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Legislation introduced in U.S. House to increase number of FFVs and blender pumps

Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) has introduced the Consumer Vehicle Choice Act of 2010 (HR 5633), legislation that requires auto manufacturers to provide consumers with greater choice of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), a step that will help move our nation closer to energy independence. Under this legislation, 50 percent of cars and light-duty trucks in model years 2011 and 2012 must be FFVs, and that percentage rises to 90 percent in model year 2013 and years after. FFVs are vehicles that can run on gasoline or a blend of up to 85 percent ethanol (E85).

“Americans need more choices at the pump, and those choices can begin with the cars and trucks they drive. By requiring that auto manufacturers produce vehicles that give Americans greater choice of fuels, we will help reduce costs for consumers and bring the nation closer to energy independence,” Herseth Sandlin said.

Herseth Sandlin has also joined with U.S. Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE) to introduce the Consumer Fuels Choice Act of 2010 (HR 5632), which would provide grants to defray the cost of adding blender pumps to U.S. gas stations.

“Blender pumps are a key asset in the fight for a clean energy future,” said Brian Jennings of the American Coalition for Ethanol. “The smartest action we can take to move toward energy independence is to introduce flexibility into the fuel system, and this can be done best through a combination of blender pumps and flexible fuel vehicles. Consumers deserve the right to choose their own fuel instead of living under a decades-old requirement for 90 percent petroleum in every gallon. We applaud Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin and Congressman Smith for taking action on this important issue, and for their leadership in ensuring that American consumers have a greater array of clean, renewable fuel choices in the near future.”

New Ethanol Fact Book highlights benefits

According to a new report by a broad coalition of industry, government, and non-profit groups, producing fuel ethanol in the U.S. generates jobs and wealth by processing domestic resources into clean-burning transportation fuels. Thousands of jobs, increased farm income, and tax receipts in the hundreds of millions of dollars flow from the ethanol industry while displacing costly and polluting petroleum imports.

Published by the Clean Fuels Development Coalition and distributed through the Ethanol Across America campaign in cooperation with the Nebraska Ethanol Board, the Ethanol Fact Book addresses the ethanol tax incentive, energy security and oil import reductions, economic impacts and benefits to the U.S. Treasury, greenhouse gas reduction and environmental benefits, and advancements in cellulose conversion technologies. Developments in flexible fuel vehicle production and high level blends are also addressed.

Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, said the Ethanol Fact Book covers only part of ethanol’s many positive contributions.

“The ethanol industry has created thousands of jobs and over $63 million in tax revenue right here in Nebraska,” Sneller said. “This is a success story that’s been repeated all over the U.S. as the Ethanol Fact Book makes clear.”

The new Ethanol Fact Book is available through the offices of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, the Nebraska Ethanol Board, or at

Energy crops growing on seawater

Energy crop company Ceres, Inc. announced that it has developed a plant trait that could bring new life to millions of acres of abandoned or marginal cropland damaged by salts. The company says results in several crops, including switchgrass, have shown levels of salt tolerance not seen before.

Ceres reported that its researchers tested the effects of very high salt concentrations and seawater from the Pacific Ocean on improved energy grass varieties growing in its California greenhouses. Energy grasses, such as sorghum, miscanthus, and switchgrass, are highly productive sources of biomass, a carbon-neutral feedstock used for both biofuel production and electricity generation.

"Today, we have energy crops thriving on seawater alone," said Richard Hamilton, Ceres President and CEO. "The goal, of course, is not for growers to water their crops with seawater, but to enable cropland abandoned because of salt or seawater effects to be put to productive uses."

Currently, there are over one billion acres of abandoned cropland globally that could benefit from this trait and others in Ceres' pipeline, including 15 million acres of salt-affected soils in the U.S. The company now plans to evaluate energy crops with its proprietary salt-tolerant trait at field scale. If results are confirmed, biofuel and biopower producers will have more choices for locating new facilities, gaining greater productivity on marginal land and displacing even greater amounts of fossil fuels.

Chief Scientific Officer Richard Flavell said that Ceres' salt-tolerant trait could provide significant benefits to food production, too. In conventional plant breeding, breakthroughs in one crop have little bearing on another crop. However, by using techniques of modern biology to develop traits, researchers can duplicate this trait much more easily, and extend the benefits from energy to staple food crops.

New report predicts ag and bio-based industries could generate billions

A new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) was unveiled at the recent BIO World Congress which concluded that converting biomass into fuels, energy, and chemicals has the potential to generate upwards of $230 billion to the global economy by 2020 – the majority of which will be in the U.S. Authored by professor Sir David King of Oxford University, the report also found that with expanded large-scale biorefinery production, dependence on fossil fuels could be dramatically reduced. The World Economic Forum commissioned the report entitled “The Future of Industrial Biorefineries.”

By the year 2020, the biofuels market alone is estimated to more than triple by 2020, with combined sales of $95 billion , and the demand for biomass to generate heat and power is expected to more than double. Also, bio-based products are estimated to accumulate $15 billion in revenues, and bio-based chemicals are expected to grow significantly and increase its share in overall chemicals production to an estimated nine percent of all chemicals. According to the report, production of biomass within the farm gate is estimated at $90 billion – the largest business potential in the value chain .

According to data provided by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), today’s developing biorefinery industry accounts for more than 40,000 jobs in the U.S. Commercialization of cellulosic biofuels is expected to create 800,000 new jobs (190,000 direct new green jobs, and 610,000 indirect new jobs) in the U.S. by 2022 alone. Achieving the biorefining industry’s full potential could create tens of thousands more new jobs within the next five years.

© American Coalition for Ethanol, all rights reserved.
The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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