Friday, April 25, 2008

Texas wanting exemption from biofuels mandate

Saw this today on the Wall Street Journal's site. We're (Texas) trying to be exempted from the Federal mandates of producing 36 B gallons of biofuels in the next decade and a half. The problem, and yes it really is a problem, is that first generation biofuels compete with too many precious resources, namely: food, water, and land.

In particular, the competition with food has been making headlines lately, and we're not immune to this in Texas. The price of feed is going up, which translates to higher costs down the line. Creating fuel from food isn't a smart practice. While the mandate to increase biofuels production is nice, at it's current state, it's not working out.

This is not to say biofuels are a bad idea. I wholeheartedly believe that 2nd and 3rd (yes, we're already talking about those) biofuels will be the interim solution for transportation. Feedstocks such as cellulose for ethanol and algae for pretty much everything (biodiesel, ethanol, JP8, hydrogen,..) will be important in the next few years.

Contrary to what Mr. Dickerson of EERE said yesterday, I believe that food vs. fuel is a real problem, and I laud Gov. Perry for taking this on. This may be one of the few times where I actually agree with Gov. Rick Perry. Go ahead and quote me on that. He was Ag. Commissioner at one time, so it would make sense for him to be on this.

For once it's not California raising a big stink about Federal programs.

1 comment:

M. King Hubbert said...

I read an article about Perry's request for exemption (dallasnews.com). The following caught my eye:


Critics of Mr. Perry's request noted a recent Texas A&M University study that said relaxing the ethanol mandate wouldn't significantly lower corn prices.

Rising energy costs are the "underlying force" behind higher corn prices, the report said, adding that "corn prices have had little to do with rising food costs."

"He's ignoring the findings of his state's own university," said Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association, a Washington-based lobbying group.


Perhaps we all need to review this A&M study, and other similar studies, that perhaps take a neutral stance on this issue.