“Is that true” Your spouse said that just the other day…”
Bagasse, not bad gas.
Ethanol from biomass has certain advantages. Chiefly, the feedstock can include agricultural or urban wastes, pulp and paper sludge, etc., which can have less associated environmental, social and economic impacts than corn. Cellulosic ethanol facilities can derive fuel from lignin waste streams, part of the process itself, which can reduce costs for steam and electricity.
Seemingly without a regard for certain externalities, “Rufus“, a.k.a., The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, set a required production level of 36 billion gallons of annual renewable energy use by 2022. Corn ethanol is the main biofuel on the market, but demand for ethanol competes with corn’s availability as a food, and rising ethanol consumption could lead to higher food costs. Thus, Federal regulations also mandate that 20 billion gallons of biofuels must be produced annually from non-corn biomass by 2022.
Green Car Congress reports that an US private equity firm, specializing solely in investments in ethanol, wants “the first major sugarcane ethanol refinery in the continental United States, in the Imperial Valley of California.”
The ethanol produced there will meet California’s low-carbon fuel standard. The project will cost $575 million and produce 66 million gallons of ethanol annually, enough electricity to meet the needs of 35,000 homes, and enough biomethane to heat 10,000 homes per year. Sweet sorghum, which has similar characteristics to sugarcane, will also be used.
There will be strong demand for ethanol from the refinery because the ethanol produced will meet stringent low-carbon fuel mandates imposed anywhere in the US.—Scott Brittenham, CEO of Clean Energy Capital
Other states are considering adoption of the same low carbon fuel standard as California, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
The business model locks in prices with long-term contracts for the sale of the ethanol to a major international oil company and the purchase of the sugarcane from local farmers. This will provide greater stability in profit margins, according to Clean Energy.
States such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, where sugarcane can be grown, are prime locations for building sugarcane ethanol refineries, Clean Energy says.
While Big Oil, and the governments it owns, are not known for thinking about the future of life on the planet as we know it, we want to trust that those that feed us: “salt of the Earth” farmers — consider such issues. Unfortunately, Agri-Business As Usual And Above All Else) has a great deal of political influence.
Even before recent elections it had been unlikely that our Congress critters might admit that they made a mistake with their COB (Cruise On Booze) policy. Now we can expect to see more efforts to incapacitate EPA enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
Image: Liberty Pundits
“Think Tuesday was bad? Wait ’til Republicans get to redraw the electoral map,” says Nick Baumann.
GOP victories in Tuesday’s midterms weren’t limited to House and Senate races. Across the country, voters elected new Republican governors and more than 650 new state legislators. In most states, winning the “trifecta”—the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature—gives a party full control over district-drawing. Republicans have achieved that in 14 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. (They’ll also control the process in New Hampshire and North Carolina, where they control both chambers and the governor plays no role in redistricting.) The GOP hasn’t controlled this many state legislatures since 1928.