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Friday, 11 October 2013 18:11

Next-Generation Biofuels Are Inching Towards Reality, Gallon by Gallon Featured

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October 11 -- Whatever happened to next-generation biofuels? Made from sources like corn stalks or what straw that don’t compete with food, unlike current biofuels, next-generation biofuels were going to be greener and more efficient than corn-based ethanol, which is still the dominant source of biofuel in the U.S. When Congress passed the 2007 energy bill, it expected the country to be producing over 1 billion gallons of next-generation biofuels by 2013. But the advanced biofuel industry has developed far more slowly than lawmakers predicted, leading the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut the 2013 mandae for cellulosic biofuels to just 4 million gallons—and even that target could be difficult to meet, given that only 142,000 gallons are available now. It’s not that companies don’t know how to make cellulosic ethanol or biofuel from algae. It’s that they’ve struggled to do so cheaply and at a scale large enough to compete with oil. “The technology just hasn’t matured yet,” says Peder Holk Nielsen, the CEO of the Danish biotech company Novozymes, which has been involved in next-generation biofuel research and development for years. “It’s simply been too expensive.”  >>View Article

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