Output of cellulosic ethanol will surge starting in 2013, according to the U.S.' largest corn-based biofuel production firm, Poet LLC.
Poet says 2013 marks the start of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production in the U.S. and predicts its lone facility will "open the floodgates" for the advanced biofuel.

Come 2013, Poet will start producing up to 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year at its site in Iowa. In addition, competitors British Petroleum and Abengoa plan to have their U.S.-based advanced biofuel facilities online by the end of 2013.

Cellulosic ethanol differs from conventional ethanol because it's made mainly from non-edible substances, including corn stover, switchgrass or woodchips. As Poet exec Greg Hartgraves points out, production of cellulosic ethanol is expensive and that means those floodgates need to be helped open with federal monies. Without an energy policy mandating its production, U.S. firms are likely to shy away from the cellulosic biofuel, he said.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 60 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      The governement should not pick winners and losers. Let the industry stand on its own. When the playing field is even, and nobody is ******* money from my wallet for subsidies, then all will be well. With the rising price of food, subsidies driving growers towards fuel production instead of food production steal from us in two ways, directly through government subsides (and remember, all government money, one way or another, comes from the people) and higher food prices.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yea, the gov't should step aside and let OPEC win, right?
        SNP
        • 3 Years Ago
        the govt isnt picking winners and losers. Everyone with a plan for a viable substitute to conventional energies is allowed access to these loans. It's called diversifying from dirty coal and foreign oil. All this money also comes out in loans to be paid back in the long term with higher yields than treasuries and tries to move the economy. On another note, check out your new generation of repubs and see how they want to take down the president by telling all small businesses to not hire anyone until 2012: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/tea-party-nation-responds-hiring-boycott-uproar
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SNP
          They starve children to! And throw old people into the streets! They are in cahoots with haliburton!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Floodgates? 25 million gallons sounds like a huge number but it's equal to about 94 minutes of U.S. gasoline consumption in the current year.
      • 3 Years Ago
      From the article: "production of cellulosic ethanol is expensive" and "U.S. firms are likely to shy away from the cellulosic biofuel" The only question is: Does the energy produced equal the energy required to produce it? That means, at every step in the process, from fertilizer to replenish the soil, to the transport of the raw material, just to name two of the expenses.. Nevermind, the farmer is allowed to make a profit on the raw material... Nevermind, farming is subject to varying weather conditions.. In other words, can the whole cycle sustain itself? If it doesn't, there is absolutely no reason for business to be involved, and the whole operation would run in the negative, and would have to be subsidized by the taxpayer.. Or, by exorbitant prices at the pump.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        It is a net positive energy source, and it keeps becoming more and more efficient every year. It is just another way of taking energy from the Sun (growing crops) or exiting waste streams and converting it into energy (ethanol) so that it can be used in a form that current vehicles can use.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Very interesting. Having various options for green fuel is wonderful, and hopefully we stop relying on Big Oil altogether. Big Oil is receiving so much government-backed funding, why not cut down on oil subsidies and divert them towards clean and green fuel? Juan Miguel Ruiz (Going Green) http://www.GreenJoyment.com
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @GreenJoyment Juan, if you care to check, most of the big money invested in bio-fuel research and alternate energy, is invested by five of the Major Western Oil companies. Smaller Oil companies are even becoming involved in installing charging posts for EV's at service stations. Despite all the hype, there are no real oil 'subsidies' to major oil companies. Oil is a difficult and risky business, and is refined into a myriad of products, not just fuels. Such hugely diversified businesses attract a complex raft of different tax regulations. Oil companies are usually multi-national and like all multi-national corporations, tax obligations and liabilities become very complex, especially within different jurisdictions. But actual 'subsidies' ceased in most western nations a long time ago. that's why when simplistic popularisers politicians propose to "end subsidies to oil companies" , the bills always fail to pass the legislative committee stage because there are no special 'subsidies' unique to the oil industry. Those who hate oil companies, always portray simplistic notions of "good' and "evil' to the production of a resource which created the modern world. Is the gasoline in the ambulance that saves your life evil? It's neither good nor evil, just a product whose era is coming to an end. On the positive side, the Oil industry is the biggest funder of Solar, Bio-fuel and Geo-thermal R&D. The five sisters invest truly staggering sums into these industries. An example would be BP's commitment since 1973 into Solar, which amount to 38% of all the R&D funding for the entire industry. If you want to find a passionate cause to get angry about, research the continuing use of Bunker Oil in shipping. This is the most pollutant substance on the planet!
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Ahoy good, you took the subsidy comment this time. Thanks. The 'advantages on depreciation' thing gets old after a while. Although...people treat the USA as it is the center of the universe. I am curious if other countries might actually REALLY subsidize the oil industry. Like drilling off the coast of Cuba, no one would really care if it wasn't the USA, but, now I am curious...
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @Me Now how the heck does asking if other countries subsidize oil and gas industries get voted down? It's a question - and, if you say that they DO, then you win the argument, and Marco and I have to be quiet.
      PR
      • 3 Years Ago
      No wonder the right wing oil lobby is so intent to kill all ethanol subsidies. With cellulosic ethanol just at the verge of wide-scale commercial viability, this is their last chance at trying to kill the entire ethanol industry before it is too late. This is exactly why we need to support corn ethanol for just a few more years. We need to maintain the market for ethanol fuels that we've taken years to build, so that cellulosic ethanol will have somewhere to be sold. How much ever you might hate ethanol because it is made from corn because it is a food crop, it's time to let it go. Man up and realize that it is a stop-gap feed source on the way towards cellulosic ethanol from non-food crop sources. This IS all part of the long-term plans that have been in place for many, many years now. The long term plan is Ethanol from US corn that caps out at a certain point, then cellulosic ethanol from there forward. This is to be done in parallel with more EV's and PHEV's/REEV's while the electric vehicle market matures, and higher CAFE requirements forcing better efficiency. It is a 3-front attack on our over-reliance on oil for transportation, with each 3 fronts each playing their own major role. It's taken 30 years to build up the ethanol market to this point where cellulosic ethanol can start taking over from corn ethanol, and now we're at the verge of throwing it all away.
        Bill Hicklin
        • 3 Years Ago
        @PR
        "No wonder the right wing oil lobby is so intent to kill all ethanol subsidies. With cellulosic ethanol just at the verge of wide-scale commercial viability," HAH! How to contradict oneself in a single sentence! Subsidies = non-viable. Duh. "This IS all part of the long-term plans that have been in place for many, many years now. yadda yadda" Yes: a plan to assrape the American consumer, forcing him to pay outrageous prices just to fuel a pathetic clown car.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Bill Hicklin
          There is absolutely ZERO contradiction in my statement. Cellulosic ethanol is in it's infancy, everyone knows that. Which is why the current subsidies need to continue until it is fully developed. Killing all ethanol subsidies now would kill cellulosic ethanol in it's infancy. Long-term thinkers understand this. I'm sorry you cannot.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @PR
        It may seem that cellulosic ethanol is getting us fuel from a common and useless substance, but what do you think will happen to farm soils when their major source of organic matter is all taken away? You can't just keep pumping in NPK fertilizers without ruining soil structure and losing your topsoil. As soon as cellulosic ethanol becomes a significant player, its biggest enemy won't be the oil companies, it will be environmentalists.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          Cellulosic ethanol can also be produced from waste stream, industrial by-products, and from crops grown on land that isn't currently used for crops or fertilized in any way (like switch grass). That is one of the huge reasons to transition from corn ethanol to cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol has the potential for far less soil impact than corn ethanol. But if you are looking for a solution to all of our energy problems that has absolutely zero negative consequences, while ignoring all the current negative consequences of relying almost exclusively on oil, you are living in a dream world. There is no such thing a dream solution that is completely devoid of issues that will have to be managed. Waiting for your dream solution isn't going to help us during the next oil crisis.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @PR
        The great thing, as the token Radical Right Wing Extremist, I don't even have to take this one, because I know the 'other sides' views, so why bother? (of course, I say other side, because I have been taught that left wing, green, and other words are really bad - not been taught why though).
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          No, you are wrong yet again. The numbers of folks in the green community who support cellulosic ethanol is very high. But we all get sick and fickin' tired of having to debunk right-wing a-holes who repeat false bullsh!t over and over without regard to fact, reason, or reality. If you think cellulosic ethanol doesn't have deep support in the green community just because a handfull of loud-mouthed right-wing idiots spam EVERY SINGLE thread with mindless stupidity the moment ethanol is even whispered, you need to pull your underwear off your head. If you want to choose to be one of those mindless a-holes who can't tell the difference between signal and volume, be prepared to be shouted down every time you regurgitate your mindless stupidity,
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          EZEE Go F LI C K yourself. Yes, I will shout you down, I will insult you, I will make it just as difficult for you to be here as I possibly can. Because when irrational people like you are incapable of making rational posts, the cost of your own actions is that you have EARNED the insults you receive. What I like is open and rational exchange of ideas about green issues. You like intentionally going into thread after thread and dropping idiotic bombs that often have very little to do with the topic, and are specifically designed to be divisive and to choke out rational discussion. So either grow up and stop hiding behind your "Radical Right Wing Extremist" halloween mask and make rational comments that contribute something, or be prepared to be shouted down every time you post your idiotic "Radical Right Wing Extremist" drivel. You are hurting this community.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Silly EZEE. You view yourself as some singular Radical Right Wing Extremist hero, standing up alone against the hordes. You are full of self-delusion. This website is packed with dime-a-dozen righties who come slumming here with their minds made up to push their agenda, instead of to learn about the green issues that are the topic of these blogs. You aren't that special, and waaaayyy less the hero you fantasize yourself to be.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          shouting down...by your own words, yes yes, that is how to argue. Oddly, all of those despots I listed above, including other forms of socialism, like National Socialsm, used similar tactics. Yet Marco, a rational person for your side, even rattled off the summary thoughts from the various posts. Now, I know you will call him some name, seeing as he disagrees with you(you probably fancy yourself as open minded, someone who celebrates diversity even, when all you care about is skin deep), but all he was doing was summarizing the thoughts of the others. You can go back to your pit of hate, where anyone any everything that disagrees, or does not meet your high standards (haha) is evil in someway. You will get old, die alone, and the world will have been made a worse place due to your existence. People here who disagree with me all the time are good people, and try. 2wheel makes his own electric bikes. You probably think that's evil since they don't run on ethanol. Marco works in his community for electrification of school buses, and has converted his cars over to electric. Another person (forget which) build his own electric cars and posts the designs on the web, and gives the link. I have needled both he and 2wheel to go not production. Yet, your only contribution is hate to all others. Smile PR. here is a challenge. Why not post a few things that make you happy. And 'tears of my enemies' does not count. Just happy things. Kittens...puppies...things that make you enjoy life.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Moronic PR.... Nearly all of the people in this room dislike ethanol, the subsidies, the energy required to produce it. Elitist people such as yourself are so delusional that you feel the need to tell others how to live, how their money should be spent, all the while never considering that your swelled head, could be used to inflate balloons if we could just figure out a fuel efficient way to get the lighter than air out of your giant gas bad of a head. Stalin thought he knew better, with his 5 year plans, Mao thought the same, and what were we left with? 100 million people dead who's crime was to simply disagree, or worse yet, starve due to the horror of those who thought they knew better. You also seem to project oh yourself what you see in others. Me? A hero? Here is a right winger on a green website. By all accounts, I should want dirty air and water! Isn't me being here a start? Or would I simply be another one of the countless millions who would disappear for the simple crime of disagreeing? Go out with your urine soaked brothers and protest, riot, destroy, but let the rest of us live in peace, from your misguided, ill informed, looter philosophy.
        Robt
        • 3 Years Ago
        @PR
        What part of, "It needs subsidies" don't you understand? When it is competitive with oil based products then they'll be welcome to sell every gallon they can produce. Until then, they can keep their hands out of my pockets
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Robt
          Right wing Robot: What part of getting us out of dependence upon OPEC and foreign oil don't you understand. You can keep letting OPEC play around in your front pocket as much as you want if it gives you the jolly's. The rest of us are tired of being violated, and are doing something about it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd be happy start a company to produce anything you want if the subsidy is right. Can we talk?
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      As with claimed EV battey break-throughs, "I'll believe it when I see it on the market." How do we know if this is anything but a boast in order to attract investment capital? We have heard many such boasts only to see them disappear when reality strikes.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Poet is not some little start-up company! Formerly named the Broin Group, Poet LLC enjoys the company of some heavyweight JVC partners such as John Deere Inc and Vanmeer Agricultural. BP and energy giant, (solar,biofuels, Geo-thermal) Abengoa of Spain, are hardly under-capitalised organisations. None of these processes have the potential of the Virent/Shell "bio-forming' technology, but Biofuels are staging a real comeback in R&D investment. I am not a fan of Ethanol, but all over the world vast resources are being spent on resolving the feedstock issues.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Dan, I mean Spec... Wait who?
      Ashton
      • 3 Years Ago
      waste of money. The future is electric...everything (bikes, cars, planes).
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ashton
        Electricity generated by what??? Coal? Nuclear? Biofuel has some interesting possibilities. If we stopped randomly subsidizing this stuff and let the investors spend there money it wouldn't matter if it was a waste of money - it would be the the investors waste of money. Now it's the taxpayers waste of money.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          Steve, So you want the weight of solving all the world's problems to be on the back of private investors? Is that because private greed has such a great track record of handling large social issues in the world?
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          Steve, So you want the weight of solving all the world's problems to be on the back of private investors? Is that because private greed has such a great track record of handling large social issues in the world?
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ashton
        Meh - so many technologies out there right now, it doesn't hurt to keep going on all - to me, Wind seems a bit unreliable, but may as well keep trying - also keep on with the solid state batteries, hybrids, plug ins, pure electrics, these different types of bio fuels... One, or more than one may rise to the top, but right now...keep working! :) Step by step....
      • 3 Years Ago
      Most likely drivers will go for Autogas instead.. Autogas is available right now. Cheaper than gasoline at the pump. Autogas stations are almost everywhere. Does not consist of any edible substances. 90% domestically produced here in the US. Almost any car can be converted to become Autogas/gasoline hybrid at a price as low as $3,000. If people cannot afford 100% electric cars they should go for Autogas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autogas http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/locator/stations/ ff
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        "90% domestically produced here in the US" Not quite. Although it is created in the U.S., the source is mostly petroleum.. which is mostly imported. Autogas is LPG (Liquefied PETROLEUM Gas) http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/energy/nonrenewable/lpg.php Refer to exhibit 6.6
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Reading these comments, three constant adverse themes emerge: 1) Ethanol subsides are are bad because all subsidies are bad 2) Oil companies want Ethanol Production stopped 3) Ethanol is bad because it uses food, and is less efficient than oil Those supporting Ethanol subsidies claim; 1) Ethanol deserves subsidies to assist establishing independence from Opec. 2) Oil companies want to destroy Ethanol 3) Ethanol is environmentally beneficial, and the 'subsidies' are really loans. I don't like Ethanol. I think it's a fairly poorly thought out Oil substitute. However, political and historical circumstances have created the US Ethanol industry . Billions and Billions of investment funds funds have been spent creating the ethanol industry. Ethanol has rural communities dependant on Ethanol . Ethanol can be traded with other ethanol producing nations. It would would be a folly not to continue to support this industry after so much infrastructure has been so expensively created. Ethanol has attracted a great deal of private investment in adjacent industries which would be lost if the industry failed. It's the right and responsibility of any government to provide long term public amenities for it's citizens. I would rather the government enter the market as a purchaser of the product, or as a guarantor for bonds, than pay subsidies. But, where loans are necessary, the government has a mandate to invest tax-payer funds on behalf of the taxpayer as it deems appropriate. Oil companies are not trying to kill the ethanol industry. Oil companies are the largest investors in alternate energy, especially bio-fuels. Are subsidies really bad ? Like all issues the dynamics are complex and strident ideology is unhelpful. Commentators like Dantes, point out the obvious, no liquid fuel is ever going to be as economically efficient as Oil! But, that's the point, Oil is becoming rapidly uneconomic, through depletion. The selfish Baby boom generation need not care, they won't be 'round to see the end of the Age of Oil, but what of the legacy? Do I want to leave my grandchildren a poorer world than I inherited?
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Yay, rationality in a sea of PR! I mean BS....oh wait...redundant,..
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          EZEE back to his irrational mindless bullcr@p again. He wants well thought out rational posts, and then posts idiocy like this. Pull your head out of your @ss EZEE. In thread after thread you intentionally post mindless bombastic stupidity just to piss people off. It is clear that you don't even believe half the thought-free troll-bait stuff you post, and the other half completely fails to be on-topic with the story. Hey, guess what? Your own moronic posts that you specifically design to piss people off, actually work at pissing people off. People like you drive people who are actually interested in green issues away from sites like these. If you want well thought out posts about actual green topics, I've got tons of them on this board dating back for years under my former "Nixon" tag under the old posting system. I've gone back and read your old messages, and it reads like the ramblings of a pre-pubescent grade-schooler. Be be quite frank, you are making this board a WORSE place for people who actually care about green issues. You are making it more difficult for people who care about green issues to share their thoughts about green issues. Is that your goal? If not, take responsibility for your own actions and stop what you are doing.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Federal monies? Yeah, like Solyndra. If cellulosic ethanol is good enough, it can stand on its own. Not like BP doesn't have money to burn. For that matter, Poet LLC, the largest corn based biofuel production firm, has sucked millions or billions of dollars in subsidies from the taxpayer already on the corn ethanol boondoggle. What this story is about is the same. An economically ineffecient fuel source being developed by companies which want government money to make more money and not risk any of their own. Greg Hartgraves of Poet is a professional panhandler.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Drove through Soperton, GA this afternoon--erstwhile home of Range Fuels, a cellulosic ethanol plant supposedly with first-mover competitive advantage and backed by Vinod Khosla of Sun Microsystems famed. This plant was the beneficiary of $159M federal largess but today has gone the way of Solydra--but hey, taxpayer it was a bargin at 4X cheaper than Solyndra.
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