Don’t Single Out Ethanol on Land-Use Changes, Says Trade Group Chief

Posted on May 7, 2009. Filed under: Advanced Biofuel, Field-to-Pump | Tags: , , , , |

Don’t Single Out Ethanol on Land-Use Changes, Says Trade Group Chief

By Kate Galbraith

Green Inc.

May 7, 2009

 

Bob Dinneen, the president of the Renewable Fuels Association, an ethanol trade group, stopped by our New York offices today to discuss recent moves by the Obama administration that offer both good and bad news for the industry.

On Tuesday, the administration moved to provide loan guarantees and other financial help to struggling ethanol producers. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a more comprehensive way of measuring the carbon impact of ethanol that that puts the industry in a lesser light.

According to Lisa Jackson, the E.P.A. Administrator, the ethanol industry currently produces 16 percent fewer emissions than gasoline — short of a requirement of 20 percent. This 16 percent tally factors in “indirect land use,” in accordance with the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

That means that in addition to weighing the carbon emissions from fertilizer and tractor fuel, the E.P.A. accounted for the idea that corn grown for ethanol in this country displaces food crops, driving the expansion of agriculture — and the loss of precious, carbon capturing forest land — elsewhere on the planet to compensate for the lost food and feed supply.

Mr. Dinneen emphasized that his group was perfectly willing to factor in such indirect land-use changes. But he expressed concern that biofuels are the only industry for which this calculation is made. Petroleum, for example, does not factor in land use changes — and besides, he said, “Where’s the carbon impact associated with development in suburbia?”

“They can’t just do it to us and not to everyone else,” he argued.

Mr. Dinneen welcomed the comment period that will follow the E.P.A.’s proposals, and said that the ethanol industry believed that adjustments on the land-use front are needed.

“Right now, I think the model is too uncertain, the assumptions are out of whack and it needs to be promulgated more fairly,” he said.

On the subject of cellulosic ethanol — a fledgling but more climate-friendly type of ethanol made from non-food sources like stalks or switchgrass — Mr. Dinneen expressed doubts that federal requirements for the country to use 100 million gallons of the fuel next year would be met. No commercial-scale plants are currently operational in this country, although a few are being built, with a Range Fuels plant in Georgia being perhaps the furthest along.

“One hundred million gallons in 2010 is going to be a challenge,” Mr. Dinneen conceded. The 2011 target of 250 million gallons, he said, is “probably also going to be hard to meet.”

 

About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

Advertisements

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

    About

    Renergie created “field-to-pump," a unique strategy to locally produce and market advanced biofuel (“non-corn fuel ethanol”) via a network of small advanced biofuel manufacturing facilities. The purpose of “field-to-pump” is to maximize rural development and job creation while minimizing feedstock supply risk and the burden on local water supplies.

    RSS

    Subscribe Via RSS

    • Subscribe with Bloglines
    • Add your feed to Newsburst from CNET News.com
    • Subscribe in Google Reader
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Subscribe in NewsGator Online
    • The latest comments to all posts in RSS

    Meta

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: