US ethanol needs second-generation success story - GM

22 February 2011 01:26  [Source: ICIS news]

PHOENIX, Arizona (ICIS)--US ethanol needs a second-generation success story in order to fend off critics and encourage customers, a General Motors (GM) executive said on Monday.

Speaking at the National Ethanol Conference, Mark Maher, executive director - power train and vehicle integration for GM, gave his viewpoint on what the ethanol industry needs to thrive.

“The industry needs a second-generation success story,” he said, adding the biofuels industry is facing “pundits on many fronts”.

He said: “From fuel versus food [to] indirect land use, energy balance and other arguments abound, some based on fact, others not.”

Maher said the official target for second-generation ethanol in 2011 was 250m gal (946m litres), but the latest projection for this year was around 6m gal.

Economic conditions, the E10 ethanol “blend wall” of 13bn gal/year and technological factors had prevented the emergence of a commercial scale second-generation production facility, Maher said.

“However, we really need this,” Maher continued. “We need a second-generation, 100m [gal] a year plant operating at full capacity and that would go far in taking the wind out of pundits, encourage auto makers to enhance FFV [flex fuel vehicle] offerings, improve …capital, strengthen policy and support and excite customers.”

The 16th annual National Ethanol Conference continues through Tuesday.

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By: Brian Ford
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