Biofuel projects in South Florida Have Promising Future, Challenging Present
South Florida Sun-Sentinel) The neatly planted rows of jatropha trees in Delray Beach are sprouting round, green fruit that can be crushed into oil to run diesel engines. Teri Gevinson founder of Ag-Oil LLC, foresees a day when South Florida farms like hers grow 10,000 acres of jatropha, enough to make 15 million gallons a year of oil. But like many biofuels projects, her dream depends on obtaining millions of dollars for a state-of-the-art processing plant, money hard to find in the current credit crunch.(
Gov. Charlie Crist and President Barack Obama both tout renewable energy, including biofuels, as vital to stem U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum, reduce carbon emissions and create “green” jobs. Yet scores of promising projects remain in early stages and face uncertain futures, experts say, unless the government, venture capitalists and others loosen purse strings soon.
“Renewable energy should be leading the way out of this recession, but it’s not because investors are not investing,” said Sean O’Hanlon, who runs the Miami-based trade group American Biofuels Council.
Adds Jim Lane, editor of Miami-based BiofuelsDigest.com: “There’s always been a gulf between obtaining venture capital and project finance. Now, it’s an ocean.” READ MORE