How corn ethanol will fare under new energy bill

Following the passage of the Senate energy bill, what's the future of corn ethanol in the U.S.? We already know that the marketplace is not too keen on corn ethanol these days, thanks to a glut of the stuff. According to this article in the Chicago Tribune, corn ethanol's declining role will be hastened by the bill - in favor of ethanol made from the non-edible parts of the corn cob and other cellulosic feedstocks. As Tribune reporter Joshua Boak writes, "Of the 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels ordered for vehicles by 2022, 21 billion would come from biomass diesel and cellulosic sources that are still under development." That's almost 60 percent of the expected biofuel. Good news for, as Boak says, creating "commercial opportunities for finding new ways of unlocking ethanol from a harvest's remainders, reinforcing a young industry that views its chief adversary as big oil." There are plenty of companies already trying to make cellulosic ethanol in a commercially-viable way (Range Fuels and Mascoma, for example), and if this legislation can make that happen sooner, you can trust it will shift the ethanol debate once again. E85 haters get ready.

[Source: Joshua Boak, Chicago Tribune]

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