Energy News  





. The Future Of Biofuels Is Not In Corn

Corn - now used to produce 95 percent of U.S. ethanol and the only commercially viable ethanol feedstock prepared to capitalize on refinery subsidies in the Farm Bill - is the least sustainable biofuel feedstock of all raw materials commonly used.
by Staff Writers
London UK (SPX) Jul 20, 2007
The future of biofuels is not in corn, says a new report released today by Food and Water Watch, the Network for New Energy Choices, and the Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment. The corn ethanol refinery industry, the beneficiary of new renewable fuel targets in the proposed energy legislation as well as proposed loan guarantee subsidies in the 2007 Farm Bill, will not significantly offset U.S. fossil fuel consumption without unacceptable environmental and economic consequences.

"Rural communities won't benefit from the Farm Bill becoming a fuel bill. In the long run, family farmers and the environment will be losers, while agribusiness, whose political contributions are fueling the ethanol frenzy, will become the winners," said Food and Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter.

"Rising oil prices, energy security, and global warming concerns have led to today's 'go yellow' hype over corn ethanol," explained Scott Cullen, Senior Policy Advisor for the Network for New Energy Choices. "But all biofuels are not equal. Expansion of the corn ethanol industry will lead to more water and air pollution and soil erosion of America's farm belt, while failing to significantly offset fossil fuel use or combat global warming."

The report, The Rush to Ethanol: Not all BioFuels are Equal, is a comprehensive review of the literature on the environmental and economic implications of pinning our hopes on corn ethanol to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. Report findings include the following:

Not all biofuels are equal. Corn - now used to produce 95 percent of U.S. ethanol and the only commercially viable ethanol feedstock prepared to capitalize on refinery subsidies in the Farm Bill - is the least sustainable biofuel feedstock of all raw materials commonly used.

The capacity of corn ethanol to offset U.S. fossil fuel use is extremely limited. Dedicating the entire U.S. corn crop to ethanol production would only offset 15 percent of gasoline demand. Conversely, modest increases in auto fuel efficiency standards of even one mile per gallon for all cars and light trucks, such as those passed by the Senate last month could cut petroleum consumption by more than all alternative fuels and replacement fuels combined.

Corn ethanol is the wrong biofuel for combating global warming. The most favorable estimates show that corn ethanol could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent to 28 percent, while cellulosic ethanol is estimated to offer a reduction of 87 percent compared to gasoline.

Ethanol is not the solution to revitalizing rural America. While higher commodity prices and cooperatively owned ethanol refineries could be a boon to independent farmers, unregulated ethanol industry growth will further concentrate agribusiness, threatening the livelihood of rural communities.

" As long as we spend more on subsidizing energy suppliers than we do on investments in energy efficiency, we are on a path to pain. We are already subsidizing corn-ethanol with more money than we spend on high-mileage cars or on quality mass-transit. That's good for some companies and some politicians, but it's bad for our nation and our world.," said Michael Dworkin, of the Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment

Both the farm and energy legislation being debated in Congress contain provisions that will set biofuels policy for years to come. While the politicians promise that America will be driving on switchgrass-based ethanol instead of gasoline in the next decade, the majority of the subsidies will go to corn-based ethanol refiners in the near term.

The groups made recommendations on U.S. biofuels policy including the following proposed reforms to ethanol provisions of the 2007 Farm Bill:

Biofuels promotion policies should be tied to a sustainable fuel standard that ensures best management practices of land, water, and soil use, and other measures to reduce impacts on wildlife and natural ecosystems.

Any ethanol funding in the U.S. Farm Bill should focus on research and development of cellulosic ethanol. There is sufficient private investment in corn ethanol development and refining already. Because cellulosic ethanol is not ready for market, any subsidies for refining in this year's bill will only lock U.S. ethanol production even more tightly to corn.

No coal-fired ethanol refineries should be eligible for federal subsidies. Instead, small scale ethanol refineries should be encouraged to use lignin, a cellulosic byproduct, as fuel.

Loan guarantees for refineries should be directed to locally owned facilities that benefit farmers and rural communities. The farm bill should include measures similar to those in place in Minnesota to ensure that subsidies are only provided to refinery operations that are farmer majority-owned.

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Network for New Energy Choices
Imperial College London
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
US And Russia Facing Energy Crises
Moscow (UPI) Jul 20, 2007
New Yorkers still remember the "night of terror" provoked by a blackout on a hot summer's night in 1977, when stores were ransacked, looted and destroyed, buildings were set ablaze, and the police, for the most part, stood helpless. In the 30 years since then, electricity experts have not found a foolproof way of developing electricity systems that would rule out a repetition of such disasters. The same goes for Russia.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • US And Russia Facing Energy Crises
  • Rural Communities Revived By New Energy Projects
  • The Future Of Biofuels Is Not In Corn
  • EERC Providing Renewable Energy Solutions For Remote Area Of Alaska

  • Energy Worries Grow For Japan As Nuclear Plant Shut
  • Vattenfall Europe Chief Quits After German Nuclear Incidents
  • US And India Identify Solutions To Salvage Nuclear Deal
  • Japan's Quake-Hit Nuclear Plant Ordered To Remain Shut

  • Invisible Gases Form Most Organic Haze In Both Urban And Rural Areas
  • BAE Systems Completes Major New Facility For Ionospheric Physics Research
  • NASA Satellite Captures First View Of Night-Shining Clouds
  • Main Component For World Latest Satellite To Measure Greenhouse Gases Delivered

  • Increase In Creeping Vines Signals Major Shift In Southern US Forests
  • Report Finds Forest Enterprises Stifled By Red Tape, Putting Forests And Incomes At Risk
  • Voracious China Gobbles Up Forests, Recycled Paper
  • Scientists Close In On Missing Carbon Sink

  • Eat A Steak, Warm The Planet
  • Organic Farming Can Feed the World
  • Simulated Crop Provides Answer To Irrigation Issues
  • Russia Seeks Nine Billion Dollars WTO Farm Subsidies

  • New Research Seeks To Enhance Alternative Fuel Integration In Public Vehicle Fleets
  • New York Congestion Plan Hits Bump In The Road
  • Florida To Adopt Tough Auto Emission Standards
  • Economical And Cleaner Cars With Lean-Burn Catalytic Converter

  • Sensors May Monitor Aircraft For Defects Continuously
  • Goodrich Contributes Technology For Environmentally-Friendly Engine Research Program
  • Sukhoi Super Jet: The Great White Hope Of The Russian Aircraft Industry
  • Sarkozy, Merkel To Tackle Airbus Problems

  • Could NASA Get To Pluto Faster? Space Expert Says Yes - By Thinking Nuclear
  • NASA plans to send new robot to Jupiter
  • Los Alamos Hopes To Lead New Era Of Nuclear Space Tranportion With Jovian Mission
  • Boeing Selects Leader for Nuclear Space Systems Program

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement