US ethanol makers must shift focus to infrastructure

28 June 2011 17:53  [Source: ICIS news]

INDIANAPOLIS (ICIS)--The US ethanol industry must concentrate on developing infrastructure to deliver the biofuel to consumers rather than focus on extending government subsidies, trade group Growth Energy said on Tuesday.

Infrastructure has a higher priority, said Growth Energy chief executive Tom Buis, citing flexible-fuel pump technology as an example.

Buis made his comments at the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW) in Indianapolis.

Along with developing technology, he said the industry needed to continue working on the regulatory front.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authorised ethanol blends in gasoline of up to 15% (E15), but he said the industry is still waiting for the regulator to make a decision on labelling rules.

The EPA allowed the use of E15 for vehicles manufactured in or after 2001, which Buis said makes up around 70% of the US fleet.

Ethanol is competitive, and the industry need to bring the product to those consumers, he said.

Growth Energy downplayed as “primarily symbolic” a recent vote in the US Senate to eliminate subsidies for US ethanol, saying the industry had expected that to happen.

The vote to kill the biodiesel tax credit in late 2009 was a sign to the industry, he said.

The latest Senate bid to eliminate government support for ethanol has failed, Buis said, predicting, however, that the subsidies, which expire at the end of the year, are unlikely to be extended.

The FEW conference opened on Monday. The four-day event closes on Thursday.

For more on ethanol visit ICIS chemical intelligence
Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives in Green Chemicals

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