Ethanol infrastructure or drop-in biofuels? Congress debates

April 11, 2011 |

In Washington, the USDA says it expects ethanol refineries to be co-located near feedstock sources as new non-corn based technologies become commercially available, helping to break the concentration of ethanol production and availability in the corn belt.

At the same time, the Des Moines Register is reporting that Sen. Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is expressing concerns that blender pump and flex-fuel car mandates wouild discourage the development of drop-in biofuels.

“We should not go so far in locking our infrastructure into ethanol that we prevent different, and perhaps even better, renewable fuels from coming to market in the future,” Bingaman was quoted in the Register’s report. In testimony last week before the committee, the Department of Energy and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers disagreed over the cost of flex-fuel cars. AAM put the cost at $100-$300 per vehicle, while the DOE estimates the cost at $50-$100 per vehicle.

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