MichBio Responds to Flawed University of Michigan Research Study on Biofuels and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
(MichBio/BusinessWire) MichBio, the biosciences industry association in Michigan, issued the following statement today regarding the release of a University of Michigan research study that claims the rising use of biofuels in the U.S. has led to a net increase in carbon dioxide emissions associated with global warming.
Professor DeCicco’s most recent, and flawed, study funded by the oil industry gives an inappropriate unearned carbon storage credit to the petroleum industry. The oil industry may have paid for the study, but they do not pay for carbon storage or carbon recycling. The biofuels industry, by comparison, does create an economic incentive to recycle carbon.
Professor DeCicco’s modeling gives fossil fuels a credit for carbon storage from existing forests and agriculture. This inclusion is wholly inappropriate in a lifecycle model because there is no economic relationship between the fossil fuel industry and agriculture or forestry. Farmers do not plant crops to soak up carbon emissions from oil use; nor do forest owners preserve forests to store carbon emissions from oil use. DeCicco inappropriately argues that all carbon in the atmosphere is the same, so biofuels are the same as or worse than petroleum fuels. But biofuels provide a direct economic incentive to farmers and foresters to manage land and recycle carbon. The oil industry creates no such incentive.
Unfortunately, DeCicco simply built a model that gives him the answer he wants. No competent life cycle assessment assumes that biofuels are carbon neutral, only that the actual carbon content of the fuels came from the atmosphere in the first place and returns to the atmosphere when it is combusted. That much is simple chemistry, and without argument. For the rest of the biofuel life cycle, the question of carbon neutrality is very much a research question, not a decided issue as DeCicco would have one believe.
The independently funded Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has demonstrated that conventional biofuels reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 34 percent over their lifecycle, while advanced biofuels can reduce emissions by 100 percent or more over conventional gasoline.
“It’s unfortunate when scientists conduct research predicated on assumptions that lead to biased results, rather than conducting a truly independent analysis,” said Stephen Rapundalo, PhD, President and CEO, MichBio. “Moreover, the Petroleum Institute’s direct funding of the research calls into question any impartiality on the part of the research team and hence the study’s conclusions.”
In sum, this study is an attempt by the oil industry to smear the biofuels industry and stifle competition in the fuels market. It ignores the benefits of Michigan’s homegrown biofuels industry, and if its conclusions were to be valid stands to hinder a potential economic driver for Michigan and the U.S.
MichBio is the trade association committed to driving growth in Michigan’s biosciences industry and its many sectors, including agri-biotech, food and nutrition, bio-based technologies and renewable chemicals, industrial and environmental biotech, medical devices and technologies, pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare, diagnostics and research products, testing and research services, and clinical research. MichBio members include biosciences companies, academic and research institutions, biosciences service providers, and related organizations. READ MORE and MORE (Renewable Fuels Association) and MORE / MORE (Michigan Live) and MORE (The Hill) and MORE (Road Show) and MORE (Telegraph) and MORE (AutoBlog) and MORE (Phys.Org) and MORE (Biofuels Journal) and MORE (International Business Times) and MORE (Climate Central) and MORE (The Global Warming Policy Forum) Abstract (Climate Change)
August Is the Time to Reach Out and Meet Your Member of Congress
by Brent Erickson (Biotechnology Innovation Organization/Biofuels Digest) Members of Congress just returned to their home states and districts for the August recess to meet with constituents and campaign for the upcoming elections. You can be sure the oil producers will be seeking meetings with their representatives. But August provides a great opportunity for biofuel and renewable chemical producers to seize the day and to invite Members of Congress – as well as other general election candidates – to get a firsthand look at the technology progress and economic impact of our industry and meet the hardworking Americans who are building it. I urge you to reach out now and invite your Congressman and Senators to your facilities and offices for a briefing.
In your invitation to your Congressman, Senator, or candidate, you can let him or her know that you and your employees are among the quarter million U.S. workers employed in the biofuel and renewable chemical industry. Overall, biobased production contributes approximately $50 billion each year to the U.S. economy. That’s a sizeable portion of the $252 billion in annual sales of biobased products worldwide, but there’s still room for rapid growth. Worldwide sales of renewable chemicals and biofuels are projected to increase to $441 billion by 2020, with annual growth of 8 percent over the next several years.
You can also remind Members of Congress and the candidates that federal policies are important to help U.S. industry grow and compete for a share of the worldwide market.
Please also ask your Member of Congress to support bipartisan legislation that will help our industry continue to be competitive. The Renewable Chemicals Act (S.2271) introduced by Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow and companion legislation in the House (H.3390) introduced by New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell deserve additional support. … The Master Limited Partnership Parity Act, introduced by Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and Texas Rep. Ted Poe would provide renewable energy producers access to a tax vehicle currently available only to petroleum companies.
You can find contact information for your Representative or Senator on their website. Offer a day and time when you extend your invitation, but try to be flexible and work with the member’s office to finalize plans. Even if the member is unable to visit your facility this month, he or she may be able to accept the invitation at some future date and will appreciate hearing the concerns of a constituent. READ MORE (emphasis added)
Tim Walz Visits Al-Corn to Show Support for Homegrown Biofuels
(Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association) Rep. Tim Walz visited Al-Corn Clean Fuel in Claremont on Aug 24 to learn more about the plant’s upcoming expansion exercise and reiterate his support for clean Minnesota-produced renewable biofuels.
Walz was briefed on Al-Corn’s $146 million expansion exercise which will provide a significant boost for the economy in Claremont and its surrounding towns.
“Visiting Al-Corn in Claremont is such a wonderful reminder that we can use our American ingenuity to control our own energy destiny and revitalize our economy at the same time. I am proud of the work we do in southern Minnesota to create a new energy future for our nation and the innovation that moves us forward,” he said.
“Over the last 20 years, Al-Corn has supported the economy of Minnesota and our rural communities and we will continue to do so. Once we have completed our modernization and expansion project, we will be able to create additional value for farmers in the region, produce more livestock feed and biodiesel feedstock, and provide Minnesota’s transportation sector with more clean, renewable fuel,” said Randall Doyal, Al-Corn’s CEO.
During the visit, which was organized by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, Walz said the huge jump in E15 sales in the first half of the year in the state was proof that Minnesotans want clean homegrown renewable fuels.
In the first half of the year, E15 sales in Minnesota reached 2.77 million gallons, 90 percent of the total amount sold in 2015 (3.09 million gallons). READ MORE