24 February 2011 by Climate Progress: "In a world of blatantly increasing food insecurity — driven by population, dietary trends, rising oil prices, and growing climate instability — America’s policy of burning one third of our corn crop in our engines (soon to be 37% or more) is becoming increasingly untenable, if not unconscionable."
    • "Reuters has a good article which notes, 'U.S. ethanol production this year will consume 15 percent of the world’s corn supply, up from 10 percent in 2008.'"
    • "The only reason environmentalists and clean energy advocates even tolerated energy deals with corn ethanol mandates is the hope that jumpstarting the infrastructure for corn ethanol would pave the way for next-generation cellulosic ethanol."[47]
  • Bad time to kill E15, retired Navy leader says, 21 February 2011 by "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.[48]
  • 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."[49]
  • Ethanol Gets Seat on California LCFS Panel, 8 February 2011 by "Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Vice President of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper has been selected to represent the ethanol industry on the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS) Advisory Panel. "
    • "'California has always been an important market for biofuels like ethanol,' Cooper said. 'The LCFS will have significant implications for the future role of ethanol in the state.'"
    • "Specifically, the topics addressed by the advisory panel will include the program’s progress against LCFS targets, possible adjustments to the compliance schedule, lifecycle assessments, advances in fuels and production technology, fuel and vehicle supply availability, the program’s impact on the state’s fuel supplies, and other issues."[50]
  • Ethanol industry watching federal tax credit, 7 February 2011 by "The 3.5 billion gallons of ethanol pumped out yearly in Iowa makes the Hawkeye State the nation's top producer."
    • "Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey says ethanol's success is supplemented by a federal tax credit, amounting to 45-cents per gallon for the ethanol blender. It's worth a total of $9 billion and runs through the end of the year."
    • "Northey feels confident the credit will be renewed for 2012, but maybe not at its current level, though he says that's not all bad."
    • "One good sign for the industry is the recently-approved increase of ethanol allowed to blend into gasoline, from 10 to 15%."
    • "Something else the renewable energy industry has its eye on is the biodiesel tax credit for 2012. After Congress decided to go without it in 2010, Northey says it badly hurt the industry, which is why it was reinstated for this year."[51]
  • 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."[52]
  • 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."[53]
  • EPA Ethanol Expansion Hardens a Divide, 27 January 2011 by "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." [54]
  • 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."[55]


  • 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."
  • Some GOP Senators Become Unlikely Allies Of Green Groups In Fight To Gut Ethanol Subsidies, 23 November 2010 by the Huffington Post: "After being elected with a strong mandate to cut spending, all Republicans don't agree on how best to rein in the deficit -- and some have become unlikely allies with green groups in the fight to gut federal subsidies of ethanol."
    • "Nathanael Greene, director of renewable energy policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the issue is beyond left and right."
    • "Greene said that the money being spent on corn ethanol is money that can't be invested in other clean energy technologies, noting 75 percent of the money the federal government spends on renewables goes to corn ethanol."[56]
  • 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.'"[57]
  • 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."[58]
  • 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."[60]
  • Energy Subsidies — Good and Bad, 28 July 2010 editorial by New York Times: "Congress must soon decide whether to extend federal tax subsidies for renewable energy that expire at the end of the year. The subsidies for wind, solar and geothermal energy are necessary to give these energy sources the help they need to compete with oil, coal and natural gas. While it renews those subsidies, Congress should end tax breaks for corn ethanol, which can stand on its own and is of dubious environmental benefit."
    • "Ethanol, which in this country is made almost exclusively from corn, has been subsidized since the early 1970s, partly because it increases octane levels while helping to reduce certain pollutants, most notably carbon monoxide."
    • "According to the Congressional Budget Office, the price tag last year for the ethanol tax break was about $6 billion."
    • "This money mainly benefits refiners and big farmers, and could be better spent elsewhere — perhaps in developing more advanced forms of ethanol from grasses, scrub trees and plant wastes. Corn ethanol can actually increase greenhouse gases if grasslands or forests are ploughed for crop production."[62]
  • 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, 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".[63]
    • Sponsors of the ad include the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Hispanic Institute, the Engine Manufacturers Association, and the Snack Food Association.
  • 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."[64]
  • 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."[65]
  • 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."[66]
  • Ethanol tax break may ride on U.S. energy bill, 13 July 2010 by Reuters: "Senators from the U.S. Midwest may attach a long-term extension of biofuel tax breaks to an energy bill being formulated by Democratic leaders."
    • "Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota mentioned the idea of linking the issues during a speech on Tuesday to soybean growers."
    • "A $1-a-gallon tax credit for biodiesel lapsed at the end of 2009 and major ethanol incentives, including a blender tax credit and a tariff on imported ethanol, expire at the end of this year."
    • "The tax breaks are worth $6 billion a year, say critics. They include a 45-cent-a-gallon tax credit for gasoline blenders, a 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imports, a $1.01-a-gallon credit to cellulosic ethanol producers, and a 10-cent-a-gallon small-producer tax credit for ethanol."[67]
  • 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."[68]
  • 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."[70]
  • For Gulf, Biofuels Are Worse Than Oil Spill , 17 June 2010 editorial by Investor's Business Daily: "Our growing addiction to alternative energy was killing aquatic life in the Gulf long before the Deepwater Horizon spill. Abandoning oil will kill more and also release more carbon dioxide into the air."
    • "Before the first gallon gushed from Deepwater Horizon, there existed an 8,500 square mile 'dead zone' below the Mississippi River Delta....Hypoxia, or oxygen depletion, caused by agricultural runoff...has been on an upward trend as acreage for corn destined to become ethanol increases."
    • "[A] 2008 study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found that 'nitrogen leaching from fertilized cornfields in the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River system is a primary cause of the bottom-water hypoxia that develops on the continental shelf of the northern Gulf of Mexico each summer.'"[71]
  • 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."
    • "The grain required to fill an SUV’s 25-gallon tank with ethanol just once will feed one person for a whole year."
    • "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."[72]
  • 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."[73]
  • 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."[74]
  • 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."[75]
  • 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."[76]
  • 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."[77]
  • 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."[78]
  • 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."[81]
  • 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."[82]
  • Bill To Extend Ethanol Tax Credit Reignites Fuel vs. Food Debate, 25 March 2010 by "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."[83]
  • 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."[84]
  • 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 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."[87]
  • 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."
    • 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."[88]
  • 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."[89]

Note: For older news concerning the United States, see United States news archive page.


Note: For ethanol-related news concerning the United States, see the section United States ethanol news.

  • ANALYSIS-Biodiesel doubts threaten EU green transport targets, 5 March 2012 by Charlie Dunmore and Ivana Sekularac, in Sharenet: "Growing consensus that EU may miss 2020 biofuel targets... Demand for biodiesel threatened by land use change studies... Switch to bioethanol seen as unlikely to make up shortfall."
    • "The European Union will almost certainly miss its 2020 targets for cutting transport fuel emissions if policymakers act on scientific warnings about the climate impact of biofuels."
    • "Several EU studies have questioned the climate benefits of biodiesel made from European rapeseed and imported palm oil and soybeans, and some have warned that it releases as many climate-warming emissions as conventional diesel."
    • "With two-thirds of EU biofuel use in 2020 projected to come from biodiesel, there is a growing consensus that any move to exclude some biodiesel feedstocks, such as the U.S. has proposed in the case of palm oil, would put the goals out of reach. Even if Europe tried to boost its use of bioethanol and advanced biofuels from non-crop sources to make up the shortfall, technical barriers and the EU's rising thirst for diesel would still leave it short of the mark." [90]
  • Spike in Food Prices Projected by 2013, 7 March 2012 by the New York Times: "In 2008 and in 2011, the world was rocked by riots and by revolutions coinciding with spikes in food prices. Now researchers are projecting that by 2013, food prices will soar to unparalleled heights, causing widespread hunger in the most vulnerable populations and social unrest, with an enormous potential for loss of human life."
    • "The computer modeling that generated the prediction of a food crisis was first published by the New England Complex Systems Institute in September. The modeling has gained considerable credibility by accurately predicting food prices over the last 10 months. The research indicates that the crucial factors behind food price increases are the conversion of corn crops to ethanol and investor speculation on the agricultural futures market."
    • "'There are two policy decisions we’ve identified as key drivers,' said Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of the institute. 'The first is the promotion of ethanol conversion, which provides the U.S. with less than 1 percent of its energy but has a much larger effect on global food availability.' The second is the deregulation of commodity markets by Congress’s Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, the report said."[91]
    • See the report, The Food Crises: Predictive validation of a quantitative model of food prices including speculators and ethanol conversion
  • Biofuel Research Suffers From Gaps, 20 January 2012 by Chemical & Engineering News: "After a review of a decade’s worth of biofuels research, scientists with the Environmental Protection Agency have concluded that significant knowledge gaps will likely prevent experts from adequately assessing biofuels’ full environmental impacts....While researchers have paid substantial attention to greenhouse gas emissions, the new study says, they have focused little on how the production and use of biofuels affects biodiversity and human health."
    • "'The last 10 years or so of research may have left us short of understanding what biofuels really may do to global economies, the environment, and society,' says Caroline Ridley, an ecologist with the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment, in Arlington, Va., who led the study."
    • "The team found that the most common topics, with a few hundred papers each, were fuel production, feedstock production, and greenhouse gas emissions. Near the bottom of the list, 80 studies examined how biofuel production affects biodiversity, for example how local species fare after farmers clear large stretches of land to grow corn, switchgrass, palm oil, or other biofuel feedstocks. And only 15 studied the human health impacts of increasing levels of air pollutants produced by burning biofuel ethanol."
    • "The team also found that researchers have focused largely on the environmental consequences in the Northern Hemisphere even though regions in the Southern Hemisphere, such as Indonesia, will probably grow most of the feedstock crops...."[92]
    • Access the study, Biofuels: Network Analysis of the Literature Reveals Key Environmental and Economic Unknowns
  • 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."[93]
  • Sugarcane ethanol in Brazil a substantial pollution source, 27 December 2011 by Western Farm Press: "University of Iowa researchers and their colleagues have shown that ethanol fuel producers in Brazil — the world's top producer of ethanol from sugarcane as an alternative to petroleum-based fuel — generate up to seven times more air pollutants than previously thought."
    • "The study, titled 'Increased estimates of air-pollution emissions from Brazilian sugarcane ethanol,' is featured in the Nature Highlights section and published in the Dec. 11 advance online publication of the journal Nature Climate Change."
    • "The research team used agricultural survey data from Brazil to calculate emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from the entire production, distribution, and lifecycle of sugarcane ethanol from 2000 to 2008."
    • "The estimated pollutants were 1.5 to 7.3 times higher than those from satellite-based methods, according to lead author Elliott Campbell of the University of California, Merced."[94]
  • Are Biofuels the Best Use of Our Limited Land Resources?, 21 December 2011 by "About seven million tonnes of grain corn was grown in Ontario in 2011, and by year’s end roughly 30 per cent of that is expected to go toward ethanol fuel production."
    • "Let’s focus instead on the use of corn as part of a greenhouse-gas reduction strategy that returns more economic value per harvested bushel. Through this lens, is biofuel production the best use of a renewable but also land-limited resource?"
    • "Corn, after all, doesn’t have to be made into ethanol and burned in the gas tanks of our cars to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. It can also be used to make a variety of 'green' chemicals that form the basis of a wide variety of products currently made from petroleum-based chemicals."
    • "This isn’t just about corn; it’s also about how we choose to use agricultural residues, municipal organic waste, wood waste, algae biomass, and non-food crops."
    • "Does it make sense to just burn this material for energy, or convert it into fuel so it can be burned? Or, should we be doing a better job of targeting niche markets with high-value 'green' products that are just as effective at reducing our dependence on fossil fuels?"[95]
  • Growth Energy: Let’s base energy policy on reality, 8 December 2011 by Growth Energy: "Though we’ll always believe in Santa Claus, it’s time to finally put the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) myth to bed."
    • "For a long time, the facts simply haven’t matched the rhetoric surrounding this theory, which claims that growing grains for biofuel production displaces other crops, leading to deforestation."
    • "...[C]heck out today’s story from Reuters showing that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region fell to its lowest in 23 years this past July, as ethanol production in that country and across the world continued to grow."
    • "Despite the fact that ILUC is untested, highly disputed and clearly detached from reality, an ILUC penalty was included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. That means that corn-based ethanol cannot be considered an 'advanced biofuel,' even though it fits the bill in other aspects."
    • "It’s time to stop basing out nation’s energy policies on fairytales. The stakes are too high."[96]
  • Biofuel Expansion Picks Up Pace, 8 November 2011 by "The first transatlantic flight powered by biofuel, a Gulfstream G450 corporate jet that travelled from New Jersey to Paris in June of this year, used a 50-50 blend of biofuel and petroleum-based jet fuel."
    • "The flight was estimated to have saved approximately 5.5 tons of net carbon dioxide emissions compared to the same flight powered by fossil fuel, and was hailed as a promising step toward helping the aviation industry reduce its carbon footprint."
    • "Global biofuel production is also taking flight, climbing by 17 percent in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 105 billion liters, according to researchers at the Worldwatch Institute’s Climate and Energy Program."
    • "Breaking down Worldwatch Institute figures reveals that the world produced some 86 billion litres of ethanol in 2010, 18 percent more than in 2009 while global biodiesel production rose to 19 billion litres in 2010, a 12 percent increase from 2009."
    • "Sugarcane-derived ethanol supplies 41.5 percent of the energy (48 percent of the volume) for light-duty transportation fuels in Brazil."
    • "The report further stated that the EU remained the centre of biodiesel production, accounting for 53% of global output in 2010. Growth slowed there dramatically, however, falling from 19 percent in 2009 to just two percent in 2010."[97]
  • Food prices and the influence of biofuels, 15 October 2011 by Columbia Daily Tribune: "While one set of critics argues farm subsidies drive down food prices and contributed to rising rates of obesity, others argue biofuel policies are driving up food prices and contributing to world hunger."
    • "Biofuel policies might do more to raise food prices than farm subsidies do to reduce food prices."
    • "Increasing agricultural production can make it possible to provide more food and more fuel to a growing world, and rising biofuel production is not the only cause of rising food prices."
    • "Reducing or eliminating the RFS could have larger impacts on biofuel production and food prices, and a bill to reduce the RFS when grain stocks are low has been introduced in Congress."
    • "Some have argued that moving to 'second generation' biofuels, such as ethanol made from switchgrass, would alleviate concerns about biofuel production on food prices. According to a recent National Academy of Sciences report, however, such fuels still are not commercially viable."
    • "If oil prices are high enough, biofuel production could continue to increase even if current biofuel policies are removed. That means future food prices might be even more dependent on energy markets than is the case today."[98]
  • Monsanto Sorghum Seeds to Yield Brazil Ethanol During Cane Break, 14 October 2011 by Bloomberg Businessweek: "Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed company, will sell enough sweet sorghum for 20,000 hectares (49,400 acres) of plantations in Brazil this year as sugar cane mills struggle to meet demand for ethanol and are seeking an alternative source of the renewable fuel."
    • "Sweet sorghum, an 8-foot (2.4-meter) plant that resembles sugar cane and may yield 80 percent as much fuel, may become an alternative feedstock for Brazilian mills after a poor cane harvest forced some plants to close this month, more than a month early, for the annual inter-harvest break during the rainy season."
    • "Brazil, the world’s largest producer and exporter of sugar, will grow 588.9 million tons of sugar cane this year, down from last year’s 623.9 million tons, the country’s crop-forecasting agency Conab said Sept. 5."[99]
  • 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."[100]
  • Biodiesel industry rejects EU land use impact study, 7 October 2011 by Reuters: "Europe's biodiesel industry rejected the findings of a draft EU study showing that the cultivation of rapeseed to make road transport fuels is worse for the climate than using conventional diesel."
    • "The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) said on Friday the study's central finding -- that the effects of indirect land use to produce most types of biodiesel cancel out any theoretical emissions savings -- was 'highly debatable and unscientific.'"
    • "A series of leaked EU studies showed that biodiesel from European rapeseed, South American soy beans and Asian palm oil all have a greater overall climate impact that normal diesel."
    • "If the Commission follows the advice contained in the studies and penalizes individual biofuel crops on the basis of their estimated ILUC emissions, it could wipe out the bloc's 13 billion euro ($17.5 billion) biodiesel industry overnight."
    • "It would also give a boost to ethanol producers such as Spain's Abengoa and increase the market for fuels derived from Brazilian sugar cane as the EU seeks to fill the 80 percent gap in its biofuel market currently occupied by biodiesel."[101]
  • Biofuels, Speculation Blamed for Global Food Market Weirdness, 5 October 2011 by Wired: "A new analysis of sudden rises in global food prices puts the blame on biofuel policy and mortgage-meltdown-style speculation, which may have fundamentally changed how food markets function."
    • "'There’s a literature of a hundred-plus articles, saying this might be the cause, or that might be the cause,' said network theorist Yaneer Bar-Yam of the New England Complex Systems Institute. 'We looked quantitatively, and found two important factors. Speculators cause the bubbles and crashes, and ethanol causes the background rise.'"
    • "Among the possible causes put forward by economists are drought, meat-intensive dietary habits and market hypersensitivity to supply and demand. Another is corn-based biofuel: In less than a decade, some 15 percent of the world’s corn production has been converted from food to fuel. Perhaps most controversially, some economists have blamed a flood of speculators betting on the rise or fall of food prices."[102]
  • Our sugarcane is greener than your corn: Brazil takes on US biofuel industry, 4 October 2011 by Ecologist: "Despite a poor harvest last year, Brazil’s ethanol industry is gearing up for expansion with a series of consolidations involving big companies such as Royal Dutch Shell and Petrobras showing it means business."
    • "An Institute for European Enviroment Policy study last year claimed that biofuels could create an extra 56 million tonnes of CO2 per year due mostly to deforestation worldwide."
    • "Now the industry is keen to show the rest of the world it is cleaning up its act. Producers and the Brazilian government point to more stringent regulation and claim greater mechanisation will in fact eradicate the need for harmful burning."
    • "They are also keen to emphasise that the sugarcane ethanol produced in Brazil is a much greener alternative to corn-derived ethanol from the United States or further deforestation of Europe where land is relatively scarce."
    • "A sustainability certification, Bon Sucro Standard, has been set up, with a Raizen mill in Maracai the first to be granted sustainability."
    • "The problem is chiefly one of regulating Brazil’s vast terrain, especially when it comes to the complex issue of deforestation caused by sugarcane planting."[103]
  • 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."[104]
  • Oil Palm Residue Could Solve Food vs. Biofuel Debate, 21 August 2011 by Jakarta Globe: "The millions of tons of fibrous residue produced by palm oil plantations across the country could soon become a major source of raw material for renewable fuel."
    • "Over the past year, scientists from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and Seoul’s Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have been working on a joint project to turn a waste product into a viable alternative energy resource."
    • "By next year, the scientists are optimistic that the pilot plant and research lab built for the project in the Research Center for Science and Technology (Puspiptek) in Serpong, Banten, can start regular production of bioethanol from the leftover parts of the oil palm plant."
    • "Indonesia has already been producing biofuel from jatropha and cassava, but, according to Yanni Sudiyani, the chief researcher for bioethanol and biomass at LIPI , there is a problem with cassava supply, since it is also used for food."
    • "This food-versus-fuel battle has been at the heart of the debate on biofuels, which might otherwise be preferable over non-renewable and heavily polluting fossil fuels."
    • "The oil palm residue has high cellulose content, Zalinar said, which can be processed into liquid glucose that would be fermented to serve as the basic material for bioethanol."[105]
  • Seaweed could have important biofuel role, say scientists, 6 July 2011 by "Researchers at Aberystwyth University say kelp seaweed could provide an important alternative to land-based biofuels, but the suitability of its chemical composition varies with the seasons."
    • "They say harvesting the kelp in July, when carbohydrate levels are at their highest, would ensure optimal sugar release for the production of biofuel."
    • "Kelp can be converted to biofuels through fermentation or anaerobic digestion – to produce ethanol and methane – or pyrolysis, to produce bio-oil through a method of heating the fuel without oxygen. But the chemical composition of the seaweed is important for these processes to be effective."
    • "Land-based plants have been the focus of most biofuel research. But biofuels have a disadvantage as they create conflict between using land to grow either food or fuel. Marine ecosystems are considered an untapped resource that could address this conflict, and provide for over half of global biomass energy."[106]
  • Biofuel deal sparks land debate in Sierra Leone, 2 July 2011 by AFP: "Hailed as the biggest ever investment in Sierra Leone's agriculture, a plan to grow thousands of hectares of sugarcane to produce ethanol has raised fears over food security and land rights."
    • "Swiss group Addax & Oryx announced on June 17 that it had signed a 258 million euro ($368 million) deal with seven European and African development banks to finance the bioenergy project near Makeni in the north of the country."
    • "Sierra Leone's agriculture ministry says the company has leased 57,000 hectares (141,000 acres) of land for a period of 50 years, an area roughly the size of the US city of Chicago."
    • "Most of the ethanol -- which can be blended with gasoline and diesel to reduce dependence on harmful fossil fuels -- will be exported to European markets."
    • "Addax, which plans to develop a plantation of 10,000 hectares of sugarcane, says large areas of land are available for communities to use as the project uses up less than a third of the total land leased."[107]
  • Brazil to tighten control over supply and demand for ethanol, 13 June 2011 by Platts: "Brazil's national petroleum agency ANP unveiled late Friday detailed plans to tighten government regulation over the ethanol market, giving the sector a first glimpse of how the rules might affect supply and demand for the biofuel."
    • "If the measures are taken forward, ANP will require distributors of road transport fuel to regularly notify the agency of contracted volumes for the purchase of anhydrous ethanol as well as details of spot deals."
    • "ANP's measures aim to tackle a shortage of the biofuel during the December-April sugarcane inter-harvest period, when production of ethanol almost comes to a halt and prices surge."
    • "By keeping watch on supply flows and inventory levels, ANP intends to level out the amount of ethanol producers and distributors offer the market throughout the year, forcing companies to keep minimum stocks of the product to meet demand during the sugarcane inter-season."
    • "A government decree published on April 29 transferred the whole ethanol production and distribution chain -- including imports and exports of the product -- to the ANP, giving the sugarcane-based biofuel the status of a strategic fuel."[108]
  • Eco-cars to lift ethanol sales by 46%, 9 June 2011 by Bangkok Post: "Ethanol consumption is expected to rise by 46% this year to 2 million litres per day, driven by new eco-car sales, according to Thailand's Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency."
    • "Director-general Krairit Nilkuha said the increase in ethanol use could reduce petrol consumption by 10% or about 20-21 million litres per day."
    • "The use of E20, a blend of 20% ethanol and 80% petrol, has doubled to 600,000 litres per day this month from December last year, while E85 gasohol, a blend of 85% crop-derived ethanol and 15% petrol, has risen to 17,500 litres a day from 11,000 in the same period."
    • "The country's Renewable Energy Plan developed in 2006 calls for ethanol use to increase to 3 million litres this year and to 9 million in 2022 or nearly a half of total petrol consumption."[109]
  • 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."[110]
  • Turning Garbage Into Car Fuel? Venture Gains Momentum, 1 June 2011 by the New York Times Green blog: "Enerkem, a Montreal company that makes ethanol from old utility poles and household garbage, will announce Wednesday that a major independent oil refiner, Valero, has made its first investment in the company, and Waste Management, a trash-hauling company is raising its stake. With $60 million in new financing, total investment in Enerkem will reach $130 million."
    • "In Edmonton, the company has a 25-year contract to accept municipal solid waste, which means anything a household throws out. After separating out recyclable materials, it shreds the waste and heats it to around 400 degrees Celsius, or about 750 degrees Fahrenheit."
    • "At that temperature, the waste gives off a gas that includes hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Enerkem scrubs out the impurities, including carbon dioxide, and runs the gas over a catalyst, which converts it to methanol. The methanol can be turned into ethanol or a variety of other chemical feedstocks."
    • "Many companies are trying to use waste materials to make ethanol. Almost all of them pay for the raw materials, but Enerkem is paid to dispose of the garbage, making its feedstock 'cost-negative,' in the company’s phrase."
    • 'And making ethanol from garbage entails sharply lower carbon dioxide emissions than making it from corn does. Corn ethanol needs large amounts of natural gas, but the Enerkem process relies on the heat given off by the process itself so that no fossil fuels are burned except during the start-up. What is more, trash turned into fuel is trash that is not buried in a landfill, where it can give off methane, itself a potent global warming gas."[111]
  • Survey Says Consumers Consider Ethanol A Green Product, 23 May 2011 by "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.'"[112]
  • Analysis: Bioethanol may win in crunch time for EU biofuels, 13 May 2011 by Reuters: "After a two-year investigation, the European Commission has decided that the complex issue of 'indirect land use change' (ILUC) can lessen carbon savings from biofuels."
    • "The battle over ILUC has poured doubt on the security of any new investments, but that could be ended this summer when the Commission announces moves to curb the least sustainable."
    • "EU sources involved in the debate say a ranking is starting to emerge, giving the cleanest credentials to advanced bioethanol from farming residues such as straw. Next comes bioethanol from sugar beet and sugar cane, followed by the most efficient bioethanol from wheat."
    • "The Commission's new evidence will also create pressure to speed up the adoption of next-generation biofuels from agricultural residues such as straw, which do not compete with food and therefore do not create ILUC."
    • "But many industry players say Europe's political incentives are not enough to compensate for the risks and added costs of investing in new technology. 'The technology is available.' said Kare Riis Nielsen of Novozymes. 'Now we are facing a political barrier. The current policies are ineffective. A specific blending target or mandate for next-generation biofuels in all petrol is key.'[113]
  • European ethanol, ag sectors unite in criticizing ILUC modeling, 3 May 2011 press release by ePURE in Ethanol Producer Magazine: "At a jointly hosted conference on May 3 in Brussels, the European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE) and European farmers body Copa-Cogeca joined forces to criticize European Commission plans to introduce an ILUC factor for biofuels."
    • "At the meeting, organized to examine the commission’s current thinking on indirect land use change (ILUC), both organizations urged the EC to step back from considering introducing unwarranted and punitive measures on the European ethanol and farming sector. In a December 2010 communication, the commission suggested that it may introduce an ILUC factor in regulations which ePURE and Copa-Cogeca would render the European biofuel industry unviable."[114]
  • Mitsubishi develops ethanol fuel production technology, 21 April 2011 by Biofuels International: "Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has developed technology for ethanol fuel production which complies with the standards set by the Japanese Automotive Standards Organisation (JASO), from lignocellulose (soft cellulose) such as rice straw and barley straw."
    • "Since 2008 the demonstration project has been getting developed for the production of cellulosic bioethanol in which MHI formed a joint venture with Hakutsuru Sake Brewing and Kansai Chemical Engineering, two companies which were responsible for verification of the bioethanol production processes."
    • "In the beginning, each of the three participating companies took charge of specific areas based on their expertise and conducted verification testing at their own research facility. In December 2009, the whole process to produce ethanol from lignocellulose was verified at a demonstration plant built specifically for the project at MHI's Futami Plant in Hyogo."[115]
  • 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)."[116]
  • Impacts of Biofuel Targets on Land Use and Food Supply, 6 April 2011 by Journalist Resource: "The increased global production of biofuels such as ethanol has become a subject of controversy, as land formerly dedicated to the growing of food crops is repurposed to meet energy needs. Each year, more crops such as sugar, palm oil, corn and cassava are diverted for these purposes."
    • "A paper by the World Bank, 'The Impacts of Biofuel Targets on Land-Use Change and Food Supply,' uses land-allocation information from the biofuels production sectors to determine the levels of competition between biofuels and food industries for agricultural commodities. The authors model the potential effects of increased biofuels production to meet current national targets."
    • "The paper’s findings include:
      • Expanding global biofuels production to meet current national biofuels targets would generally reduce global GDP between 0.02% and 0.06%, with the national GDP impacts varying across countries.
      • Significant Expansion in biofuels production would necessitate substantial land re-allocation, resulting in as much a 5% decreases in forest and pasture lands.
      • The expansion of biofuels would likely cause a 1% reduction in global food supply.
      • The magnitude of the impact on food costs is not as large as perceived earlier — sugar, corn and oil seeds would experience 1% to 8% price increases by 2020 — but increases would be significant in developing countries such as India and those in Sub-Saharan Africa."[117]
  • Brazil wants greater regulation of sugar, ethanol, 6 April 2011 by Reuters: "Brazil wants to increase regulation of the domestic ethanol market to ensure output, a senior government official said on Wednesday, signaling a move that could have major implications for global sugar supplies."
    • "President Dilma Rousseff has instructed Brazil's National Oil Agency, or ANP, to draft regulations that will treat ethanol as a 'strategic fuel' and no longer as an agricultural commodity, Haroldo Lima, the agency's director, told Reuters."
    • "Brazil controls more than half of the world's sugar trade and is a pioneer in biofuels such as ethanol, which it makes from sugarcane. Ethanol shares about an equal amount of the local fuels market with gasoline."
    • "World sugar prices are 25 percent off 30-year highs set in February and Brazilian cane mills have been pushing production of the sweetener close to capacity and at the expense of ethanol production."
    • "For years, Brazilian officials have threatened to tax sugar exports as a way of ensuring greater output of ethanol in between cane harvests."
    • "Brazil has imported more than 150 million liters of U.S. ethanol this year as producers struggle to supply the local market during cane interharvest, the director of a large ethanol group estimated last month."[118]
  • 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."[119]
  • China biofuel policy may be in conflict with food security objectives, 28 March 2011 by "The United States Department of Agriculture says China's food security objectives may clash with its energy independence and environmental objectives, limiting the development of biofuels, according to the latest publication by the US International Trade Commission."
    • "Like wheat, the Chinese government views corn as important for national food security and provides support for domestic corn growers by guaranteeing prices for domestic corn from state-owned enterprises and by providing subsidized seed, while controlling exports to ensure that corn is available for domestic use. But strong demand, coupled with poor production in 2009-2010 led China to import around 1.5 million mt of US corn and in 2010, China became a net corn importer."
    • "According to the report, China has been making an effort to move away from grain-based ethanol production and into alternative feedstocks. Until May 2006, government subsidies were limited to fuel ethanol, at which time the central government outlined the creation of a special fund to encourage the development of renewable energy resources, including ethanol and biodiesel."
    • "China's National Reform and Development Commission asserts that targeted biofuel production will not threaten China's grain security, but feedstock sources may be expanded to include sugar, oilseeds, sweet sorghum, wheat, and cassava, resulting in higher imports of these feedstocks."[120]
  • Biofuels Policy May Kill 200,000 Per Year in the Third World, 28 March 2011 by PR Newswire: "U.S. and European policy to increase production of ethanol and other biofuels to displace fossil fuels is supposed to help human health by reducing 'global warming.' Instead it has added to the global burden of death and disease."
    • "Increased production of biofuels increases the price of food worldwide by diverting crops and cropland from feeding people to feeding motor vehicles. Higher food prices, in turn, condemn more people to chronic hunger and 'absolute poverty'".
    • "Research by the World Bank indicates that the increase in biofuels production over 2004 levels would push more than 35 million additional people into absolute poverty in 2010 in developing countries. Using statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Indur Goklany estimates that this would lead to at least 192,000 excess deaths per year, plus disease resulting in the loss of 6.7 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) per year. These exceed the estimated annual toll of 141,000 deaths and 5.4 million lost DALYs that the World Health Organization attributes to global warming....Goklany also notes that death and disease from poverty are a fact, whereas death and disease from global warming are hypothetical.
    • "His analysis is published in the spring 2011 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons".[121]
    • Download the paper, Could Biofuel Policies Increase Death and Disease in Developing Countries? (PDF file).
  • Biofuel policy is causing starvation, says Nestlé boss, 23 March 2011 by The Independent: "Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the chairman of Nestlé, lashed out at the Obama administration for promoting the use of ethanol made from corn, at the expense of hundreds of millions of people struggling to afford everyday basics made from the crop."
    • "'Today, 35 per cent of US corn goes into biofuel,' the Nestlé chairman told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York yesterday. 'From an environmental point of view this is a nonsense, but more so when we are running out of food in the rest of the world.'"
    • Corn prices almost doubled in the year to February, though they have fallen from their peak in the pastfew weeks."
    • "US exports account for about 60 per cent of the world's corn supply. Demand has surged as more people join the middle classes in emerging economies such as China and India, not just because these new consumers demand more food made from corn, but also because demand for meat has increased and livestock farmers need to buy more feed."
    • "The lobbying has fallen on deaf ears in the US, however. Ethanol production from corn is heavily subsidised, with output running at more than 13.5 billion gallons annually."[122]
  • Chaos at the Pumps - German Consumers Are Wary of New E10 Biofuel, 4 March 2011 by Der Spiegel: "Germany recently began introducing gasoline containing a higher percentage of biofuels. But consumers have so far been skittish, leading to production chaos and shortages of traditional gasoline. Some politicians have called for laws mandating that biofuels be scrapped altogether."
    • "It began as a plan to reduce the amount of CO2 being pumped into European skies. But a European Union directive requiring gas stations to sell fuel with 10 percent ethanol content has hit a snag in Germany, where consumers are avoiding the new petrol -- known as E10 -- because it is harmful to some cars."
    • "The controversy looks set to trigger yet another debate over the feasibility of using biofuels on a large scale....Not only is significant energy used in the production of the fuel, but it isn't uncommon for forestland -- a natural absorber of CO2 -- to be clear-cut for the planting of biofuels crops. Critics have also questioned the use of farmland for automobile fuel in an age of skyrocketing food prices."[123]
  • Overfertilizing corn undermines ethanol, 25 February 2011 by Rice University News and Media Relations: "Rice University scientists and their colleagues have found that liberal use of nitrogen fertilizer to maximize grain yields from corn crops results in only marginally more usable cellulose from leaves and stems. And when the grain is used for food and the cellulose is processed for biofuel, pumping up the rate of nitrogen fertilization actually makes it more difficult to extract ethanol from corn leaves and stems."
    • "This happens because surplus nitrogen fertilizer speeds up the biochemical pathway that produces lignin, a molecule that must be removed before cellulosic ethanol can be produced from corn stems and leaves."
    • "Lignin breaks down slowly via bacterial enzymes, and it is expensive to remove by chemical or mechanical processes that create a bottleneck in cellulosic ethanol production."
    • "'What we want is a low lignin-to-cellulose ratio,' said co-author Bill Hockaday, a former Rice postdoctoral researcher and now an assistant professor at Baylor University."
    • "Reducing fertilizer to the bare-bones minimum serves that purpose."[124]
  • High Per-Acre Productivity of Giant King Grass Promises 40% Reduction in Biofuel Feedstock Costs, 14 February 2011 by PR Newswire: "Test data shows that VIASPACE's proprietary Giant King Grass has essentially the same properties as corn stover and wheat straw, which are current leading candidate feedstocks for making not only cellulosic biofuels but also a wide range of biochemicals."
    • "VIASPACE Chief Executive Dr. Carl Kukkonen commented: 'These initial results show that a ton of Giant King Grass can yield as much bio ethanol as a ton of corn stover. This validates Giant King Grass, a nonfood dedicated energy crop, as a competitive feedstock for producing cellulosic biofuels.'"
    • "'Most importantly, an acre of Giant King Grass yields up to 10 times greater tonnage than an acre of corn stover, which is the stalk and leaves leftover from harvesting an acre of corn,' Kukkonen continued, 'With our high yield, we believe that Giant King Grass can reduce biofuel feedstock costs by up to 40%, even when compared to projected prices for corn straw as agricultural waste.'"[125]
  • 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."
    • "The African continent has tremendous potential for biofuels production; however, production levels remain very low despite recent efforts by some countries to kick-start biofuel programs."
    • "A recent World Bank report highlighted Africa's biofuel potential suggesting that high energy prices and the availability of productive land represent and enormous opportunity for African biofuels production."
    • "This year will be critical for Europe as member counties ramp up their production and use of ethanol to meet the European Union's Renewable Energy Directive. Europe is expected to produce 5.4 billion litres of ethanol this year which is a 15 per cent increase over 2010."[126]
  • How biofuels contribute to the food crisis, 11 February 2011 by The Washington Post: "Nearly all assessments of the 2008 food crisis assigned biofuels a meaningful role, but much of academia and the media ultimately agreed that the scale of the crisis resulted from a "perfect storm" of causes. Yet this "perfect storm" has re-formed not three years later."
    • "Demand for biofuels is almost doubling the challenge of producing more food. Since 2004, for every additional ton of grain needed to feed a growing world population, rising government requirements for ethanol from grain have demanded a matching ton."
    • "Agricultural production is keeping up in general with the growing demand for food - but it keeps up with the added demand for biofuels only if growing weather is good."
    • "Economic studies imply that food prices should come down if we can just limit biofuel growth."[127]
  • 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."
  • A wiki for the biofuels research community, 29 October 2010 by "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."[128]
  • 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."[129]
  • Fungus Genes Help Turn Grass into Ethanol, 10 September 2010 by Technology Review: "Genes copied from a common fungus could simplify the production of ethanol from abundant materials such as grass and wood chips, a development that could one day help ethanol compete with gasoline."
    • "Scientists have taken genes from a fungus that grows on grass and dead plants, and transplanted them into yeast that is already used to turn sugar into ethanol. The genes let the yeast ferment parts of plants that it normally can't digest, potentially streamlining the production of ethanol."
    • "Most ethanol is produced using simple sugars, like the glucose derived from corn kernels or sugar cane. Ethanol producers would like to use glucose from more abundant sources, such as corn husks and stalks, switchgrass, wood waste, and other tough plant materials. But those plant parts are made of cellulose, a carbohydrate built from long chains of sugars. For yeast to produce ethanol from these materials, the complex carbohydrate has to first be broken down into very simple sugars, a process that takes time and normally requires the addition of expensive enzymes."
    • "With the new technique, ethanol makers would no longer have to break cellulose down into simple sugars. Instead, they would only need to break down cellulose into an intermediate material called cellodextrin."[130]
  • Call to ban corn-based ethanol production, 10 August 2010 by Zhang Ming'ai: "Zhao Youshan, chairman of the Oil Flow Commission of the China General Chamber of Commerce, told the Beijing Times that they have submitted a letter to the NDRC in an attempt to ban corn-based ethanol production, because it has pushed up corn prices at home and turned China into a corn-importing country in the first half of this year from previously a corn-exporting country."
    • "In 2004, in order to promote the development of renewable energy and new energy, the NDRC and the Ministry of Finance jointly put forward a policy, under which testing programs were launched in Heilongjiang to produce ethanol fuel from corn. Factories could get a subsidy of 1,880 yuan and be exempted from all taxes by producing one ton of ethanol fuel."[131]
  • Tobacco shows potential as biofuel crop, 19 April 2010 by David Kuack: "Scientists in the Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories at Thomas Jefferson Univ. in Philadelphia have been investigating alternative means of producing biofuels, as inexpensively, quickly and energy-efficiently as possible. They are conducting research to develop specially engineered strains of tobacco plants to generate a large amount of biomass from the plants’ leaves and stems."
    • "The scientists believe the rapid growth of these tobacco strains can result in more efficient biofuel production than other traditional agricultural crops used for biofuel. Tobacco plants are naturally rich in sugars, starch and low-lignin cellulose that can be converted into ethanol, yielding up to 1,100 gallons of bio-ethanol per acre. "[134]
  • The Forbidden Fuel: A History of Power Alcohol, New Edition, April 2010 by Hal Bernton, William Kovarik, and Scott Sklar: "The Forbidden Fuel is the definitive history of alcohol fuel, describing in colorful detail the emergence of alcohol fuel in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the political and economic forces behind its popularity, opposition, and eventual growth."
    • "In 1982, when The Forbidden Fuel was first published, approximately 350 million gallons of ethanol were produced in the United States for transport fuel. In 2008 that number had grown to 9 billion gallons—an approximate average annual growth rate of 98.9 percent."
    • "This new edition examines the forces behind this explosive growth; it also presents fresh evidence that the controversial issues that were presciently foreseen and described in the 1982 edition—limits of the land, food versus fuel, environmental risks, and global warming—still persist as unabated challenges to industry leaders and policy makers."[135]
  • Brazil "temporarily" lifts ethanol tariff, baits trade hooks, 8 April 2010 by Nik Bristow at Autoblog Green: "In a gesture to improve biofuel trade relations with the U.S. and other countries, Brazil's Council of Ministers of the Board of Foreign Trade (MDIC) has temporarily lifted the country's tariff on imported ethanol, changing the tax rate from 20 percent to zero percent. The tariff will be lifted through the end of 2011."
    • "UNICA [The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association] has made it clear to the Brazilian government it hopes the tariff reduction is permanent, particularly should "other countries" reduce their tariffs on ethanol imports. The Brazillians are quite aware that the hefty U.S. tariff on imported ethanol expires at the end of this year."
    • "The United States imposes two duties on ethanol imports: a 2.5 percent ad valorem tariff plus an additional "other duty or charge" of $.54 per gallon. According to data from the US International Trade Commission (ITC), the combined duties have amounted to about a 30 percent tariff on ethanol imports."[136]
  • IFPRI Publishes Study on the EU Biofuels Mandate, by The International Food Policy Research Institute: "The report is one of four commissioned by the European Commission to assess the impacts of the 10% target for the use of renewable energy in road transport fuels by 2020."
    • "The study uses a global general equilibrium model, separately including numerous first generation ethanol and biodiesel feedstocks, co-generated products, farming techniques, as well as direct, and indirect land-use changes (ILUC) resulting from the mandated increase in consumption of biofuels. Additionally, as the model is global, it also considers different multi- and bilateral trade scenarios."
    • "The results indicate that there is ILUC associated with the EU mandate, but that the mandate will still result in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission savings of nearly 13 million tons over 20 years. Additionally, the authors find that the mandate will have only a negligible effect on food prices and, concerning biodiesel, even with ILUC taken into account, imported palm oil remains as efficient as European rapeseed."[137]


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

  • Ethanol Expansion And Indirect Land Use Change In Brazil, June 2011 by Joaquim Bento de Souza Ferreira Filho and Mark Horridge from the Centre of Policy Studies. From the Abstract: "Indirect land use change from ethanol in Brazil is modelled by Ferreira Filho and Horridge using dynamic general equilibrium modelling (the ‘Brazilian Input-Output model’). For 2020, they find that each hectare of additional sugarcane for ethanol requires 0.14 hectare of new land conversion. This is nearly double the value reported by Nassar et al. (2010)."[139]
  • Effects of US Maize Ethanol on Global Land Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Estimating Market-mediated Responses by Thomas W. Hertel, Alla A. Golub, Andrew D. Jones, Michael O'Hare, Richard J. Plevin, and Daniel M. Kammen, March 2010. "This article analyzes these releases for maize ethanol produced in the United States. Factoring market-mediated responses and by-product use into our analysis reduces cropland conversion by 72% from the land used for the ethanol feedstock. Consequently, the associated GHG release estimated in our framework is 800 grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule (MJ); 27 grams per MJ per year, over 30 years of ethanol production, or roughly a quarter of the only other published estimate of releases attributable to changes in indirect land use."[140]


  • Growth Energy - "Growth Energy members recognize America needs a new ethanol approach. Through smart policy reform and a proactive grassroots campaign, Growth Energy promotes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating American jobs at home."[142]






  • 9-10 March 2009, São Paulo State, Brazil: International Symposium DATAGRO/UDOP. Organized by the UDOP (Bioenergy Producers Union) and DATAGRO. (Themes: ethanol, sugarcane, technology)


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

Ethanol edit
Bioethanol - Corn ethanol
Ethanol producers by country | Ethanol feedstocks: Cellulosic ethanol (Microbe research) | Ethanol policies: Ethanol subsidies (VEETC)
Fuel edit
Alternative fuel | Biofuel

Gasoline-ethanol fuel blends: E10 | E85 | E90 {Blender's Credit, Blender pump, "Blender wall")
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Bioenergy feedstocks edit

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Solids: Biomass pellets | Char/Charcoal | Wood


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