17 October 2007 00:23 [Source: ICIS news]
Bob Dinneen, president of the ethanol trade group Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), told a cellulosic ethanol conference that opponents of the biofuel are using misinformation and distortions about land and water use, deforestation and infrastructure costs in an effort to dissuade federal policymakers from supporting research and subsidies for cellulosic ethanol development.
“The insidious campaign being waged today has very little to do with the feedstock for ethanol and a great deal to do with the loss of petroleum market share that will occur if we are successful” in bringing cost-effective cellulosic ethanol to the fuels marketplace, Dinneen said.
Dinneen said that if opponents of bioethanol succeed, “they will leave us ever more dependent upon petroleum and its environmental and economic consequences”. He compared critics of biofuels with those who question “the growing crisis of global climate change”.
“We need to respond to the hysterical claims about ethanol,” Dinneen said. “And we need to educate people about the technological evolution occurring in the ethanol industry today, where more efficient energy resources, water recovery systems, process technologies and new feedstocks are leading toward a far more sustainable energy future for all of us.”
He conceded that there are legitimate questions about the efficacy of biofuels. However, he said, “We can’t allow the momentum toward a more sustainable energy future to be slowed or derailed while we … dissect every conceivable shortcoming that the marketplace has yet to resolve.”
He called on US policymakers and Congress to endorse an expanded renewable fuels standard (RFS) in federal law “to motivate investment in cellulosic ethanol while providing a strong foundation for existing production to continue to grow”.
Congress is considering legislation that would require use of 36bn gal/year of biofuels by 2022. Under current law,
However, fuel use of bioethanol is expected to reach 7bn gallons this year, and ethanol proponents say a new federal mandate for 36bn gal/year is needed to help sustain current production and advance cellulosic ethanol development.
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