28 April 2009 17:18 [Source: ICIS news]
(Recast for clarity)
By William Lemos
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--California’s announcement last week that corn-based ethanol provided no environmental benefits compared with gasoline dealt a blow to the biofuel, but critics should not rush to the conclusion that the ruling spells doom for the US ethanol programme.
In fact, it does not, and the case for using biofuels may be stronger now than it was a week ago before the ?xml:namespace>
What a lot of ethanol critics missed is that, although
The use of low-carbon biofuels in the state will more than quadruple by 2020, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) said during the presentation of the LCFS.
In other words, the message trend-setting
But even that claim remains open for discussion, and the
"We are disappointed with the board's vote," said retired general Wesley Clark, co-chairman of Growth Energy, a lobbying group that represents the
"This was a poor decision, based on shaky science, not only for
Growth Energy claims
“….the decision puts another road block in moving away from dependence on fossil fuels and stifles development of the emerging cellulosic industry," the group said in response to the ruling.
Growth Energy was not alone in its defence of corn ethanol.
According to Cassman, CARB researchers failed to include estimates of energy efficiencies in new ethanol biorefineries that initiated production on or after January 2005.
These recently built facilities now represent more than half of total
With the newer plants included, direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from corn ethanol are estimated to be equivalent to a 48-59% reduction compared with gasoline, a study by the
Cassman said he did not believe
“We are not a grandfathered industry,” the producer said, adding that some ethanol producers are investing a lot of money to make older facilities more energy efficient.
The debate on the feasibility of corn ethanol will rage on, but the verdict has only minor relevance at this point.
The reason is rather simple. The
While second-generation ethanol is already being produced (the kind
In the meantime, the
The alternative to this is continued dependence on fossil fuels, something the
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