Biofuels Quote of the Day

"I don't believe there's a man, woman or child who believes the industry can hit" the EPA's 2010 biofuel blending targets, says Bill Wicker, spokesman for Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.
From a long WSJ article covering the recent troubles of the biofuels industry and in particular the sad and apparently fraudulent case of Khosla-backed Cello Energy. Cello was apparently supposed to supply 70m gallons of plant-fiber-based ethanol in 2010 (70% of the second-gen biofuels mandate) when it was discovered that their process, well, didn't actually work, and they were shipping fossil diesel instead.

Here's a graph showing investment in U.S. biofuels over time and it's not a pretty picture, particularly with second-generation biofuels not yet over the hump to commercialization.

Update: Via Environmental Capital, biofuels appear to have lost out to natural gas in the latest $300m DOE grant for alternative transport systems. CNG is a decent clean-burning transportation fuel which has successfully reached scale in a few countries (notably Argentina, Brazil, and Pakistan), but I worry that this development reflects the cheapness of gas, which is unlikely to last. But T. Boone Pickens will be happy.

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