Associated Press posted a story today about a recent government study about the use of biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants. The study showed that these biofuels release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with gasoline.
The article reports:
While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won’t meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.
The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.
Note–the “cellulosic biofuels have received more than a billion dollars in federal support.” That is obscene. America would have a better chance of finding alternative fuels if we allowed private industries to develop them and make a profit from the research.
The article concludes:
Still, corn residue is likely to be a big source early on for cellulosic biofuels, which have struggled to reach commercial scale. Last year, for the fifth time, the EPA proposed reducing the amount required by law. It set a target of 17 million gallons for 2014. The law envisioned 1.75 billion gallons being produced this year.
“The study says it will be very hard to make a biofuel that has a better greenhouse gas impact than gasoline using corn residue,” which puts it in the same boat as corn-based ethanol, said David Tilman, a professor at the University of Minnesota who has done research on biofuels’ emissions from the farm to the tailpipe.
Tilman said it was the best study on the issue he has seen so far.
Alternate fuels are somewhere in our future, but they are not currently ready for prime time. It’s time to get the government out of the energy business, build the Keystone Pipeline and get on with it.