Thursday, May 06, 2010

Gore calls ethanol from corn a mistake; biofuels industry uses oil spill as teachable moment

Former Vice President Al Gore said he has hope for second- and third-generation biofuels, but classified support for ethanol from corn or sugar beets as a mistake. Gore was the keynote speaker at the Biotechnology Industry Organization 2010 convention, Gayathri Vaidyanatha of Environment & Energy Daily reports. "I was an enthusiastic supporter of the first generation of biofuels," Gore explained. "I was mistaken."

Gore acknowledge that the mistake has "set the stage for the development of second- and third-generation fuels using feedstocks and algae that do not compete with the food supply," Vaidyanatha writes. Talk at the convention was upbeat for the biofuel industry. Using feedstocks and wastes from agriculture and forestry  for biofuel production could replace the oil industry.

Speaking of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Gore explained, "This horrendous tragedy occurred because easily recoverable reserves are done. We are pushing into frontier regions." (Read more, subscription required)

In a letter to President Obama, the Renewable Fuels Association said the spill is further evidence of the importance of biofuel investment. "This tragedy can provide a teaching moment and once again steel the resolve of the American people to take this country in a new direction," the letter said. RFA went on to call for the government to "raise immediately the limit on the amount of ethanol that can be added to gasoline from 10 percent to 12 percent; raise the blend limit to 15 percent after some pending government research is finished; and ease restrictions for loan guarantees being sought for advanced-biofuel projects," Philip Brasher of the Des Moines Register reports on the Green Fields blog. (Read more)

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