Published Monday 8th August on Independent Science News:
Cashing in on Cellulosic Ethanol: Subsidy Loophole Set to Rescue Corn Biofuel Profits
by Almuth Ernsting.
Synopsis: Essentially all US bioethanol comes from starch originating from food crops. The use of starch and food crops has always been portrayed as ‘transitional’, however, and the stated goal of biofuels has always been to use the whole plant since the starch component is essentially the low hanging fruit. This would mean using cell walls as the primary feedstock since these are the major structural component of all plants. Plant cell walls are much more difficult to turn into ethanol or any liquid feedstock, however, and negligible progress towards the goal of ‘cellulosic ethanol’ has been achieved. Now, by changing the definition of ‘cellulosic ethanol’, the EPA is set to allow corn refineries to benefit from the much larger subsidies available for cellulosic ethanol without them actually making cellulosic ethanol, or even making progress towards it. The definition change will also result in an illusion of biofuel progress.
Almuth Ernsting is Co-Director of Biofuelwatch.