20 Dec 2007 04:12:35
US energy bill a 'catalyst' for ethanol alternative
The energy bill signed by US president George W Bush is set to drive forward development of low-emissions domestic ethanol made from a source other than traditional corn kernels, according to experts.
Under the terms of the bill that was approved yesterday (December 19th), the blending of alternative fuels such as ethanol into motor fuels must increase five-fold by 2022, Reuters reported.
In particular, the legislation highlighted the need for increased emphasis on the production of cellulosic ethanol, a fuel that can be produced from non-food crops like poplar trees and wood waste.
Carlos Riva, president of cellulosic ethanol company Verenium Corp, told the website: "The whole industry has been waiting for a catalyst like this energy bill that will bring additional finance and funding to build out the commercial sector."
Energy expert Bill Caeser of McKinsey claimed that use of cellulosic processes could increase the contribution made by ethanol to US fuel needs from its current level of three per cent to 16 per cent by 2022.
Cellulosic ethanol also produces 80 per cent less carbon than regular petrol, he revealed, while the corn-based alternative offers a 20 per cent reduction.