Many livestock producers are hoping that cellulosic ethanol development will eventually help reduce the demand for corn and thereby lower its cost. However, development of this next generation biofuel is late getting started.

For one thing, there isn’t a commercial-scale plant in operation making ethanol from cellulosic materials — mostly crop residue and other types of plant cellulose. Economics of cellulosic ethanol production inhibit progress as do transportation and storage of the huge amounts of biomass needed.

The pace for construction of the new biorefineries will have to increase to meet federal mandates according to an analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency. The first two plants are needed by next year and by 2013, 10 plants will be needed, each having a production capacity of 40 million gallons per year.

Iowa State University’s Bioeconomy Institute predicts that Iowa will lead the nation in production of cellulosic ethanol by 2022. However, the alternative fuels mandate was made when oil was $150 per barrel and Robert Brown, director of the Bioeconomy Institute, sees obstacles ahead for compliance. 

Read more about cellulosic ethanol from the Des Moines Register.

Source: Des Moines Register