Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Government to amp up biofuel production efforts

To meet the nation's biofuel goal, the government must accelerate the development of biofuel crops and products, says a new report from the White House. In the report to be released today, "An administration task force said the government needs, among other things, to set targets for commercializing new types of fuel crops, such as switchgrass," Phillip Brasher of the Des Monies Register reports. The report also advocates a regional approach that promoted specific fuels to suit particular regions.

Not everything in the report will please the biofuel industry, though. It suggests federal agencies identify "environmental and social issues that may confront biofuels development," Brasher writes, and it says new biofuel refineries must have guaranteed markets. The industry has been outspoken in its belief that such a requirement would make it virtually impossible for companies to obtain federal loan guarantees.

"Past performance and business as usual will not get us there," the report says of the 2022 mandate for the nation to use 36 billion gallons of biofuels. "Today, only 12 billion gallons of biofuels are produced annually." The report did not say how the agency would deal with the 10-percent cap on the amount of ethanol that can be added to gasoline, and greenhouse-gas reduction standards that could limit the increased production of ethanol and biodiesel, Brasher reports. (Read more)

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