Not So Fast

Chimpy’s energy proposals seem to have little relation to reality.

The U.S. government’s top energy forecaster said on Wednesday that fuel ethanol production in a decade will fall short of what President George W. Bush says is needed to help cut America’s oil imports.

In his State of the Union speech to Congress last month, Bush said the country should increase its production of ethanol and alternatives fuels to 35 billion gallons by 2017.

But, after detailing his agency’s take on future U.S. energy supplies to lawmakers, Guy Caruso, the head of the federal Energy Information Administration, told reporters: “We don’t have the (Bush) goal in our outlook.”

The EIA is the independent analytical arm of the Energy Department.


Caruso said the EIA predicts only a “minimum amount” of cellulosic ethanol production in 2017. The agency forecast sees 94 percent of U.S. ethanol supplies in a decade still made from corn, 2 percent from cellulose and 4 percent coming from imports, which are typically derived from sugar.

One thought on “Not So Fast

  1. Independant of the Administration, the ethanol and biodiesel growth curves have been very dramatic as co-ops and the big grain companies rush to take advantage of multitudes of tax breaks. On the bio-diesel side there are somthing like 80 facilities under construction. The industry is essentially doubling capacity every year. The bean and canola (rapeseed) crush (bio0diesel) and corn grind (ethanol) is already placing increasing price pressure on the grains. The problem is we will not have any spare grain capacity within the next two or three years to convert into fuel.
    Unless everyone decides to become vegetarian, we will run out of feed stock for the bio-fuel industry. A lot of research is currently underway to expand production; microbial bugs to digest cellulose, genetically modified crops to yeild more oil, remove crops from CRP, refine corn oil from dry mill ethanol process, replace wheat with rapeseed (canola), working with algea, and improving yeild from animal fats.
    Bio-fuels can help a bit, but I recall the upper limit for biodiesel with current technology is in the order of 2% of total diesel fuel consumed in this country. (Estimates are that the industry could meet 25% of diesel demand with technological breakthroughs.) If the technology is figured out, the capacity will grow. This is the best thing to happen to rural America since the tractor.
    What will happen is the industry will be shortly overbuilt, the small and innefficient processors will go belly up, and the big guys (Cargill, ADM, Con-Agra, Bunge, etc.) will pick the better ones up for pennies on the dollar, and the industry will consolidate.

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