If only I'd known about this before christmas! Just what we need a 'Women of biodiesel calendar'
Kansas' Govenor. Kathleen Sebelius says she will join other govenors in urging Congress to adopt a national energy policy and user the writing of a new farm bill to boos the production and sale biofuels, according to ECOtality blog.
Sebelius wasn’t specific about her plans, saying her proposals still are being developed. She also said many of the initiatives she will pursue will be administrative actions that don’t require legislative approval.
Sebelius' is committed to biofuels and shows this in her link togas stations selling E85 in Kansass.
Brooke Lowry, who writes the blog suggests:
Sebelius’ interest in ethanal is no surprise in Kansas, a big corn-producing state that sees corn-based ethanol as an economic boost for the state. But her mention of a new “farm bill” to boost the production of biofuels suggets Sebelius, as the governor of a big corn-producing state, wants a national energy policy that favors corn over other source materials for ethanol.
That’s short-sighted and may actually hobble the growth of ethanol as an alternative fuel source rather than acclerate things.
I'd have to agree with Brooke, there needs to be a national debate in the US about which is the right biofuel direction to take in the future. It would be a mistake, as I've argued before here, to peruse the wrong, approaches which may be too water-intensive have the potential to be more environmentally damaging than sticking with oil.
I think this is slightly off the beam, but worth it. One of the bees in my bonnet is energy efficiency.
It is bad enough that the world's largest energy using nation uses spectacularly inefficient autos and lifestyles are based on the idea of inexhaustible supplies of cheap gasoline. But buildings use considerable amounts of electricity, too.
Enter the ifenergy blog and a link to six degrees of energy efficiency, this is part of the six degrees challenge. You can take the Six Apart Quiz, to see how efficient you are win money off vouchers for home insulation products in the US. Have a gander or a duck (look).
I’m starting off on a conversation with Terry Syd in an Australian Biofules Forum about the power of the conventional fuel lobby, and the inability of politicians to get the message that biofuels are going to be important to the future energy mix of that country.
It occurs to me that there is the potential of using some of the big oil’s lobbying to sell biofuels to politicians, and possibly to big oil itself (Ok tell me about using a long spoon and insulated gloves when supping with the Devil). Is that completely mad?
One thing that big oil, carmakers and the great drivng public would want before it got really interested though would be consistency of supply and product. Could producers in Aus and the US supply this? Let me know what you think
Iowa State University is developing a dual-stream, single-pass combined harvester that separates corn stover (stalks, leaves and cobs) from the corn, according to the Energy Blog.
I'm going to the inaugural Clean Fuels Finance Forum, in London on 29-30 January, organised by Euromoney Energy Events.
Highlights of the speaker programme for me should include Phil New, Senior Vice President, Global Fuels Management Group BP chairing the session on weather and political risk, the positioning of biofuels.
The third session on commercialising clean fuel technologies will see John Ranieri, general manager Bio-Based Materials at DuPont speaking along with Wolfgang Steiger, head of Group Research at Volkswagen.
Session five on hedging commodities looks interesting, how do you manage the risk posed by fluctuating commodity prices? I hope to find out. Session Six on landmark biofuel deals will also be worth a visit, I hope.
Adrian, Ohio, will be the home of a new biodiesel plant in June 2007, to be built by Biofuel Industries Group. Biofuel industries plans to spend $20m on the facility, according to Toledoblade.com.
I've just come across a site in german that tells of the need to take it steady on the biodiesel front, don't use to much or you might damage the car, very few manufacturers say its safe to use, (except for VW and Skoda).
If you fancy giving your German a run round the block check out consumerblog.de
Handily, the site also tells you how to find out how to tell if you're putting biodiesel in your tank.
(They put stickers on the pumps!)
From an agricultural vantage point, the automotive demand for fuel is insatiable. The grain it takes to fill a 25-gallon tank with ethanol just once will feed one person for a whole year. Converting the entire U.S. grain harvest to ethanol would satisfy only 16 percent of U.S. auto fuel needs.--Earth Policy Institute
About two days after Democrats in the House of Representatives appeared to be preparing to divert $5bn in to subsidising more biofuel plants in the US, the New York Times has an article predicting that up to 50% of the US corn crop could be used in bioethanol in the future and that grain prices could go interstellar.
The newly installed 110th Congress jumped into Biofuels legislation last Friday, according to a report on ICIS news
(Disclosure: I work for ICIS. About ICIS)
The story by Judith Taylor says
In the Senate, sponsors launched the Biofuels Security Act of 2007, legislation aimed at boosting US consumption of ethanol and biodiesel to 60bn gallons by 2030. The US currently produces about 5.4bn gal/year of corn-based ethanol.
That's going to be an unsustainable amount of ethanol from corn and a clear indication that other sources, such as celluosic ethanol will be expected to fill the gap.
Big Oil has its doubts... According to Judith
the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) said it would not support the Biofuels Security Act, noting that while the bill would require major oil companies to carry E-85 fuel (85% ethanol blended with 15% gasoline) at half their service stations nationwide, there is not nearly enough ethanol or adequate infrastructure to make that policy work.
If the biofuels industry is going to make any difference, it will have to get this key group of people -- with access to the market onside pretty sharpish.
In the House of Representatives, sponsors of the Renewable Fuels and Energy Independence Promotion Act want permanent status for existing ethanol and biodiesel tax credits and incentive programmes, according to National Biodiesel Board. Biodiesel producers said support for permanent status for the $1/gal biodiesel tax credit - scheduled to expire in 2008 - is welcomed. Other industry participants said legislation promoting greater use of biodiesel in meeting the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard would further boost that fuel.
Enzyme companies Syngenta and Diversa Corporation announced today a new 10-year research and development partnership focused on the discovery and development of a range of novel enzymes to convert pre-treated cellulosic biomass economically to mixed sugars.
It would be great if they can pull this a critical step in the process of biofuel production off. The volumes of biofuels that are going to be needed in the future if the results ofrecent US legislation bears fruit will be very large..
It warns that burning coal to fire newer larger plants will significantly reduce the carbon dioxide benefits of using ethanol.
per joule of heat produced, coal releases two to three times as much carbon dioxide as natural gas, and that makes coal-generated ethanol a dubious way of reconciling energy and environmental imperatives.
And it's hard to argue with that. The benefits are reduced further if the corn is shipped any distance of course...
A plan for a 10-acre green-waste facility in South Kohala that could lead to a biodiesel plant was presented last week to the Hawaii County Council.
Plans for the $1.75 million facility, which would be built next to the Puuanahulu landfill, call for backbone infrastructure to allow for green-waste grinding, composting, according to Automobile, the Auto News Press Digest
Emerald Renewable Energy plans to develop four 100 m gallon/year ethanol plants in the Midwestern United States. The newly formed company is considering several potential sites in the Cornbelt.
The firm is a wholly owned private subsidiary of Cargill and will be taking advantage of the firm's existing infrastructure
Scott Portnoy, Cargill corporate vice president with responsibility for its Biofuels and byproducts businesses says:
"Emerald Renewable Energy will have access to Cargill's world-class expertise in trading, sourcing corn, plant construction and operations, risk management and bulk commodity transportation”
It is interesting to see a large integrated player such as this emerge from Cargill. They are going to be going for economies of scale...
Each plant will use nearly 40 million bushels corn/year (about 1m tonne/year) annually and produce 100 million gallons/ethanol (about 37m litres) and over 300,000 tons of dry distillers grains for animal feed each year.
The plant sites being considered include greenfield locations as well as co-locations with Cargill grain elevators and other utility infrastructure providers. The plants are expected to create about 40 jobs per location.
The plants will not be close to the largest markets for gasoline, but they will be pretty big, and are could be close to rail heads. This could make transporting the ethanol they will produce across the states easier and more efficient than trucking the stuff. Of course pipelines would be better, but the capital involved would be pretty steep.
I noticed this about Arnold Schwarzenegger, govenor of Californial planning to cut emissions in his state by 10% . Could be boost ethanol in the state.
The Scotsman (a newspaper based in Edinburgh, Scotland) quoting Reuters says
The European Commission is likely to propose target for the use of biofuels and a mandatory overall target for how much EU energy consumption should come from renewable sources such as wind at a meeting being held in Brussesls today.
It will be interesting to see if the commission decides to speicfiy which types of biofuels... Prescription like that would be a bad idea at this stage, there needs to be a market in ideas for a while at least, so that the best longer term biofuel opton can be found.
The European Union will be outlining its thoughts on the direction of energy policy, which is expected to include quotas for biofuels from about 12:30 CET (about 06:30 EST) today. Follow the highlight to find the link.
The EU has halved its 2020 biofuels target to a 10% substitution in vehicle fuels from 20% after falling short of its 2005 target, according to a report on ICIS News
(Disclosure: I work for ICIS. About ICIS)
Today's announcement that the goal is going to be 10% by that date is a more realistic assessment of where the process which started formally with the 2003 directive, and a lack of coercion has got the EU. Which was, frankly, not very far. Countries, did not start seeing biofuels as being an important part of the fuel mixture until the price of oil started rising last year. So now, the commission says it is promoting the use of biofuels as credible alternatives to oil in transport.
The Commission says:
While most biofuels deliver significant savings in greenhouse gas emissions, it is possible to produce them in ways that do not do this, or that cause other environmental problems.
That could make it harder to use coal to power biofuel processes
The Commission proposes the introduction of an incentive/support system to avoid this and to encourage the development of "second-generation" biofuels.
So we're looking at tax breaks and grants, I'd guess
The Commission says
Several policies can stimulate the use and production of biofuels at European level. Tax exemption is a longstanding form of support for biofuels. Several Member States have also announced the introduction of biofuel obligations. These oblige suppliers to put a percentage of biofuels on the market, providing investors with a safety net and boosting the biofuel industry.
A separate ICIS report says there are over 10m tonnes worth of biodiesel projects currently being built throughout Europe with nearly 3m tonnes located in Spain.
Additionally, over 4m tonnes of new bioethanol capacity was thought to be under construction in November.
I ask the question because I'm sitting in the middle of an exchange on an Australian forum about biofuels, and they're looking for ways of engaging the media and government in the biofuels story. Have you got any thoughts or ideas? I'd love to know.
You can see the thread, but you'll have to join the forum to contribute directly.
A day of questions I'm afraid. This one occurred to me after chatting with my new friend Charlie on Farmers Weekly Interactive. He and his family brew their own in Ireland for use down on the farm and he was telling me that the price has risen dramatically from free 18 months ago to around 20p (30cents)/litre. The good stuff is around 25p (40cents)/litre.
Is he being ripped off? Or has he found a gold mine...
I am indebted to Camp Biche for the idea that rising commodity prices will make you thinner. The argument goes that using more corn for ethanol will reduce the amount of corn syrup available to sweeten US beverages. And this will make people thin. Sounds plausible as long as the soft drinks business doesn't switch to other sugars... Anyway it probably does for any chance of a lipodisel industry kicking off in the US. Thanks to Sustainability blog for that.
Two lots of potentially good news for people. First off, the Big Biofuels Podcast is back! You can check out the show by clicking on the podcast box on the right to hear me, Caroline Howard, Jane Massingham and Nicollette Allen chat about biofuel issues in Europe. (It's a hard life sometimes). We're planning about one a week for the rest of the year so listen out for them. I've re-registered it with Itunes so more details later.
The second addition it the Biofuels Events diary. Let me know what you think, its a beta test of Google's beta test of its diary. If its just too clunky we'll go to plan B (whatever that is).
All the best
PetroChina is to up biofuels output and grow feestocks in China in an agreement with China’s State Forestry Administration to with a 2010 deadline.
(Disclosure: I work for ICIS: About ICIS)
My friend Keith Tan Liming says
The project will span an area of more than 6m acres (24,281 square kilometres) by 2010, it added.
PetroChina will also expand its ethanol capacity to over 2m tonnes/year, or more than 40% of the country’s output, using non-grain feedstock, it said.
It looks to me like they'll be using plants like Sorghum and cassava. The announced increase is possibly part of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commissions's plan to increase China's own biofuel production to 300m tonne/year. This could put greater stress on the country's water resources. Much of these are polluted.
A factory to make ethanol from wood is due to open tomorrow (16 January) in Osaka, Japan, according to Pink Tentacle.
The blog says
Bio Ethanol Japan Kansai, a company established by Taisei, Daiei Inter Nature System, Marubeni, Sapporo Beer and Tokyo Board Industries, is set to begin commercial production of bioethanol made from wood waste. Opening ceremonies for the Osaka plant, which the company claims is the world’s first of its kind, are scheduled for January 16.
Illinois' Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has committed his state further to biofuels by enacting a piece of legislation to requiring state agencies to purchase Flexible Fuel Vehicles that can run on E-85, and diesel-powered vehicles that run on B-5.
House Bill 4137 will increase the number of fleet vehicles that can run on environmentally friendly fuels. The bill also encourages state agencies to purchase fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, according to All American Patriots.
Hat tip to fuelnik.com.
Asian and Pacific leaders are promoting the use of biofuels in an agreement at the Cebu, the Philippines, summit yesterday to help reduce their dependence on conventional sources of energy in Cebu, the Philippines, according to AP.
The Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security was signed by leaders from Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, China and South Korea after a three-hour summit in the central Philippine city of Cebu. It calls for improved energy efficiency and reduced dependence on fossil fuels, while urging countries to expand renewable energy systems and biofuel production.
Hat tip to IF Energy.
Two days after Congress voted to change the US tax regime in favour of biofuels , and especially ethanol, who else wanted bioethanol? Why 37 State Governors in the US , that’s the Governors Ethanol Commission, to you, according to PR newswire, via Biodiesel and ethanol investing
I confidently predict, George W. Bush will announce that he will surf the rising tide of biofuels investment in the US, which he unleashed in last year's state of the Union speech and offer more concessions to biofuels producers in his next state of the Union speech. (I'm potentially going to look pretty silly, here, but let's press on)
He's going to outline some sort of Environmental programme, too. The other questions, which may or may not get answered in that address are:
(How) will he help to speed up the adoption of second generation biofuels technologies? In my judgement that's a Maybe
Will he take account of the effects of diverting considerable amounts of surplus corn from the world market? In my judgement that's a No. I would be surprised if he has a passport.
Will he do anything to make US transportation much more efficient? In my judgement he might, that would be a good way to take some of the wind out of Sen Obama's canter at the leadership.
Will he join Kyoto: In my judgment there's more chance of a pig flying (outside of a Pink Floyd concert).
About half of the ethanol-blended petrol sold in six cities of Hubei province have failed an inspection by the authorities, a spokesman for the Chinese province’s Industrial and Commercial Administration Bureau said on Wednesday, according to a report on ICIS news.
(Disclosure: I work for ICIS: About ICIS)
My friend Keith Tan Liming says
Looks to me like the spirit is willing but there needs to be more education in China about biofuels.
17 samples were found not to have contained ethanol at all, while seven were found to have an octane rating and oxide content exceeding permissible standards, he noted.
Another spokesman from the bureau said that two reasons for this finding could be the higher costs involved in producing ethanol-blended petrol and drivers’ relative unfamiliarity with the product resulting in poorer demand for it.
According to FarmPolicy.com every member of congress now has discovered ethanol.
Clearly prohibition is dead as a political concept in the US. Thank heavens it wasn't anything stronger.
More seriously though, FarmPolicy continues
“Some U.S. officials including some at the Energy Department worry that U.S. farmers won’t be able to grow enough corn to meet higher clean fuel targets.
“Thanks to the ethanol boom, the U.S. corn surplus will shrink to a precarious 752 million bushels — a three-week supply — before this year’s crop is ready for harvest, the U.S. Agriculture Department said last week.
You can also expect soya bean prices to rise as around 10% of the current area of that crop may be switched into corn production to meet the demand for fuel ethanol.
Worth exploring the rest of that post!
Shimadzu has a biofuels testing white paper which is aimed at the biofuels industries. The firm says it has worked with a range of other companies to develop different methods.
Euronext has launched the first futures and options contracts for rapeseed oil, as demand for the main ingredient in the production of biodiesel soars, according to the UK's Daily Telegraph, newspaper
Bill Jones, Chairman of the board of Pacific Ethanol talks about E95 ethanol is a solution for today, not necessarily for tomorrow or the day after... According to Full Disclosure Network.
A flood in Malaysia's Johor province could push the price of crude palm oil up according to the Star on line. That could make biodiesel less competitive
Philiip Brasher in Energy News suggests that theremore ethanol could be produced in the short term than US drivers are able or willing to buyy.
He doesn't talk about the spiking price of corn tho'...
There's lots of biodiesel in Brazil, that's a given. Just how much is shown by this list of biodiesel plant capacities from the government.
I'm going to be asleep when George W Bush gives his State of the Union speech tonight.
Time zones, not delivery.
So to give you the opportunity of seeing how many no brainers I got wrong the other day, here's a link to c-span which should show the State of the Union speech live. There will be a small and insignificant prize for the first person who correctly lists them in a comment folling this post...
John, over in Domestic fuel suggests that one measure of the viability of biofuels is the number of investors that are investing into ethanol in places like Missouri, US. The state saw 15 applications in 2006 compared to 5 in 2005.
I'm not sure if he's saying such a leap in investment is a good thing. There is a danger that 15 may be nine too many, that the extra demand for corn to make ethanol will distort the market in Missouri and that there could be extra land under cultivation, or more intense cultivation, and that could have severe environmental impacts.
Still his site is worth a look...
More clarity is emerging in Emerald's plans for four 100m gal/year ethanol plants in the corn belt with news from Tuscolusa.
Tuscola Economic Development, Inc.(TEDI) said on 23 January
that a new Cargill subsidiary, Emerald Renewable Energy LLC, has identified Tuscola as a potential site for a new 100-million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant. According to TEDI officials, Emerald Renewable Energy would develop a site near Cargill's Tuscola grain elevator on the western edge of the city. The plant would create approximately 40 full-time jobs.
A day after the state of the Union and I have to say that Dubbya he do love them biofuels. Deep in the heart of the State of the Union address he called for
Increasing The Supply Of Renewable And Alternative Fuels By Setting A Mandatory Fuels Standard To Require 35 Billion Gallons Of Renewable And Alternative Fuels In 2017 – Nearly Five Times The 2012 Target Now In Law. In 2017, this will displace 15 percent of projected annual gasoline use.
He do love them farmers too, so 25bn gallons will need a goodly chunk of the corn crop. If it don't send them corn futures a-rising and a-rising, I just don't know what will. I predict happy times for the growers of grain in the US. I predict pricier food too in the US this year
Quoting from the Earth Policy Institute
the grain it takes to fill a 25-gallon tank with ethanol just once will feed one person for a whole year. Converting the entire U.S. grain harvest to ethanol would satisfy only 16 percent of U.S. auto fuel needs.
But I do like
Reforming And Modernizing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards For Cars And Extending The Current Light Truck Rule. In 2017, this will reduce projected annual gasoline use by up to 8.5 billion gallons, a further 5 percent reduction that, in combination with increasing the supply of renewable and alternative fuels, will bring the total reduction in projected annual gasoline use to 20 percent.
Congress should get going on this pronto, in my humble opinion.
Crossing the US on veg oil. Could you spend two months with the same person driving 6200 miles (km) in an old Merc?
Rather them than me... but, then I'm not in love.
They are, of course, blogging it on vegetableoilroadtrip.
One way to stretch corn a little further is to convert the distillers grains that are left after fermentation as a feedstock for diesel, which is a technology that GS CleanTech offers. That company has recently signed an agreement with Central Indiana Ethanol to extract around 1.5m gallons/year crude corn oil from Central Indiana's distillers dried grains after processing.
The number of posts about ethanol has jumped from an average of about thirty/day to over four hundred/day according to technorati today. The interest is driven, of course by the State of the Union and
Europe's biofuels strategy was outlined with a broad brush this afternoon by Andris Piebalgss, energy commissioner in a speech at the eBio General Assembly in Brussels.
The point of departure of this new European Energy Policy, contained in the Strategic Energy Review is therefore a key vision or objective; a benchmark on which to measure progress in re-directing our energy economy to one that will achieve the objectives of sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply. This core objective proposes that we redirect our energy policy to enable the EU to achieve a 20% reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions that it produces by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
the Commission is proposing nothing less than a new industrial revolution in energy policy, increasing the present level of non-hydro renewables – such as wind, solar, pv, biomass, and biofuels - by more than 6 times present levels in about 12 years.
It is truly ambitious, but also possible, with... more biomass for heating, biofuels will need to become a real and every day part of the lives of European citizens.
He explains that:
a minimum and common biofuel target of 10% of the fuel mix by 2020 is necessary for all Member States. Without this, an EU-wide biofuels industry will not develop, because of the need for burden-sharing and the necessity to create a real Internal Market for biofuels.
International trade barriers and subsidies need to be relaxed if the developing world is to fully benefit from biofuels, according to a report on ICIS news.
Disclosure (I work for ICIS.About ICIS)
My friend Mark Watts report is based on data from the International Institute for Environment and Development.
The report's author, Annie Dufey, says
current trade regimes are not fit for encouraging synergies and sorting out trade-offs. She says that any benefits from biofuels trade could be undermined if the sector continues to expand without improved policies and international coordination.
I'm going to give the last word on the State of the Union (for now) to Robert Rapier in his R-squared energy blog.
In President Bush’s State of the Union address tonight, he called for a 20% reduction in our gasoline consumption in the next 10 years. That’s a noble goal, and one that I fully support. For this goal, President Bush deservedly received a standing ovation.
It is a stretch goal and while, there's nothing wrong with that, Robert says, he adds...
Clearly we do not produce enough corn and soybeans to achieve this goal, so the technology that is being counted on is almost certainly cellulosic ethanol. And while cellulosic ethanol has great potential, we need to realistically understand that there is a reason that cellulosic ethanol plants are not up and running today.
Moore's Law has only recently started bumping up against basic chemistry and physics. Production of cellulosic ethanol has been bumping up against these limits for years. I have previously weighed in on the current status of cellulosic ethanol technology, as well as the amount of biomass required for implementation. Clearly the technology is not yet ready for prime time.
It's hard for me to disagree with any of this... I'll go further, it is not wise to try and develop technology as remote as cellulosic ethanol to a schedule.
Commodity trader is advising its users to go long into Soya beans following the dash to ethanol announced by Bush the other night... you can't get away from it at the moment.
"The next couple of years are going to be difficult transition years, but I believe that markets work well and that a certain number of ethanol plants that are being planned at the moment will not be built,” Thomas Dorr, undersecretary of state, told the first Clean Fuels Finance forum.
He added that the US market for agricultural products was changing from one driven by food and annual feed with the addition of biofules as an outlet for farm products.
Key take aways from the second session at the First Investing in Clean Fuels conference
Sam Coxe, executive vice president of Credit Suisse said
There is no sign of mergers and acquisition activity in the biofuels sector, and there is not great deal of interest from big oil in capacity in the biofuels sector. There are a lot of entrepreneurs with between 1 and 4 plants and there could be economies of scale.
The question at the moment is whether to buy or to build capacity.
Jose Xavier of Jeffries & Co says he doesn’t expect the large oil companies to start blending or alliances with biofuel producers until they can prove that they can make their products to consistent quality standards.
Shai Weiss, of Virgin Biofuels suggested that consolidation in the US ethanol market may start in 2007 and his group has capital allocated to take advantage of any repossessions or bankruptcies that may happen next year. It currently looks cheaper to buy capacity than to build. The bioehtanol business is a leveraged bet on the oil price, he said.
As to integration between oil and corn there is a major disconnection between input costs, such as the price of corn, and the price of oil. Ethnaol, though follows oil, to some extent. The price of corn is important t several speakers said because for every cent cheaper you can get it you can save around 18 centrs/gallon on ethanol produced.
In US first generation ethanol, the long term stable ebitda margin (that’s the ratio of a plants’ earnings after interest, taxes depreciation and amortisation to its sales) is likely to be around 25% to mid to high teens this is down considerably from margins of around 35-45% which early players had.
Clean Fuels Finance forum is being held in London from 29 to 30 January.
Chatting over lunch, at the First Investing in Clean Fuels forum, we have to wonder how many more rail tank cars will be needed in the US if all the extra ethanol has to be made and moved around the country and if they can all be built in time. Given the largest one that has moved to date across US rails was 50 000 gal/capacity (and that was a ‘rolling experiment) that would be a further 700 of the monsters.
It ain’t just the corn…that the president will be short of…
An Australian view on the race to biofuels is published in today's Australian newspaper. In a nutshel its a gold rush.
I asked Undersecretary Dorr yesterday at the Biofuels Finance Forum in London yesterday, about the price of corn for 2006 and received a politician's answer. The straight forward Canadian's took the pig by the tail and have been wondering what the effect of diverting corn will be on their pig industry.... they're not exactly wallowing in muck over it and expect that diverting corn in to ethanol will drive up the price of food.
Getting ideas to come takes a good night's sleep (or possibly two) and a series of slightly-off topic conversations is the way I like to reach an opinion, and I've come to a position on ethanol and Bush's State of the Union.
It looks to me like there:
ARE NOT enough rail tank cars, to take the ethanol to market and they won't be built in time;
IS NOT enough nitrogen fertilizer in the US at the moment, so imports are going to have to rise, unless methane from biomass can compete with monster natural gas fed plants outside the US (ho ho ho, no really that's what they're looking at) ;
IS NOT enough real pressure to reduce automotive fuel consumption in the US.
IS NO political will to force US farmers (or European farmers for that matter) compete without a tariff barrier with farmers in the rest of the world for ethanol.
IS NO thought about the effects of diverting corn into ethanol and away from food.
IS TOO MUCH reliance on Second generation ethanol riding to the rescue before the crunch between food and fuel comes in.
But apart from that as far as Bush went on ethanol, I thought his Sate of the Union was pretty good.
Given that reality, political will and the US' belief that it can have its ethanol and eat it, it is perhaps not suprising that Washington State legislature is trying to out Bush Bush.
Hat tip to Radioactive Communist Zombies.
This is one person's view of why ethanol plants are a bad idea. There is a word for this in British english: nimbyism (from Not In My Back Yard). Of course we don't want an ethanol plant in our back yard, (but we don't mind a motor in the drive). Interesting worries about ground water. I guess the good people of Dover are on boreholes.
The backlash is begining against ethanol, it causes smog if it is added to incorrectly formulated gasoline, according to FortWayne.com
Soaring tortilla prices are hitting Mexico's relatively poor population and are leading to attempts at price control, according to Rowland Nethaway, writing in the Waco Tribune-Herald. The price of tortillas was floated in 1999 when Mexico joined Nafta after the government was assured that there would be plenty of US corn, which would keep the price low... now rising food prices are hitting people on the border of the US.
International business consultancy Frost & Sullivan will be holding a dial in teleconference whether there is enough feedstock to fuel the European Biodiesel Market at 3pm GMT.
before the event register at
and await instructions...