Re: The key is designer enzymes
There are vast amounts of private forest. One of the obstacles to thinning and rehabilitating some tracts is the cost vs. return on a cash flow basis. Except for the plants themselves, little investment would need to be made for wood feed stock for ethanol. The equipment and transport are already available. Chipping is routine. Logs and chips are routinely hauled 100 miles or more for paper and lumber in the PNW. One of the problems of logging is the removal of debris - which is required in many cases (for disease and bug control), so it's burned and then replanted.
There are thousands of acres of irrigated poplar trees out here in the desert that are cut every 10 years or so at 40-50' heights and chipped on the site and hauled off for paper. It's a very intensive operation. Boeing was the originator of large tracts out here.
No more that abengoa is planning on paying for stubble it will always be a salvage type situation. At least until demand increases enough for them to raise pay. There is no way You could raise a crop exclusively to take to abengoa. Last I heard they weren't going to let farmers deliver there. You were going to have to contact through one of there chosen contractors.
Also we are now exporting gasoline.
When Ethanol started we needed a replacement for gasoline. I guess now we don't.
Can Congress actually change the ethanol mandate. I thought this was part of the EPA's clean air act. Didn't Inhofe and several others try to shut down the EPA at the supreme court and failed giving the EPA more power that ever.
Ethanol is here to stay as long as their is demand for it. It might only be a replacement for MTBE, but it will be blended to some extent. Cellulosic based ethanol is a pipedream. I don't see a time when we'll ever be able to mass produce the stuff. I think what one really needs to ponder though is where we are headed rather than where we are now. Electric cars seem to be the wave of the future. At least one auto company believes natural gas is the wave of the future. Here's what we know. Natural gas when converted equally to gasoline costs roughly 50 cents a gallon. 25% of the U.S. electricity is already produced via natural gas. Regardless of whether natural gas takes of directly as auto fuel, it will be a vital part as more and more electricity will be made with it as natural gas is currently cheaper than coal.
When natural gas broke a decade low last week, I bought heavily into the natural gas market around the 2.4 area. First of all, there isn't a lot of risk owning a contract. Second,. the initial margin is just a fraction of what it used to be because natural gas is basically worthless. Whether one believes in peak oil or not, I think over the past decade it has become quite obvious that we cannot continue with where prices currently are. In the past, it took cheap energy for the U.S. to thrive. I don't see why it would be any different now or in the future. Crude oil and ethanol don't fit the future.
Would like to think so, But it's gonna take a serious change of direction in Washington.
There will be a big effort to keep energy expensive------------"to save the environment".