Clean Technology: US Policy Aids Second Generation Biofuel Push
by Guy Chazan (Financial Times) In the world of biofuels, all eyes are on the tiny northern Italian town of Crescentino, site of the world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which will start production this year.
The venture might be small, with output of just 60,000 tonnes of fuel a year. But it is a harbinger of a new movement in clean technology.
Producing petrol substitutes from sources such as sugar cane, corn and wheat has had a bad press. Critics say biofuels production takes up vast tracts of farmland that could better be used for growing food.
…It will produce bioethanol from a giant reed, arunda donax, as well as rice husks, the parts of corn left after harvesting, and wheat stalks.
…Start-ups that are not building add-ons or lack the support of a strategic investor such as BP can find the going can be tough. Banks are wary of lending to standalone next-generation plants given the uncertainties, and prefer to invest in proven technologies with reliable cash flows, such as onshore wind farms.
The sector can be confusing for potential investors. There are an estimated 300 companies engaged in second-generation biofuels research, working with dozens of feedstocks and processes. READ MORE