EPA biofuels rule: calculating the payback

The EPA released a report yesterday that proposes to change the rules of the biofuels game.  The report, titled “Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program,” examines the lifecycle of corn-for-ethanol practices and sets the “payback” period of carbon emissions for corn-for-ethanol fuel as 33 years. The payback period means that at first, corn-for-ethanol practices will be...

Read More

For now, forget biofuels in reserves

Ethanol as the next generation of alternative fuels has stirred significant controversy. While some tout its lower-than-gasoline greenhouse-gas emissions and its usefulness in creating carbon sinks in its agricultural fields, many other ecologists call ethanol production the most inefficient of alternative fuel options. Even the most optimistic scenarios still show that using current technologies, it can take years – in some...

Read More

Policy news update: Budgets, climate, biofuels

With funding from the recent the stimulus bill beginning to trickle down to agencies and budgets for the next two fiscal years on the line, it’s all about the Benjamins these days in Washington. Here are some highlights from today’s issue of the ESA Policy News Update, written by ESA’s Policy Analyst, Piper Corp. 2009 Budget. The fiscal year 2009 omnibus spending bill passed the House in February and the Senate was...

Read More

Cleaner, better biofuels?

The promise of biofuels – fuel made from plant material – has taken a nosedive as scientists predict its generation could cause far more greenhouse gas emissions than it would make up for in preventing the use of fossil fuels.  But a Michigan State chemist has asserted in a paper in Environmental Science & Technology online that if sustainable management practices, such as no-till farming, are put to widespread use, then...

Read More

The battle of alternative fuels

With all the potential sources of alternative energy now being bandied about, how’s a green-minded citizen to really know which technologies to throw their support into? Energy sources from wind and solar to biofuels to “clean” fossil fuel technologies receive major attention in the news. Yet these views are often  propelled by the interests of industry stakeholders, and we also hear that real clean coal technology hasn’t even been...

Read More