01 March 2007 17:48 [Source: ICIS news]
ARLINGTON, Virginia (?xml:namespace>
Al Hubbard, director of the White House national economic council and assistant to President George Bush on economic policy, told an agricultural conference that he and Bush met last week at the White House with a dozen top US scientists in cellulosic ethanol and were assured that the 35bn gal/year goal can be met.
In his State of the Union address in January, Bush set the 35bn gal/year goal as the principal element in cutting
However, critics of the goal argue that the president is overly optimistic that needed breakthroughs in cellulosic ethanol production - which uses inedible and widely available agricultural products such as corn stover and switch grass - can be made in time to meet the 2017 target.
Hubbard appeared to dismiss those criticisms.
“Last week the president and I met in the White House with a dozen top scientists and researchers in cellulosic ethanol”, Hubbard said, “and they told the president that this is going to happen, that we will reach 35bn gallons of ethanol production”.
However, Hubbard noted, the scientific panel said it is important that the government continue its role in helping to commercialise cellulosic ethanol development.
He said the Bush administration is doing just that. He cited the announcement Wednesday by the Department of Energy of $385m (€292m) worth of partial funding for construction of the first six
“These six cellulosic plants will be just the first of what will be many, many commercial cellulosic plants across this country,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard told more than 1,600 participants at the annual US Department of Agriculture outlook forum that new enzymes under development soon will bring the cost per gallon of cellulosic ethanol production down to below corn-based ethanol production costs.
“We are confident that we will be successful in meeting the goal,” Hubbard said.
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