The New York Times has provided a story on the future of advanced biofuels, using a plant under construction in Kansas as the centerpiece. The plant, near the western Kansas town of Hugoton, produces cellulosic ethanol. Instead of using kernels of corn as input, the plant uses material like corn stalks and wheat straw. When the Hugoton plant starts operations in May, it will be twice as large as the largest plant currently in operation.
A few notes:
The lede of the story: “There is an old joke in the energy business that advanced biofuels are the fuel of the future, and always will be.”
The legislation requiring the use of advanced biofuels (Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007) was the product of a Republican administration.
The executive vice president of Abengoa complains that the government is changing the rules.
Experts are not convinced of the potential of cellulosic ethanol plants to be economically viable.
A Canadian biofuel company wants the EPA to create regulations requiring the use of its product, and to provide incentives.
The Kansas cellulosic plant has received a $134 million loan guarantee from the Energy Department, the same type of benefit the notorious Solyndra company received.