US ethanol mandate is a massive step

Monday, 14 January, 2008

In a ground-breaking move that will reverberate to Australia, President Bush has signed the energy bill which requires a five-fold increase in the use of transport fuels — most of which will be ethanol.

By 2022, American vehicles will be using 36 billion gallons (about 140 billion litres) of ethanol-blended fuel every year — almost 25% of the country’s annual total transport consumption.

The bill also requires that after 2015, the emphasis will switch from corn to the expanded use of cellulosic ethanol, which is produced from feedstock including urban, agricultural and forestry waste collectively known as biomass.

BBI International, the world’s biggest biofuels service company, has applauded the bill which was this week overwhelmingly approved by Congress 314 votes to 100.

The director of BBI Biofuels Australia, Bill Elliott, described the legislation as an historic turning point for the renewable fuels industry.

“It will cut demand for foreign oil and promote non-fossil fuels which will reduce greenhouse gases linked to global warming,” he said.

“Australia is riding the crest of an ethanol wave. NSW has mandated the use of ethanol-blended fuel and Queensland has set a policy of blended ethanol by 2010. I remain confident that the new Rudd Federal Labor Government will join its state counterparts and turn its attention to an ethanol mandate so things can really get moving in this country.

“The Americans have raised the bar enormously as they strive for long-term energy security. Australia, which is taking ever-lengthening steps towards a biofuels future, must take the lead and speed up the ethanol process.”

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