February 11, 2009

Alternative fuel interest highest ever

Yesterday, I attended a press conference hosted by BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization) on the launch of a biofuel study conducted by Sandia National Laboratory and General Motors.

In the study, Sandia reported that it is feasible to produce 90bn gallon/year cellulosic ethanol by 2030 to replace one-third of US gasoline demand, which is around 60bn gallons/year. No need to diversify land to grow corn crops; projected capital expenditures of about $250bn will be almost the same as that of future petroleum-related investments of similar magnitude; and infrastructure issues are workable, according to Sandia.

All of those optimistic conclusions of course have to depend on technology advancement of cellulosic ethanol as well as policy incentives. I guess optimism is really badly needed in the ethanol market these days what with the successive news of bankruptcy, plant closing, delayed projects, divestments and slowing R&D (because of tight financing).

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