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Posts tagged “cellulosic ethanol”

By Robert Rapier on Aug 29, 2011 with 73 responses

Book and Travel Update, and Some Interesting Stories

Book Update I have mentioned it on here a couple of times, but I am under contract to deliver a book on energy by the end of this year. I initially had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to write, but that has evolved a bit as I started writing. So far, I have turned in three chapters to my editor, and I have several others partially complete. The book is going to be broken down into sections of general information (who uses what, who produces what, how it is produced, etc.), controversies (nuclear power, climate change, peak oil, etc.) and then one on possible energy solutions going forward. I am trying to cover stories from an objective… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 18, 2011 with 35 responses

How to Fix the Broken Cellulosic Ethanol Incentive System

Overview: Mandates, Zero Production, Penalties, and the Failure of the Current System In the previous post, I discussed the annual ritual of rolling back the cellulosic ethanol mandates by 90% or more. For three years running, cellulosic ethanol production will come in far, far short of the mandated target volumes. In fact, of the 100 million gallons mandated last year and 250 million gallons mandated this year, there is still no qualifying production to date. For 2012, the EPA is considering reducing the 500 million gallon mandate to as little as 3.5 million gallons. This is a reduction of over 99%, and should be a crystal clear indicator that this system is not working as intended. But even though product… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 15, 2011 with 85 responses

Cellulosic Ethanol Targets: Mandating the Nonexistent

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… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 20, 2011 with 46 responses

Marginal Land Produces Marginal Biomass

The global potential for energy crops is a topic of great interest, and the media is often filled with reports of the potential for production on marginal land. Indeed, some of these reports go so far as to suggest that a substantial fraction or even all of current global oil consumption could be replaced by energy crops grown on marginal soil. A new study was just released that makes such a claim: Study Estimates Land Available for Biofuel Crops Using detailed land analysis, Illinois researchers have found that biofuel crops cultivated on available land could produce up to half of the world’s current fuel consumption — without affecting food crops or pastureland. The news release goes into some of the… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 28, 2010 with 31 responses

My Top 10 Energy Related Stories of 2010

Here are my choices for the Top 10 energy related stories of 2010. I can’t remember having such a difficult time squeezing this list down to 10 stories, because there were many important energy stories for 2010. It was hard to cut some of them from the Top 10; so hard that I almost did a Top 15. But I made some difficult choices, and offer my views on the 10 most important energy stories of 2010. Previously I listed a link to Platt’s survey of the Top 10 oil stories of 2010, but my list covers more than just oil. Reviewing my list of Top 10 Energy Related Stories of 2009, I see that I made three predictions. Those… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 1, 2010 with 167 responses

Cellulosic Ethanol Reality Begins to Set In

Delusional Mandates It is hard to believe that just a few short years ago, Congress mandated a massive increase in usage of cellulosic ethanol. This was remarkable, because no commercial cellulosic ethanol facilities even existed at the time. But people like Vinod Khosla were busy testifying before Congress that the only thing holding the industry back was more funding, and if they would provide the funding we could replace all of our gasoline consumption with cellulosic ethanol. So Congress mandated  in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act that we would use 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2010, 250 million gallons in 2011, and then rapidly expand to 16 billion gallons per year by 2022. At the time,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 21, 2010 with 121 responses

What’s Really Holding Cellulosic Biofuels Back

There was a recent article in MIT Technology review called What’s Holding Biofuels Back? There is a relatively simple answer to the question that I will delve into below, but the short answer to “What’s holding biofuels back?” is that we placed unreasonable expectations on them to begin with, and they have simply failed to meet those unreasonable expectations. People would think it was unreasonable if Congress mandated a cure for the common cold within 5 years, but they don’t think twice when Congress mandates the creation of a cellulosic ethanol industry within 5 years. Yet either scenario requires technical breakthroughs that are not assured. The article notes that the cellulosic ethanol mandate for 2010 in the U.S. was cut… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 11, 2010 with 52 responses

Five Positive Notes on Next-Generation Biofuels

Here are five positive notes extracted from the USDA report on next generation biofuels.

By Robert Rapier on Jun 7, 2010 with 76 responses

Five Challenges of Next-Generation Biofuels

The USDA has just issued a report detailing the outlook and challenges of next generation biofuels.

By Robert Rapier on Mar 18, 2010 with 101 responses

My Position Statement on a Variety of Energy Issues

Welcome to the new R-Squared! Our goals here are to provide a place to engage in respectful and thoughtful debate about the very important issue of energy. I thought it might be a good idea to summarize my positions on a wide variety of energy issues. Here I will attempt to briefly cover my views on oil, coal, ethanol (cellulosic, corn, and sugarcane), renewable diesel (green and biodiesel), nuclear power, solar power, wind power, and then climate change. I don’t intend to cover a lot of ground explaining my positions in detail; I will save that for future essays. The most important thing to note is that I try to let the data determine my position. But that also means… Continue»