February 2011

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Bioenergy > Timeline > 2011 > February 2011


This page includes information on News and Events in February 2011.

  • (News and events are archived here after the end of the month.)

Events

News

  • 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."[1]
  • Brewery waste microbes could make biofuels, 25 February 2011 by Physorg.com: "Employing powerful genome sequencing tools, Cornell scientists led by Largus T. Angenent, associate professor of biological and environmental engineering, have gained new insight into how efficiently the microbes in large bioreactors produce methane from brewery waste."
    • "They hope to use their new knowledge to shape these microbial communities so they will produce liquid biofuels and other useful products."
    • "The scientists had access to a plethora of data, thanks to a collaboration with engineers at Anheuser-Busch InBev, which makes Budweiser beer and operates nine domestic beer breweries that treat wastewater in bioreactors."
    • "In ongoing research, the Cornell engineers are looking to prevent methane production by the microbes, and instead, to shape the bacterial communities to produce carboxylates, which are a precursor to the alkanes found in fuels."[2]
  • 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."[3]
  • Biowaste briquettes fuel drive to save trees, 22 February 2011 by SciDev.Net: "Banana stems, maize and other crop waste will be turned into charcoal briquettes in Uganda in an effort to reduce the number of trees chopped down for cooking fires."
    • "The project, funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), will train 600 farmers across the country to make briquettes using portable metal kilns that can be moved between farms, according to Maxwell Onapa, deputy executive secretary of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST)."
    • "A lack of modern and affordable fuels, such as gas, electricity and solar power, makes wood charcoal and firewood the preferred sources of domestic cooking fuel, but this is damaging the environment through deforestation and soil degradation, said Onapa."
    • "Frank Muramuzi, executive director of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, warned: 'The project may not be sustainable because if they run out of the agricultural waste to manufacture the charcoal briquette, people will go back to cutting trees.'"
    • "But Jane Nalunga, a senior training officer at the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda, said that removing agricultural waste and turning it into energy will reduce soil nutrition."[4]
  • Bad time to kill E15, retired Navy leader says, 21 February 2011 by Agriculture.com: "Retired Vice Admiral Denny McGinn and other leaders of 25 x ’25 Alliance, a coalition of almost 1,000 groups that favor getting 25% of the nation’s energy from renewable sources by 2025, criticized a vote in the House last week that would kill, at least for this year, any implementation of a 15% blend of ethanol in gasoline (E15) by the EPA."
    • "'This is a wrong-headed vote because any concerns about any impact of higher ethanol blends have been answered,' said the Alliance’s co-chair, Read Smith."
    • "'The vote also negatively impact's the nation's economy, our balance of payments and public health by further increasing our dependence on oil and exposure to toxic emissions associated with gasoline production and use,' Smith said in a statement.[5]
  • NASCAR goes 'green,' enters biofuel debate, 20 February 2011 by Daytona Beach News Journal: "Every car and truck in NASCAR's top three series in 2011 will use Sunoco Green E15 -- a blend of gasoline with 15 percent corn ethanol. NASCAR, the federal government and corn ethanol producers say the biofuel reduces emissions and decreases American reliance on foreign oil."
    • "Many environmental advocates are dubious about corn ethanol's benefits, and some people think governmental support for ethanol is largely to blame for soaring food prices."
    • "Mike Lynch, NASCAR's managing director of green innovation, and ethanol advocates question the impact of expanded ethanol use on corn prices, though, and point out the federal government is solidly behind ethanol, dating back to the 1970s."
    • "The U.S. churned out more than 13 billion gallons of ethanol in 2010, more than four times the amount produced in 2000. The percentage of U.S. corn crops used for ethanol has grown from about 5 percent in 2000 to 39 percent in 2010, and recent reports that America's corn reserves are at an all-time low has food industry leaders concerned."
    • "Nikoleta Panteva, an analyst who studies agricultural markets for IBISWorld, an industry research firm, called the impact of corn ethanol use on food prices 'not significant' when compared to factors like weather."
    • "A better solution, Lynch admits, would be cellulosic ethanol -- made from waste products like corn cobs -- but the technology to make that biofuel isn't commercially viable yet."[6]
  • Lufthansa biofuel flights postponed by certification delay, 18 February 2011 by FlightGlobal.com: "Lufthansa has been forced to postpone its planned commercial biofuel flights by at least a month because the fuel will not be certified in time by regulators."
    • "Certifying body ASTM International was expected to certify hydrotreated renewable jet (HRJ) fuel for use in commercial aviation in the first quarter of this year, but is now unlikely to provide the necessary authorisation until at least the middle of the second quarter."
    • "Lufthansa has signed an agreement with Finnish oil refining company Neste Oil for the supply of jet fuel derived from vegetable oil using Neste's NExBTL biomass-to-liquid technology."[7]
  • Demand for biofuels expected to rise 20%-30% annually, 18 February 2011 by ChannelNewsAsia.com: "This week, the European parliament voted for new rules that require lower emissions from commercial vehicles."
    • "Biofuels Asia said it expects demand for biofuels to increase between 20 and 30 per cent annually for the next decade. And it is rooting for Jatropha to tap that potential."
    • "Some analysts estimate that the 900,000 hectare of Jatropha planted globally could produce roughly 1.8 million tons of crude Jatropha oil every year."[8]
  • Nigeria: Why We Could Not Realise Biofuels Project - Ericsson, 17 February 2011 by allAfrica.com: "Ericsson has stated that the biofuels initiative it tried to embark upon in Nigeria in 2007, could not be the realised because of concerns with issues of food security."
    • "Operators in the Nigerian telecoms space are hampered in their operations by inadequate power supply resulting in operators using alternative power supply to address over 90 percent of their power needs. The need to find a solution to the power challenge faced by operators in Africa led to Ericsson creating solutions that will help operators tackle the challenge."
    • "Vice President of Ericsson's Corporate Responsibility Unit, Ms Elaine Weidman Grunewald said 'Nigeria was probably not the right African country to start the project with at that time because there were issues of food crops, and we tried using palm oil for fuel instead of food...The price of Palm oil was too high to make the project work.'"
    • "The biofuel programme which is an initiative of Ericsson, and the GSM Association aims to connect off- grid locations by identifying and processing locally grown crops like coconut, cotton and jathropha into biofuel that will power base stations in the developing world."[10]
  • A billion tons of biomass a viable goal, but at high price, new research shows, 16 February 2011 by Physorg.com: "A team of researchers led by Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois, shows that between 600 and 900 million metric tons of biomass could be produced in 2030 at a price of $140 per metric ton (in 2007 dollars) while still meeting demand for food with current assumptions about yields, production costs and land availability."
    • "According to the study, not only would this require producing about a billion tons of biomass every year in the U.S., it would also mean using a part of the available land currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program for energy crop production, which could significantly increase biomass production and keep biomass costs low."
    • "The study also contends that the economic viability of cellulosic biofuels depends on significant policy support in the form of the biofuel mandate and incentives for agricultural producers for harvesting, storing and delivering biomass as well as switching land from conventional crops to perennial grasses."[13]
  • Jatropha vs Moringa as food vs fuel, 16 February 2011 by Teatro Naturale International: "Previously heralded as a wonder plant, Jatropha grows in a number of climatic zones in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world."
    • "The uses of Jatropha have undeniable value, but more recently the crop was found less robust than first thought, due to the link with rising hunger and non-edible industrial biofuels."
    • "Jatropha supposedly grows on marginal land. In reality marginal land produces only marginal yields, so Jatropha is increasingly being grown on fertile agricultural land, competing directly with food crops for space."
    • "The tree Moringa oleifera has surfaced as a higher recovery and quality oil than other crops; it has no direct competition with food crops and can be used as a source of both biofuel and food."
    • "Moringa is a rapidly growing and drought resistant tree of which all parts are edible and can be used for oil, fibre, medicine and water purification. The tree grows in semi-arid tropical and sub-tropical areas and even wasteland without ample rainfall or additions of fertiliser."
    • "With Moringa bridging the gap between food and fuel, finance and investment firms are picking Moringa as an opportunity to provide rewarding returns in the investment market."[14]
  • EU wants 60 pct transport carbon cut by 2050-draft, 16 February 2011 by Reuters: "The European Union's executive Commission will call for a 60 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050."
    • "The proposed transport targets are based on an existing EU goal to cut the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions by about 80 percent by the middle of the century."
    • "The emissions cuts include a roughly 40 percent cut from maritime fuels compared with 2005 levels."
    • "In road transport, electric vehicles could supply some of the emissions cuts, but that would be impractical for heavy duty road freight given demands of range and energy demand."
    • "Aviation would depend on synthetic kerosene, produced from solid biomass using a process called Fischer-Tropsch, or else biodiesel made from vegetable oils."
    • "In one possible complication for the targets, the EU's "sustainability criteria" are meant to limit the use of biofuels which have unwanted side effects, such as competing with food production, or else leading to the destruction of tropical forests where these are re-planted with energy crops."[15]
  • Plant closure bursts Ga.’s biomass bubble, 15 February 2011 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "The premise, and the promise, were brilliant in their simplicity: Turn tree waste into fuel, help break the Middle Eastern choke hold on America’s economy and bring hundreds of jobs to rural Georgia."
    • "What wasn’t there to like?"
    • "Plenty, starting with the closing last month of the Range Fuels cellulosic ethanol factory that promised to help make Georgia a national leader in alternative energy production. Then there’s the money — more than $162 million in local, state and federal grants, loans and other subsidies committed to the venture."
    • "Over the last six years, Georgia has successfully wooed a variety of companies specializing in biomass — cellulosic ethanol, corn ethanol, biodiesel, wood pellet, wood-to-electricity — with the goal of becoming a renewable energy leader. Many of the companies, though, are no longer in business."[16]
  • Trillions for biomass projects fruitless, 15 February 2011 by The Japan Times: "None of the government's 214 biomass promotion projects — with public funding coming to ¥6.55 trillion — over the past six years has produced effective results in the struggle against global warming, according to an official report released Tuesday."
    • "The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, which evaluates public works projects, urged the agriculture and five other ministries conducting biomass projects using sewage sludge, garbage and wood, to take corrective action."
    • "While the six ministries have argued that 161, or 75 percent, of the 214 projects have produced some results, the bureau concluded that none has produced results that would lead to the formation of a recycling-based society, the report says."[17]
  • In face of hunger, corn ethanol industry says blame anyone but us, 14 February 2011 by Switchboard.nrdc.com: "In a Washington Post editorial last week, biofuels expert Tim Searchinger sheds much needed light on the link between two important trends in today’s markets for grains: the expansion of global biofuels mandates on the one hand and the frequency and magnitude of food shortages around the world on the other."
    • "Where Searchinger lays out how in a complicated and complex market, biofuels make a bad situation worse, the industry cries for the messenger’s head and tries to shift the blame to anyone but themselves."
    • "This now prominently features attacks on the science of lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions accounting for biofuels, including the need to account for the carbon that is emitted when forests and other uncultivated lands are cleared for food production as a result of existing cropland being diverted towards growing grains for fuel."[18]
  • 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.'"[19]
  • 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."[20]
  • 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."[21]
  • 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."[22]
  • Bristol's biofuels plant must be refused planning permission, 10 February 2011 by The Guardian: "Burning biofuels in power stations is environmental vandalism on a staggering scale."
    • "The operators have two options. They could burn the cheapest available vegetable oils, which means palm and soya oil. These are also the most destructive: driving massive deforestation in both south-east Asia and the Amazon"
    • "Alternatively, the operators could burn cheaper oils, such as rapeseed. In doing so, they cause two problems. The first is to raise world food prices. The second is to create a vacuum in the world edible oils market, which is filled by … palm and soya oil."
    • "Whichever kind of vegetable oil you burn, you'll end up trashing the rainforests of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil."
    • "Somehow the government still classes burning edible oils to make electricity as green, and issues renewables obligations certificates for it – which is the only reason why it's happening."[24]
  • The Range Fuels Fiasco, 10 February 2011 by The Wall Street Journal: "As taxpayer tragedies go, Broomfield, Colorado-based Range Fuels has all the plot elements—splashy headlines, subsidies and opportunistic venture capitalists."
    • "Vinod Khosla founded Range Fuels and in March 2007 it received a $76 million grant from the Department of Energy— one of six cellulosic projects the Bush Administration selected for $385 million in grants. Range said it would build the nation's first commercial cellulosic plant, near Soperton, Georgia, using wood chips to produce 20 million gallons a year in 2008, with a goal of 100 million gallons."
    • "By spring 2008, Range had also attracted $130 million of private funding, the largest venture investment in the nation in the first quarter of that year."
    • "In early 2010, the EPA said Range would finally produce some fuel in 2010—but only four million gallons, not 100 million, and of methanol, not cellulosic ethanol."
    • "So taxpayers have committed $162 million (along with at least that much in private financing) to produce four million gallons of a biofuel that others have been making in quantity for decades."[25]
  • Palm oil giant vows to spare most valuable Indonesian rainforest, 9 February 2011 by The Guardian: "Golden Agri-Resources Limited has committed itself to protecting forests and peatlands with a high level of biodiversity, or which provide major carbon sinks, as part of an agreement with conservation group the Forest Trust."
    • "However, the agreement announced on Wednesday will still leave GAR free to exploit other areas of forest, and land that is judged to be of lower conservation value."
    • "Scott Poynton, executive director of the Forest Trust, said 'It's about going to the root causes of deforestation – we have shown that the destruction of forests is anchored deeply in the supply chains of the products we consume in industrialised nations, and we are showing we can do something about that.'"
    • He said pressure from Nestlé, which last year drew up a set of sustainability guidelines and signalled that it would not accept palm oil from sources connected to deforestation, had been instrumental in bringing GAR to the table."
    • "Experts in Indonesia will be asked to judge whether GAR forests have "high conservation value" under guidance from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a coalition of the palm oil industry and conservation groups."[26]
  • Laws needed to guide biofuels development, 9 February 2011 by Business Daily Africa: "We have recently seen debates on a proposed large-scale foreign investment for 'jatropha' biodiesel crop in the Tana Delta area. The debate is an indication that we need national policies to guide biofuel development and also large-scale leasing of community lands by foreign enterprises."
    • "Over the last few years, many countries have been reassessing their strategies on biofuels especially where biofuels developments are in direct competition with national food self sufficiency and where they interfere with existing primary forests."
    • "The draft policy and strategy for biodiesel in Kenya centers mainly around rural communities primarily in semi-arid areas, where locally grown diesel crops (jatropha, croton, castor etc) would provide affordable and cleaner alternative rural energy for lighting and heating using locally customised equipment."
    • "With renewed focus on food crops in marginal areas, it is highly unlikely that the government will wish to emphasise promotion of biodiesel crops like jatropha in the same areas."[27]
  • U.S. Corn Reserves at Lowest Level in More Than 15 Years, 9 February 2011 by The New York Times: "Reserves of corn in the United States have hit their lowest level in more than 15 years, reflecting tighter supplies that will lead to higher food prices in 2011."
    • "The Department of Agriculture reported Wednesday that the ethanol industry’s projected orders this year rose 8.4 percent, to 13.01 billion bushels, after record-high production in December and January."
    • "That means the United States will have about 675 million bushels of corn left at the end of the year. That is about 5 percent of all corn that will be consumed, the lowest surplus level since 1996."[28]
  • Montpelier building biomass district energy system, 8 February 2011 by Biomass Power and Thermal Magazine: "With the help of an $8 million Recovery Act grant, Vermont’s capital city will install a 41 MMBtu combined-heat and-power biomass district energy system that will provide heat to the statehouse and up to 175 other public and private buildings downtown, as well as 1.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity to the grid."
    • "Locally sourced wood chips will fuel the plant. In terms of how much a system like this would require, Sherman said it’s a moving target dependent on what the final build-out of the system is, but it will not be a huge volume—somewhere from 10,000 to 15,000 green tons annually."[29]
  • Biodiesel leader: Arizona positioned to lead in producing algae for fuel, 8 February 2011 by The Sierra Vista Herald: "Arizona’s sunny, dry weather makes it the perfect location for farming algae to produce renewable fuels, an executive of a national biofuels group said Monday."
    • "In addition, the state’s coal-fired power plants produce quantities of carbon dioxide that would allow for more efficient production of algae."
    • "However, technology that would allow for mass-production of algae is probably a decade away."
    • "Bruce Rittman, director of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, said in a telephone interview that he thinks the technology needed to mass-produce algae probably is more like five years way. But the infrastructure required probably means the U.S. is 15-20 years away from algae being a major fuel source."[30]
  • Ethanol Gets Seat on California LCFS Panel, 8 February 2011 by DomesticFuel.com: "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."[31]
  • Ethanol industry watching federal tax credit, 7 February 2011 by KTIV.com: "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."[33]
  • 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."[34]
  • Biodiesel roars back with mandate, tax credits, B20 OKs, 7 February 2011 by Biofuels Digest: "'The EPA has said that they are going to enforce the 800 million gallon volume RFS2 requirement' said National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe to Biodiesel magazine, 'and we will have the tax credit in place.'"
    • "At the same time, there are challenges on the feedstock front. Bottom line, jatropha, camelina and algae are still emerging feedstocks, soy and canola are pricey, waste oils & greases are tough to find at scale, and palm is politically radioactive."
    • "For sure, the biodiesel industry is in a right jolly mood in comparison to 2009 or 2010, and has set its theme as 'Advance'. In part, that’s a recognition of biodiesel, under the rules of the Renewable Fuel Standard, as an 'advanced biofuel’ and that’s a market position that the biodiesel industry would like to have in the mind of every renewable fuels stakeholder"
    • "We continue to see biodiesel as a growing fuel, but not yet do we see the near-term feedstock availability, at affordable prices, for the fuel to have major US advancements beyond mandated levels in the billion-gallon range, before mid-decade, without importing jatropha oil from abroad (if it is not snapped up by the military or aviation sectors first)."[35]
  • Failure to act on crop shortages fuelling political instability, experts warn, 7 February 2011 by The Guardian: "World leaders are ignoring potentially disastrous shortages of key crops, and their failures are fuelling political instability in key regions, food experts have warned."
    • "Food prices have hit record levels in recent weeks, according to the United Nations, and soaring prices for staples such as grains over the past few months are thought to have been one of the factors contributing to an explosive mix of popular unrest in Egypt and Tunisia."
    • "The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said this week that world food prices hit a record high in January, for the seventh consecutive month. Its food price index was up 3.4% from December to the highest level since the organisation started measuring food prices in 1990."
    • "Water scarcity, combined with soil erosion, climate change, the diversion of food crops to make biofuels, and a growing population, were all putting unprecedented pressure on the world's ability to feed itself, according to [Lester] Brown" of the Earth Policy Institute.
    • "Richer countries such as China and Middle Eastern oil producers have reacted by buying up vast tracts of land in poorer parts of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa and parts of south-east Asia."
    • "There were widespread food riots in 2008 in Africa, Latin America and some Asian countries, as soaring grain prices put staple foods out of reach of millions of poor people."[36]
  • Analyzing long-term impacts of biofuel on the land, 3 February 2011 by ScienceBlog: "While a useful biofuel source, crop residues also play a crucial role in maintaining soil organic carbon stock."
    • "This stock of organic carbon preserves soil functions and our global environment as well ensures the sustainable long-term production of biofuel feedstock."
    • "Using a process-based carbon balance model, researchers simulated experiments lasting from 79 to 134 years to predict the potential of no tillage management to maintain soil organic carbon."
    • "'Harvesting substantial amounts of crop residue under current cropping systems without exogenous carbon (e.g., manure) addition would deplete soil organic carbon, exacerbate risks of soil erosion, increase non-point source pollution, degrade soil, reduce crop yields per unit input of fertilizer and water, and decrease agricultural sustainability,' says Hero Gollany, the author of the study."[37]
  • Renewables could supply global energy demand by 2050 – report, 3 February 2011 by Christy van der Merwe: "The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on Thursday released ‘The Energy Report’, in which it said that it was possible for 100% of the globe’s energy needs to be supplied through cleaner renewable energy technologies by 2050."
    • "The report does, however, note that big increases in capital expenditure would be required first, so as to install renewable energy on a massive scale, modernise electricity grids, transform goods and public transport and improve energy efficiency of existing buildings."
    • "These investments would begin to pay off in about 2040, when the savings would start to outweigh the costs."
    • "In a nutshell, the scenario assumed that in 2050, energy demand was 15% lower than in 2005, because although population, industrial output, passenger travel and freight transport continued to rise as forecast, energy efficiency enable more to be done with less."
    • "Bioenergy, namely liquid biofuels and solid biomass, would be used... where other renewable energy sources were not viable, particularly in providing fuel for aeroplanes, trucks and ships, and industrial processes that required very high temperatures."[38]
  • Investing in the Future: USDA and DOE Back Biorefinery Development, 2 February 2011 by Biotech-Now.org: "The Agriculture Department has awarded $405 million in loan guarantees to cellulosic biofuel developers."
    • "The guarantees, which will help advanced biofuel companies secure the private equity needed to build commercial facilities, were made under the Biorefinery Assistance Program."
    • "At the same time, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the offer of a $241 million conditional loan guarantee to Diamond Green Diesel, the proposed joint venture between Valero Energy and Darling International."
    • In addition to the USDA loan guarantees, the department’s Advanced Biofuels Payment Program also announced funding for biofuel producers in 33 states. Plus, the Rural Energy for America Program released $1.6 million in grant money for 68 feasibility studies."[39]
  • Malaysian palm oil destroying forests, report warns, 2 February 2011 by the Guardian: "Study by Wetlands International claims level of palm oil-related deforestation in Malaysia is higher than previously thought."
    • "The report claims that between 2005 and 2010, almost 353,000 hectares of peat swamp forests were cleared – a third of Malaysia's total – largely for palm oil production."
    • "The clearing, draining and burning of peat swamp forests is responsible for about 10 per cent of mankind's greenhouse gas emissions, according to Wetlands International."
    • "Palm oil firms in Malaysia and Indonesia are under increasing pressure by major Western retailers and consumer goods brands, many of which use palm oil in their products, to halt the expansion of plantations that lead to forest clearance."
    • "Some Malaysian palm oil producers have also joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, but strong demand from India and China for unsustainably sourced oil means others can avoid doing so without necessarily harming their market share."[40]
  • The Fine Print: USDA Announces Final Rules for BioPreferred Labeling, 1 February 2011 by Biotech-Now.org: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced its final rules for the BioPreferred biobased product certification and labeling."
    • "This system will let companies that produce biobased products and chemical ingredients designate these products as made from renewable resources, with a clear indication of the percentage of renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials in the product."
    • "To apply, companies must submit testing evidence to USDA detailing a product’s biobased content as well as up-to-date information on any brand names the product uses."
    • "Moreover, if a manufacturer makes a claim on the product’s packaging regarding its environmental and human health effects, sustainability benefits and performance, the manufacturer must include documentation that supports those claims."[41]
  • Shell Exits Algae Biofuels Development, 1 February 2011 by Chem.Info: "Last week Shell announced that it will will exit its shareholding in Cellana, a joint venture between Shell and HR Biopetroleum (HRBP)."
    • "In 2007, HRBP and Royal Dutch Shell had formed Cellana as a separate joint venture to build and operate a demonstration facility to grow marine algae and produce vegetable oil for conversion into biofuel."
    • "'In keeping with Shell’s portfolio approach to the research, development and commercialisation of advanced biofuels, this decision will allow Shell to focus on other options that have shown a better fit with Shell’s biofuels portfolio and strategy.'"
    • "To support the transition, Shell has agreed to provide short-term funding to advance and focus the algae technology development program which is supported by stakeholders including the University of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company, Maui Electric Company, the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts consortium, and the DOE."[43]
  • More Palm Oil Questions: Finnair Halts Biofuel Introduction, As Malaysia's Forests Fall For Farming , 1 February 2011 by Treehugger.com: "State-owned airline Finnair has announced that it will not begin using aviation biofuel on some of its routes this year as previously planned."
    • "The announcement comes on the same day that a new assessment of the damage caused by palm oil plantation expansion in Malaysia paints a grim future for tropical peat forests."
    • "Finnair had planned to begin using kerosene produced by Neste Oil from palm oil in 2011."
    • "The environmental director of Finnair explained the decision to not using the aviation biofuel:'The price of the fuel and its sustainability measured against all criteria is not at the level that we would have gone into it at this point.'"
    • "'An ideal situation would be for us to get biological kerosene produced from local raw materials, because there is no sense in hauling raw materials from the other side of the world. We would have wanted to start commercial flights with biofuel now, but products that are currently available have not met our sustainability criteria.'"[44]
  • Biofuels: A Boon for the Misbegotten, February 2011 by Steve Nadis, Harvard Kennedy School: "Harvard Kennedy School Professor Robert Lawrence, a trade economist, sees the U.S. government’s support of the biofuels industry in another light: as a textbook example of ill-conceived policy."
    • "Government-set mandates and blending quotas have created a growing demand for biofuels."
    • "The main problem, from an energy policy perspective, is that these fuels are being promoted domestically without a clear rationale."
    • "Proponents commonly cite three attributes: a reduced carbon footprint, a reduced dependence on foreign oil, and a boon to American farmers. Yet Lawrence believes that biofuels don’t deliver on any of these objectives."
    • "If the federal government wants to help the family farmer, Lawrence says, it should simply give money to struggling farmers — through tax relief, grants, or some other form — rather than prop up an industry predominantly run by large agribusiness corporations."
    • "Perhaps biofuels are appealing in large part because no one knows the cost of the government’s requirement that a certain (and growing) portion of biofuels be blended into gasoline. Concealing the costs of a policy may be politically advantageous, but it rarely leads to the best strategy."[45]




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