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Cellulosic fuel is not economically viable yet, and may never be competitive with other fuels

There’s a storybiofuel on cellulosic biofuels that suggests that despite some small breakthroughs, the industry is nowhere near making a substantial contribution to our future energy needs.  The aim is to produce fuels from waste biological products rather than from food stocks.  Ethanol brewed from stalks and leaves is much more useful to us than ethanol converted from grain.  One company has started shipping renewable diesel made from pine wood chips, and another has announced it will ship 8.5m gallons, but these fall far short of the corn ethanol plants, some of which can produce 100m gallons per year.  Even these are a drop in the ocean of fossil fuels.  Cellulosic ethanol is more expensive than corn ethanol or fossil fuels, and Wallace Tyner, professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University, says cellulosic ethanol will never be cheaper than corn ethanol.  Furthermore, he says there is not enough demand for any kind of ethanol to justify the effort.  The thought occurs that governments were led down a green garden path at vast and unnecessary expense.  Shale reserves have made nonsense of it all, with fuel so abundant and low-cost that other sources cannot compete.  Cellulosic fuel begins to look like yet another dead end on that green garden path.


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