EPA Silently Continues Support for Corn Ethanol, Bumping Target for 2012
December 30, 2011 1:56 PM
comment(s) - last by
Cellulosic, sugarcane, and biodiesel all get bigger bumps as well
For environmentalists and those pushing for oil independence the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
delivered mixed results, in its newly published 2012 alternative fuels targets.
I. New Mandatory Fuel Targets Land
The EPA has been granted the power by Congress to push alternative fuel targets under the
Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
(EISA), signed into law by President Bush. The EISA set a hard target of reaching 36 billion gallons of production by 2022.
The EPA's proposed changes are seen below:
Yep, that's right the EPA is quietly bumping its corn ethanol production targets.
II. Corn Ethanol Bump Sure to Produce Controversy
Of course the EPA also contains much larger increases for cellulosic ethanol/butanol (derived from woody plant waste); biomass-based diesel (e.g. refined spent cooking oil); and "advanced biofuel" (sugarcane ethanol, algal oil, etc.).
It’s broadly known that corn ethanol both
increases greenhouse gas emissions
increases food prices
. On the other hand it does provide a
small shred of domestic security
by removing some dependence on volatile foreign sources.
Corn ethanol is a contentious proposition. [Image Source: Cagle Cartoons]
Generally the mood is shifting against corn ethanol. The EPA appears to be in the minority of remaining federal supporters. Congress recently
finalized the cut to corn ethanol's tax subsidy
However, the corn ethanol industry will likely push the issue by simply raising prices to recoup their lost subsidy. After all, for now the EPA has the right to force importers and refiners to use a certain amount of corn ethanol, regardless of how expensive it is.
III. Numbers Show Hope for Cellulosic Ethanol, Rising Promise of Algal Fuel
One interesting thing in the above figures to note is just how small the cellulosic ethanol market still is. When the EISA was first proposed, the intended target for this type of biofuel was 250 million -- it's now orders of magnitude smaller.
[Image Source: ASPO USA]
Cellulosic ethanol startup companies
seemed promising, but difficulty in establishing a solid food-chain to deliver biomass stock and finding the funding to scale laboratory work to production-scale designs has led to the great cellulosic ethanol fizzle.
That said, there's still hope for this novel technology, which generally earns praise for turning non-viable biomaterial (woody waste) into fuel. Unlike
the last few years
, in 2012 the EPA is actually increasing the cellulosic ethanol target from the prior year (the last few years have been a series of declines). That could signal the industry is turning the corner.
The steep rise in advanced biofuel also may be coming thanks to the U.S. Navy's deep investment in algal fuel, which cut costs
from $424 USD/gallon last year
$26.67 USD/gallon this year
Looking ahead, there's likely to be a brewing fight over the very large remaining corn ethanol requirement. One can only hope that Congress doesn't throw out the baby with the bathwater and ditch all of the requirements, including those that foster more fundamentally sound alternative fuel technologies like algal biofuel.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
1/1/2012 5:23:32 AM
I don't have land to get onto this BioFuel goverment subsidized financial gravy train. I can't imagine why in a few decades riots break out in the US over food prices & food shortages. But wait I have an answer, import food from China. Problem solved. I better load up on some more SeaFoam, when my cars run like crap in the morning, have jumpy throttle response, and the gas mileage tanks the throttle body is plugged up with these wonderful Ethanol deposits again.
RE: I'm Pissed
1/1/2012 2:37:30 PM
Seafoam is definitely a great product.
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
Federal Gov't Finally Kills $6B USD Corn Ethanol Subsidy
December 26, 2011, 1:01 PM
Military Biofuel Costs Slashed Thanks to Massive Navy Purchase
December 7, 2011, 10:32 AM
FedEx CEO: "Addiction" to Foreign Oil is Costing the Economy, American Lives
May 20, 2011, 8:37 AM
Navy's New Experimental Ship Runs on Algae Biofuel Which Costs $424/Gallon
October 28, 2010, 4:08 PM
U.S. Government Mandates 800M Gallons Biodiesel by Next Year
July 20, 2010, 7:14 AM
2017 Porsche Panamera: I’ll Take Three of These.
July 24, 2016, 6:44 PM
Ford, Toyota, and Universal Pictures Celebrate "Back to the Future Day' in Style
October 21, 2015, 4:19 PM
Consumer Reports Flexes Muscle, Hits Slumping Tesla Motors Stock
October 20, 2015, 4:13 PM
Debunked: Beneath the Lies, Nigerian "Pee Generator" Is Still Pissing Into the Wind
October 19, 2015, 7:53 PM
Hot Air? President Obama, G7 Pledge to Eliminate Most Fossil Fuel Use by 2100
June 8, 2015, 5:40 PM
Study Predicts Self-Driving Vehicles Could Rake in Billions
March 6, 2015, 8:34 AM
Most Popular Articles
Say Goodbye to Data Plans - Sprint and T-Mobile offer Unlimited Data
August 22, 2016, 6:12 AM
2 NEW PlayStation 4 Models - Unveiling September 7th
August 23, 2016, 6:23 AM
Uber - Everyone's Autonomous Car Driver?
August 20, 2016, 6:01 AM
iPhones May Get Curved Screens Next Year
August 24, 2016, 6:45 AM
Lenovo vs. Asus vs. HP - Best Laptop Under $500.00
August 19, 2016, 4:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Coming Soon - Drones and Airports
Aug 24, 2016, 12:40 PM
SolarCity’s Gigafactory: A Milesone in Emerging Technology by Lily Emamian - 15 August 2016
Aug 15, 2016, 6:30 AM
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information