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
RE: This statistic is really disturbing
1/1/2012 10:22:25 AM
If you understand how business and economy functions, you will realize that business does things for profit. If there isn't a profit, no point. With ethanol, the Fed is paying 6 BILLION dollars a year. If they didn't pay, this wouldn't be done because business has already realized that ethanol is a loss. The environment doesn't win either because ethanol is barely break even on it's environmental impact, most cases it's actually worse then gas. There is NO energy source that has the energy potential, cost, or portability of gas. Period. All of you alt energy people need to realize, that alt energy works great in small things, but is too cost prohibitive large scale. Yes it's fun to experiment, but that's all you are doing is playing around. The business sector has already realized that there isn't a profit in alt energy. You already said that the market and demand will choose. It already has, ethanol is a failure. if it weren't for the 6 billion they get, it would be dead and buried already. When the market wants it, and can sustain it, then we will see alt fuels. Ask Solyndra about alt energy. Alt energy should be explored, but not mandated like the government is doing. You can't artificially create demand for an inferior product.
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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
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
Dual-Motor Tesla Model S P85D's "Insane Mode" Shocks Passengers
January 28, 2015, 11:18 PM
Most Popular Articles
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM
Top 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
2017 Porsche Panamera: I’ll Take Three of These.
July 24, 2016, 6:44 PM
Smart Security Cameras: 5 Good Choices For Any Budget
July 25, 2016, 7:13 PM
Latest Blog Posts
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
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information