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President Obama supports ethanol in “Rural Tour” radio interview

The Obama Administration’s “Rural Tour” kicked off on July 1, with top government officials, including Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, touring various cities to discuss how communities, states, and the federal government can work together to strengthen rural America.

To launch the event, President Obama spoke in-depth about the future of biofuels with Michelle Rook, Farm Director for Yankton, South Dakota’s WNAX Radio.

President Obama voiced his support and high expectations for renewable fuels. “I think it’s going to be critical. I think there’s huge potential around biofuels,” he said. “Ethanol has been a big boon to a lot of rural communities.”

Looking to the future, Obama expressed the importance of expanding production of next-generation biofuels. “How can we use wood chips, refuse, switchgrass, and the whole other set of biofuels standards, and how can we improve the efficiency of first generation biofuels?” he said. “Farmers are going to be critical to that entire process.”

Speaking of Brazil’s extensive use of ethanol blends, the President said, “If Brazil can do it, there’s no reason we can’t do it.”

A link to the complete radio interview can be found online at ACE’s blog,

Novozymes featured in 2009 core list of top sustainable businesses

In its “ Progressive Investor” newsletter, has released the 2009 Sustainable Business 20 (SB20) List, highlighting businesses that are leading the world with innovative, sustainable models and practices. This year, Novozymes made its sixth appearance on the list in the last seven years and its second appearance in the “Core List” of recognized businesses, those that have been on the SB20 list four or more times.

“We are delighted to receive continued recognition for our contribution to sustainable and bio-innovative solutions,” said Novozymes head of sustainability development, Stig Pedersen.

“Gigaton Throwdown” aims to reduce CO2 emissions, create millions of jobs

B efore national policymakers and analysts o n June 24, clean energy CEOs, venture capitalists, and academics unveiled the “Gigaton Throwdown,” a report aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 5 to 7 billion tons and create more than 5 million jobs by 2020.

The ambitious statement identifies seven industries – biofuel, nuclear, solar, geothermal, wind, building efficiency, and construction materials – as capable of achieving this goal over the next 10 years by combining science, technology, and policy to create jobs and save energy in the United States.

The report cites several examples of how to achieve this goal, including establishing a flat price on carbon emissions; setting more stringent renewable energy, efficiency, and fuel standards; and fixing the market for efficiency upgrades by reforming utility and building regulation.

Created as an initiative to educate and encourage business leaders to think big, the Gigaton Throwdown is a collaborative effort between leading researchers at University of California Berkeley, MIT, University of Michigan, Stanford, Drexel University, and clean tech leaders.

Report shows ethanol lowers emissions, improves environment

A new report from the Clean Fuels Development Coalition (CFDC) finds that corn ethanol can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 20 percent. The report, “Environmental Impacts of Ethanol Production,” found significant gains in ethanol production efficiency, reducing water, electricity and energy consumption all by more than 20 percent since 2001.

Contrary to the critics who claim ethanol increases GHGs by indirectly causing deforestation elsewhere, the report cites a study that shows only one percent of deforestation in the Amazon was caused by large-scale commercial agriculture from 2000-05.

“Ethanol is getting more efficient, more economical, and more environmentally friendly to produce,” said Todd Sneller, Administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “Oil will continue to become more expensive and wreak more environmental damage while taking an economic toll on the U.S.”

The full report can be read online at

Cellulosic ethanol makes racing debut

Infusing 10 percent cellulosic ethanol into its V-Power race fuel, Shell brought cellulosic ethanol to the racetrack for the first time at a June 13 auto endurance race in Le Mans, France. Shell says the cellulosic ethanol has up to 90 percent fewer lifecycle CO2 emissions than gasoline. Iogen Energy Corporation, a partner with Shell, produces the ethanol at a demonstration plant in Ottawa, Canada.

This was not, however, the first time biofuels have been used at the race. For the second year, Shell is blending BTL (Biomass to Liquid) into its Shell V-Power Diesel race fuel together with the GTL (Gas to Liquid) component. The BTL is made from wood chips and is produced in collaboration with Choren Industries in Germany.

EPA extends comment period for Renewable Fuels Standard rulemaking

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended the comment period 60 days on the planned revisions of the Renewable Fuels Standard program. To provide the public with ample time to give meaningful reactions, the EPA will now receive comments until September 25, 2009.

The revisions would greatly increase production and standards of renewable fuels. Consult for more information and instructions on submitting comments.

2009 corn acreage, conditions up from previous estimates

Despite volatile weather and economic conditions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported in June that U.S. corn growers planted 2 million acres more than previously estimated this season. In this annual acreage report, USDA anticipated that the 87 million acres of corn planted will generate a harvest of 80.1 million acres.

The USDA found an increase not only in acreage of corn, but also in the condition, stating that 72 percent of the U.S. corn crop was in good or excellent condition, compared to 61 percent at this time last year. The report does not discuss corn yields, but the June estimate of 153.4 bushels per acre could mean a production of nearly 12.3 billion bushels, the second-highest harvest ever.

Ethanol industry loses two visionary leaders

The U.S. ethanol industry has lost two long-time leaders this past month in Kathy Bryan and Raphael “Ray” Katzen. Kathy Bryan, president and co-founder of BBI International, passed away on July 11 after a 14-month battle with cancer. She was the co-owner and principal visionary behind the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo, and the editor-in-chief of Ethanol Producer Magazine.

Ray Katzen passed away on July 12 at the age of 93. He was one of the founding members of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, and had a vision for “Project 20,” the goal of producing 20 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2020. Ray began what is now KATZEN International in 1953.

Our thoughts and prayers go to their families, friends, and many colleagues. Look to the next issue of Ethanol Today for more on the lives of these ethanol visionaries.

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