Two months behind schedule, the EPA has proposed the targets for renewable fuel use in 2018 — corn-based ethanol in its usual place as the primary biofuel, at 15 billion gallons, and so-called advanced biofuels at 4.24 billion gallons. The agency said it will begin the technical analysis that could lead to a permanently lower mandate for advanced biofuels, which are being produced in far smaller quantities than envisioned in a 2007 law.
Scientists discovered the structure of the enzyme that makes cellulose, potentially opening the path to easier ways to break down cellulose to make biofuels or to modify cellulose to retain dyes more readily in clothing, said Purdue University.
With two more cellulosic ethanol plants to come on line in coming months, annual production of the biofuel should exceed 1 million gallons for the first time in 2014, says the Union of Concerned Scientists. "We still have a ways to go until cellulosic ethanol is as abundant as corn ethanol but with commercial production under way, we are making progress much faster," said UCS's Jeremy Martin on the day Poet-DSM plant formally opened its cellulosic plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa.
Using corn residues - stalks, husks and cobs - to make biofuels appears to create more carbon dioxide over their life cycle than the target set by federal standards, says research at the University of Nebraska.