Biofuel: cellulosic ethanol between uncertainties and hopes

Report of the "Cellulosic Ethanol Summit"

Since it was mentioned in President Bush's January 2006 State of the Union address, cellulosic ethanol has received particular attention from the federal administration, Congress, industry and the scientific community.

Although there is not yet a commercial-size biorefinery in the United States producing biofuels from cellulosics and organic waste, initiatives by the Department of Energy, universities and state legislatures are increasing to create pilot and demonstration facilities. In February 2007, the DoE awarded $ 385 million in grants for the creation of 6 pilot units of cellulosic ethanol.

All the players in the cellulosic ethanol sector - farmers, scientists, politicians, manufacturers, etc. - gathered in Washington for a Summit on Cellulosic Ethanol. This conference was an opportunity to take stock of the progress of the sector and the perspectives of the various actors involved.

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Contents of this document:

1. Has ethanol-corn eaten his white bread?
1.1. The limits of cereal ethanol
- Environmental limits
- Material and economic limits
- Short-term tensions induced by overcapacity

2. Cellulosic ethanol: the new frontier?
2.1. Upstream: the logistical question
2.2. At the process level: industrial diversity and technological barriers
- A wide variety of industrial models
- Industrial based on enzymatic processes
- Industrials relying on non-enzymatic processes 2.2. Enzymes in the front line 12 2.3. At the level of investors: prudence 13 2.4. At market level: mistrust 14 2.5. At the federal level: a lack of visibility 15
- The Energy Policy Act and the action of DoE 15
- The Farm Bill 16
- Reluctance of EPA 16

Source: ADIT - French Embassy in the United States. Download the report

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