Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chu: Ethanol not the best biofuel

Des Moines Register
Blog post by Philip Brasher • • November 29, 2010

Energy Secretary Steven Chu made a pitch today for using biomass to make synthetic versions of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel rather than ethanol. “Ethanol is not an ideal transportation fuel,” Chu said during a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club. Chu said synthetic fuels don’t require the specialized infrastructure, such as pumps and pipelines, that are needed for ethanol.

Chu side-stepped a question about the expiring 45-cent-per-gallon subsidy for corn-based ethanol. He said that corn ethanol helped show that is a “Americans can drive their vehicles using agriculturally based fuels, but we are primarily focused on developing the new technologies that can supercede ethanol made from starches,” Chu said.

The ethanol industry has been pushing for federal incentives for ethanol pipelines and pumps, arguing that the “drop-in” fuels that Chu is talking about are many years away from being commercialized.

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