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

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cellulosic Ethanol Targets: Mandating the Nonexistent

Consumer Energy Report
Posted by Robert Rapier on Monday, August 15, 2011

Another Year, Another Chapter

In what is becoming an annual ritual, the EPA is once more scaling back the cellulosic ethanol mandate for 2012. The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act mandated that we would use 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2010, 250 million gallons in 2011, and 500 million gallons in 2012. I said quite explicitly from the start that this was wishful thinking, and that there was practically zero chance of meeting these mandates. In one article, I wrote:

The next few years will see a record amount of back-pedaling from most of the companies trying to establish a foothold in this space – and overpromising on their technology to do so. There will be the normal litany of excuses – such as ‘the oil companies are suppressing the technology’ – but in the end the chemistry, physics, and most importantly the capital costs and logistical challenges will catch up with them. Yes, excuses will be made, but those who know a little about the technology will know what really happened.

OK, so the industry is falling short. But how much of the 350 million total gallons of cellulosic ethanol that was originally scheduled to be produced by the end of 2011 has actually been produced? Actual qualifying production of cellulosic ethanol through June 2011 is zero gallons. ZERO.

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