Feedsee Energy : Cellulosic Ethanol : Renewable fuel production that preserves food supply
The Renewable Fuels Standard will mandate production of thirty-five billion gallons of biofuel by 2017, a five-fold increase. In addition, the new Farm Bill will include two billion dollars for funding of cellulosic ethanol plants. The availability of corn starch as an ethanol feedstock is expected to limit production of ethanol to a maximum fifteen billion gallons per year, making a move to cellulosic feedstocks inevitable. To achieve thirty-five billion gallons per year of ethanol production, cellulosic ethanol will be required to fill that twenty billion gallon per year gap as a large part of an overall effort. Cellulosic ethanol addresses the issue of using food such as corn and wheat for fuel. As economist Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute has pointed out, ethanol plants in the U.S. are expected to consume half of the U.S. corn crop in 2008 and this will have a significant impact on the cost and availability of foods around the world. The corn needed to fill a twenty-five gallon tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year. SunOpta's participation in existing cellulosic ethanol projects around the world confirms that large-scale commercial cellulosic ethanol production is viable.