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Call to Action for a Truly Sustainable Renewable Future
August 8, 2013 – 5:07 pm | No Comment

-Include high octane/high ethanol Regular Grade fuel in EPA Tier 3 regulations.
-Use a dedicated, self-reducing non-renewable carbon user fee to fund renewable energy R&D.
-Start an Apollo-type program to bring New Ideas to sustainable biofuel and …

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Is the Renewable Fuel Standard Helping Bring the Next Generation of Biofuels to Market?

Submitted by on October 25, 2013 – 5:14 pmNo Comment

by Ned Stowe (Environmental and Energy Study Institute)  For many supporters of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a key goal was to stimulate the development and use of low-carbon, next generation biofuels – to help reduce both U.S. petroleum dependence and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector. Has it worked?

There can be little doubt that the RFS has encouraged the development of next generation, low-carbon advanced biofuels. Hundreds of biodiesel plants are now online, with the capacity to produce more than two billion gallons of advanced biofuel per year. Each is meeting or exceeding GHG reduction thresholds of 50 percent or more compared to petroleum-based diesel.

This year, the first two commercial-scale cellulosic biofuel plants (INEOS Bio (Florida) and KiOR (Mississippi)) have come on line and are starting to produce biofuels. INEOS Bio is using agricultural residues and yard wastes to produce ethanol and renewable electricity, and KiOR is using woody biomass to produce bio-crude and drop-in fuels. They are expected to achieve life cycle GHG emission reductions greater than 80 percent compared to petroleum-based fuels.

Many more commercial-scale, advanced and cellulosic biofuel plants are under construction and scheduled to start up over the next 18 months. These include Abengoa (now building its first commercial scale facility in Kansas), AltAir(California), Cellana (Hawaii), Cool Planet Biofuels (Louisiana), DuPont (Iowa), Fiberight (Iowa), Fulcrum (Nevada),Gevo (Minnesota), Joule (New Mexico), Poet/DSM (Iowa), Sapphire (New Mexico), and Solazyme (Illinois).

These companies will use a wide variety of feedstocks – algae, woody biomass, yard waste, municipal solid waste, switch grass, corn stover, wheat straw, or they will use no biomass feedstock at all (e.g., Joule). And, they will also use a wide variety of new, advanced, energy conversion technologies. Some (e.g., DuPont, Gevo, Poet) will be producing advanced cellulosic biofuels from corn stover in conjunction with ongoing conventional corn ethanol production – making the most of existing supply chains, improved energy efficiency, and other complementarities. All of these projects will meet or exceed GHG reduction thresholds of 50 percent or more compared to petroleum-based fuels, and some will approach, meet, or exceed net carbon neutrality on a life cycle basis.

This is just a partial list of advanced and cellulosic biofuel projects now underway and nearing completion thanks to the ambitious Renewable Fuel Standard. READ MORE

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