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U.S. Energy and the Need for Sound Policies, Choices

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted December 11, 2014

Opinion: Cellulosic Ethanol May Not Be All It’s Cracked Up to Be

 

Breaking Energy: The EPA has long promoted cellulosic ethanol as the future of biofuels, but technical challenges have kept production far below targets. A recent rule change allows RNG, renewable natural gas, to qualify as cellulosic biofuel even though RNG is not cellulosic, but this helps EPA appear to be meeting their goals.

 

RNG growth has been dramatic and is the lowest carbon vehicle fuel available today. Perhaps the EPA should be promoting a Renewable Gas Standard instead of a Renewable Fuel Standard.

 

In 2013, production of cellulosic ethanol was effectively zero, even though the legislated target volume for 2013 was 1 billion gallons. In August 2013, EPA reduced the target to 6 million gallons, and again reduced the target retroactively to 810,185 gallons, less than 1 million. By all accounts this represents a complete failure of the cellulosic ethanol program. In July 2014 the EPA revised the cellulosic biofuel rules to allow RNG to be categorized as cellulosic.

 

Read more: http://bit.ly/1Ba9pqa

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.