Chu: "We have only just begun to realize the benefits of homegrown fuels"

The American political landscape is fraught with trouble and support for biofuels, but the overall shift is towards getting more and more of them in our fuel supply. That's a takeaway point from U.S. DOE Secretary Steven Chu's videotaped address to the National Ethanol Conference held in Phoenix, AZ recently. Most pointedly, Chu said, "We have only just begun to realize the benefits of homegrown fuels

Chu has previously said all vehicles in the U.S. should be E85 capable but that "corn is not the right crop for biofuels." Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said at the conference that "Chu's [negative] comments about our industry have been misconstrued." Dinneen called for debate on the following comprehensive reform proposals to keep support for biofuel production going in uncertain economic times, according to Ethanol Producer Magazine:
  • Changing the market-based incentive to a refundable producer tax incentive.
  • Changing the incentive so it only applies to mid-level ethanol blends and E85 as well as to fuel produced above the renewable fuels standard requirements.
  • Shifting the incentives away from biofuel production and to blender pumps and flex-fuel vehicles.
  • A carbon-based performance credit that is "favored by environmentalists."
  • A variable tax incentive.
[Source: Ethanol Producer Magazine | Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images]

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