Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
1 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
Cellulosic Ethanol Aff.....................................................................................................................................................1 Plan..................................................................................................................................................................................2 IAC--Contention ___ Solvency 1/3................................................................................................................................3 ## Inherency ##...............................................................................................................................................................6 T: Substantial...................................................................................................................................................................7 Inherency: Current Incentives Fail 1/5............................................................................................................................8 ## Solvency ##..............................................................................................................................................................13 USFG Key 1/2...............................................................................................................................................................14 Incentives Solve 1/3......................................................................................................................................................16 R&D Solves 1/4............................................................................................................................................................19 Automaker Incentives Solve.........................................................................................................................................23 Insurance Solves...........................................................................................................................................................24 Loan Guarantees Solve.................................................................................................................................................25 AT “Only Theory/Not Viable” 1/2................................................................................................................................26 AT “Enzyme Cost”........................................................................................................................................................28 AT “Energy Negative” 1/6............................................................................................................................................30 AT “No Refineries”.......................................................................................................................................................36 AT “No Cars”................................................................................................................................................................37 AT “Water”....................................................................................................................................................................38 ## Advantages ##..........................................................................................................................................................39 Clean Development.......................................................................................................................................................40 Economy.......................................................................................................................................................................41 Hydrogen.......................................................................................................................................................................42 Landfills........................................................................................................................................................................43 Gulf Dead Zones 1/2.....................................................................................................................................................44 Oil Dependence 1/5.......................................................................................................................................................46 Oil Dependence 2/5.......................................................................................................................................................47 Oil Dependence 3/5.......................................................................................................................................................48 Oil Dependence 4/5.......................................................................................................................................................49 Oil Dependence 5/5.......................................................................................................................................................50 Pump Prices...................................................................................................................................................................51 Small Farms..................................................................................................................................................................52 Soil Erosion...................................................................................................................................................................53 Trade Deficit.................................................................................................................................................................54 Trade Wars 1/2..............................................................................................................................................................55 Warming 1/5..................................................................................................................................................................57 Warming: Carbon Sequestration...................................................................................................................................62 ## Disadvantage Answers ##........................................................................................................................................63 NU: Government Signals Now 1/3...............................................................................................................................64 AT “Backstopping”.......................................................................................................................................................67 AT “Brazil”....................................................................................................................................................................68 AT “Corn Ethanol Bad” 1/3..........................................................................................................................................69 AT “Deforestation”........................................................................................................................................................75 AT “Food Prices” 1/2....................................................................................................................................................76 AT “Food Prices”--Link Turn........................................................................................................................................79 AT “Food Prices” – No Link 1/3...................................................................................................................................80 At “Food Prices” – Corn Trade-Off..............................................................................................................................83 AT “Food Prices” – Not Unique....................................................................................................................................84 High Food Prices Good.................................................................................................................................................85 AT “Monoculture”.........................................................................................................................................................86 AT “Spending”..............................................................................................................................................................87 AT “CP: Renewable Fuel Standard”.............................................................................................................................88
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
2 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
[Draft] The United States federal government should substantially increase research & development, demonstration projects and commercialization incentives for cellulosic ethanol in the United States
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
3 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
IAC--Contention ___ Solvency 1/3
[Insert Peak Oil advantage from the Oil Toolkit !!!] Current incentives for fellulosic ethanol are too small Space Daily 2008 [June 6, lexis]
Today Congress overrode the Presidents veto of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the Farm Bill. The new legislation includes a significant clean energy development component -improved and new programs for wind power, advanced biofuels, energy efficiency, solar power and new energy crops for cleaner energy from Americas farmers, ranchers and rural businesses. We thank the Agriculture Committee leadership for their support of a stronger Energy Title in the face of an extremely difficult budget environment, said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center. These programs are good for all Americans -- they are a win-win-win for our energy security, environment, and economy. The new Energy Title received $1.04 billion in mandatory appropriations in the 2008 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill also includes $348 million in new tax credits to spur production of advanced cellulosic biofuels to help cut our nations dependence on imported oil. While the Farm Bills overall funding falls short of need, it is a good start towards addressing pressing national energy concerns. The improved and new clean energy programs in the Energy Title include: + Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP funding has been more than doubled and improves the Farm Bills successful Section 9006 clean energy development program for locally-owned wind power, energy efficiency, solar energy, and other clean energy projects ($255 million over four years). + For the first time, REAP now includes Energy Technical Assistance funding to help farmers save money, improve margins and reduce fuel use. + Biorefinery Assistance. Grants and loan guarantees to help build advanced biorefineries; critical to jumpstart advanced biofuels production ($320 million). + Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). A first-ever energy crop program to help encourage farmers to grow sustainable energy crops such as switchgrass ($70 million). + Repowering Assistance. A new program, Rural Repowering, assists boilers at biofuels plants to burn energy crops instead of coal, cutting pollution and creating new markets for energy crops ($35 million). + Advanced Biofuels. Production incentives for advanced biofuels ($300 million). + Biomass Research and Development. New investments for biomass fuel and power research and development ($118 million). The Energy Title will also improve the federal biobased markets procurement and biodiesel fuel education programs. The legislation also includes several other programs for which Congress could not provide funding in the Farm Bill, such as a new program to curb fertilizer costs and fossil fuel burning by using wind and other renewable energy instead. Supporters of these programs now look to the Appropriations Committees for potential funding. The new Farm Bill also includes $348 million in new tax credits to help jumpstart environmentally preferable cellulosic ethanol production. America needs new domestic, sustainable energy. Leadership of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees should be commended for providing these new clean energy incentives, said Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate for ELPC. In all, these new programs are a good start, said John Moore, Senior Attorney for ELPC [the Environmental Law and Policy Center]. There is much more that can yet be done to help solve rural Americas energy challenges, and we urge Congress to strengthen these programs with additional funding in the coming years, before the next Farm Bill.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
4 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
IAC--Contention ___ Solvency 2/3
Fortunately, the plan solves. R& D, demonstration projects & commercialization incentives make cellulosic ethanol cost competitive Greer, Contributing editor to biocycle and researcher specializing in green business and alternative energy, 2005
(Diane, Biocycle, “Creating Cellulosic Ethanol: Spinning Straw into Fuel,” april 2005, http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0505/enews_0505_Cellulosic_Ethanol.htm/, 6/29/08). There is a growing consensus on the steps needed for biofuels to succeed: increased spending on R&D in conversion and processing technologies, funding for demonstration projects and joint investment or other incentives to spur commercialization. "If you do not do all three of these pieces, the effort is likely to stall," said Greene. "The challenge is to be really focused and make the commitment to make biofuels a part of our economy. We need to make these technologies work." There is also agreement on one of the main factors impeding the development of biofuels - inadequate government funding. "We are grossly under investing in this area," says Dechton. "We are piddling along at 30 or 40 million dollars per year. This is a national security issue." Sheehan agrees, adding "the other problem is over the last several years Congressional earmarking has been horrendous. It is splintering critical resources, as a result effectiveness is way down. We do not have well aligned, consistently directed R&D effort." The "Growing Energy" report calls for $2 billion in funding for cellulosic biofuels over the next ten years, with $1.1 billion directed at research, development and demonstration projects and the remaining $800 million slated for the deployment of biorefineries. Other advocated subsidies and incentives for the industry include production tax credits, bond insurance for feedstock sellers and biofuels purchasers and efficacy insurance. "We would like to see private insurance but lacking private sector involvement, government should offer the insurance," said Greene. "The idea has two features, the amount of money available goes down over time, so by 2015 the industry is ready to stand on its own two feet and, second the dollars available to developers is in a menu format. We will let them pick subsidies that work best for their product." Given sufficient investment in research, development, demonstration and deployment, the report projects biorefineries producing cellulosic ethanol at a cost leaving the plant between $.59-$.91 per gallon by 2015. The price range is dependent upon plant scale and efficiency factors. At these prices, biofuels would be competitive with the wholesale price of gasoline. In the past, discussions regarding ethanol as a potential replacement for gasoline have centered on the availability of suitable land in addition to a feed versus fuel debate. Technological and process advances coupled with the promise of biorefineries are allowing us to refocus the debate. Scenarios exist where well directed public policies emphasizing biofuels investment and incentives in addition to fuel efficiency could promote a transition to cellulosic ethanol. Given the right policy choices, America's farmers could one day be filling both our refrigerators and our gas tanks.
We avoid the oil crunch. Cellulosic ethanol can replace three quarters of US oil consumption Hall, 2006 (Kevin, Inquirer Washington Bureau, The Philadelphia Inquirer “The Struggle to Quit Oil”, Februaury
28th, pg. C 01) Bush also backs cellulose-to-ethanol technologies. Corn-based ethanol production is expected to reach six billion gallons next year; researchers estimate a maximum production potential of 15 billion gallons per year. That is about 12 percent of the projected 120.4 billion gallons of gasoline that the Energy Department estimates Americans will consume annually in 2025. Hardly independence. But mass production of biologically engineered enzymes that can break down virtually any plant fiber for conversion to ethanol offers hope. Add these to the mix, and suddenly ethanol's production potential leaps to 100 billion, approaching levels needed for independence. "I think it's very doable. But it depends on whether policymakers provide the incentive to get it done," said Georg Anderl, director of operations for Genencor International, a biotechnology company in Palo Alto, Calif.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
5 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
IAC--Contention ___ Solvency 3/3
Incentives are key to commercialization Bullis, Nanotechnology and material science editor for Technology Review, 07 (Kevin, Technology Review/MIT,
Will Cellulosic Ethanol Take Off: With help from the Government it just might, February 26, http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=biofuels&id=18227&a=, 6/29/08) Cellulosic ethanol, a fuel produced from the stalks and stems of plants (rather than only from sugars and starches, as with corn ethanol), is starting to take root in the United States. This month, Celunol, based in Cambridge, MA, broke ground on an ethanol plant in Louisiana that will be able to produce 1.4 million gallons of the fuel each year starting in 2008. Other companies are moving forward as well with plans to build plants. But experts from industry and environmental groups say that without loan guarantees and other incentives, the nascent industry will fail to emerge from the current demonstration phase to produce commercial-scale quantities of ethanol. And without that, it may be impossible to meet President Bush's ambitious goal of producing 35 billion gallons of renewable fuels a year by 2017. Cellulosic ethanol is attractive because the feedstock, which includes wheat straw, corn stover, grass, and wood chips, is cheap and abundant. Converting it into ethanol requires less fossil fuel, so it can have a bigger effect than corn ethanol on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Also, an acre of grasses or other crops grown specifically to make ethanol could produce more than two times the number of gallons of ethanol as an acre of corn, in part because the whole plant can be used instead of just the grain. That's good news because many experts estimate that corn-ethanol producers will run out of land, in part because of competing demand for corn-based food, limiting the total production to about 15 billion gallons of fuel. (Already, corn-ethanol plants--existing and planned, combined--have a capacity of about 11 billion gallons.) The greater productivity of cellulosic sources should eventually allow them to produce as much as 150 billion gallons of ethanol by 2050, according to a report by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). That's the equivalent of more than two-thirds of the current gasoline consumption in the United States.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
6 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
## Inherency ##
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
7 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
We meet: the plan is a substantial increase McCarl, Professor for the Department of Agricultural Economics, Uwe, Research associate for Texas A&M University, 2008
(Bruce A., A., Review of Agricultural Economics, “U.S. Agriculture's Role in a Greenhouse Gas Emission Mitigation World” www.jstor.org/stable/1349934, 1/07 Acessed on 6/30/08) Carbon emissions can also be offset by converting corn or other cellulose laden products into ethanol substituting for petroleum. Again this would recycle the majority of the GHGE from fuel use. The economics of ethanol has been investi- gated for more than twenty years with almost all results indicating a substantial subsidy is required to make it competitive with petroleum. Tyner et al. investigated the question in the late 1970s. More recently Jerko derived ethanol production costs between $1.20 and $1.35 per gallon. Production of fossil fuel based gasoline costs only about $0.60 per gallon. Using the difference between Jerko's price and the gasoline price and an average carbon content of 0.616 kg carbon per gallon of gasoline (U.S. DOE 1998b), average abatement costs range between 142 $250 and $330 per ton carbon. Figure 5 shows ethanol based carbon emission reduction costs derived using the data in Jerko.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
8 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
Inherency: Current Incentives Fail 1/5
More incentives are necessary Runyon, Managing Editor of Renewable Energy World, 08 (Jennifer, Renewable Energy World, " The Future of U.S. Ethanol Production: Where Do We Go from Here?" 6-19-8, http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/story?id=52828, 6-29-8)
Of course there are still barriers standing in the way of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production. Vonnie Estes, new venture development manager of biofuels at DuPont Applied Biosciences pointed out some of them in her presentation, "Economically Viable Conversion of Cellulose to Ethanol." She indicated that the government should be investing more money "on the cultivation, harvest, transport and storage of the feedstock," pointing out that without more investment or incentives in these areas growers will not be willing to take the risk and start growing the necessary feedstocks.
Further incentives necessary Pierce, Vice President Dupont Applied Biosciences, 2008, [John, CQ Congressional Testimony,July
10, lexis] We also think it is in the national interest to help further accelerate the development of cellulosic biofuels. There are a number of things Congress can do in this regard. You can help to ease the financing risk of new biorefineries, such as through loan guarantees and accelerated deprecation. There is also a significant need to develop the know how and infrastructure for growing, harvesting, transporting, storing and processing cellulosic feedstocks, as this remains one of the least developed areas for this emerging technology. The Farm Bill made progress in these areas. Continued federal encouragement to growers and further R&D attention to cellulosic feedstocks would be very beneficial. That being said, we think the current policy framework provides a sound basis and is helping to develop a robust biofuels industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to improve this framework over time while avoiding sudden changes that would disrupt our path to broader use of biofuels.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
9 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
Inherency: Current Incentives Fail 2/5
Farm Bill Insufficient Gillam, Reuters Staff Writer, 2008
(Carey, Reuters UK, “More incentives needed for cellulosic ethanol”, 06-17-08, http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKN1628195820080617, accessed 06-30-08) SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - The U.S. government needs to ante up more in loan guarantees to convince lenders to back commercial development of cellulosic ethanol, Verenium Corp Chairman Carlos Riva said on Monday. Riva said the 5-year U.S. farm law enacted last month was a good start in boosting cellulosic technology, which aims to produce large quantities of ethanol for fuel from switchgrass, crop residues and other plant cellulose wastes. Ethanol in the United States is now mostly made from corn. The new farm law provides $320 million in loan guarantees for the next two years for construction of cellulosic refineries. But an additional $150 million may be allocated if lawmakers are able to find the funding. But Riva said a moderately sized plant costs more than $150 million, so more guarantees are needed if the fledgling industry is to meet a renewable fuel standard goal of producing 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2022. "They need to give a helping hand ... so the commercial lending industry can get involved. To meet the mandate ... we need a greater focus, more support," Riva said in an interview on the sidelines of the BIO International Convention. "It's going to be very difficult to convince a commercial bank to take the technical risk associated with the new technology," he added. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Verenium operates one of the nation's first cellulosic ethanol pilot plants. It is in the start-up phase of a larger facility in Jennings, Louisiana, that would produce 1.4 million gallons of ethanol a year. Verenium refines local feedstocks, including sugar cane bagasse and specially bred high energy sugar cane. The company hopes to build six or more 30-50 million gallon ethanol plants by 2001, at a cost of roughly $200 million each. Verenium is scouting sites in Florida, Louisiana and Texas. Verenium is talking to potential corporate partners about equity for its planned projects, expertise to source and manage its feed stocks, and marketing and logistics. "There is a lot of interest," said Riva. "A lot of major corporates are starting to show an interest in this." The company will know later this year if its economic projections -- a goal of producing ethanol at a cost of $2 a gallon or less -- are achievable immediately. "We thought that was competitive with corn-based ethanol at $4 a bushel," Riva said of corn costs. But corn prices have surged since 2005 and on Monday corn prices at the Chicago Board of Trade rose above $8 a bushel for the first time amid flooding in the U.S. Corn Belt. Cellulose for ethanol has gained interest due to increased worries about U.S. reliance on foreign oil, oil prices above $130 a barrel, and a backlash against corn-based ethanol from livestock feeders and foodmakers blaming ethanol for soaring corn prices and food inflation. Besides the loan guarantees to construct biorefineries, the new farm law includes a tax credit of $1.01 per gallon of cellulosic ethanol, allots $300 million for payments to encourage larger output of advanced biofuels, creates a program to help farmers establish perennial biomass crops, and sets aside money for research into biofuels. "The farm bill was terrific," Riva said. "It gets past the debate about what kind of advanced biofuels we should have. They have eliminated a lot of uncertainty. We have to find alternatives for liquid fuels."
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
10 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
Inherency: Current Incentives Fail 3/5
Current Cellulose policies are ineffective Morris, Advisor to the energy agencies of Presidents Ford, Carter, Clinton and George W. Bush, 06
(David, “The Strange Legislative History of the Cellulosic Ethanol Mandate” December 4th, http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/reinsider/story?id=46712, accessed on 7/9/08) Then, at the last minute, Congress seemed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The Conference Committee added a sentence to Title XV, Section 1501 that expanded the legal definition of the term "cellulosic ethanol". "The term also includes any ethanol produced in facilities where animal wastes or other waste materials are digested or otherwise used to displace 90 percent or more of the fossil fuel normally used in the production of ethanol." The addition was the result of a single, well-connected entrepreneur who is constructing an ethanol plant fueled by methane generated by the digestion of manure produced in a nearby cattle feedlot. This single sentence changes everything. The average person reasonably would assume that a cellulosic ethanol mandate requires the production of ethanol from cellulose. That was clearly Congress' objective. But the new definition allows a corn-derived ethanol to be defined as producing cellulosic ethanol if waste materials supply 90 percent of the ethanol facility's energy needs. Waste materials already fuel several ethanol plants. Several new plants may adopt a similar strategy of substituting lower cost cellulosic wastes like wood wastes for high priced natural gas. Indeed, it is quite possible that by 2008 or 2009 at the latest, the nation will meet its Congressionally-mandated 2013 deadline for producing 250 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol, without actually deriving a single gallon of ethanol from cellulose! Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relied on the offensive sentence to draft regulations that would add insult to injury. The EPA argued that since the sentence in question contains the phrases "waste materials" and "otherwise used", waste heat from a fossil fueled boiler or power plant should qualify. If EPA's recommendations become final, a corn-based ethanol plant fueled by the waste heat from a coalfired power plant will be considered cellulosic ethanol plant for purposes of the mandate. This is preposterous. But it is simply a consequence of the confusion sown when Congress added this sentence at the 11th hour. The first order of business when Congress reconvenes should be to delete this debilitating sentence. If it does not do so, the mandate is dead. Which means Congress will have to achieve the goal by enticing cellulosic ethanol producers with substantial financial incentives. That could prove quite expensive for taxpayers and might end up rewarding larger companies with good political access. If Congress proves unwilling to make the needed changes, we will have to plead with the EPA to do the right thing when it issues its final regulations.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
11 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
Inherency: Current Incentives Fail 4/5
2007 Energy barely saved Ethanol but farmers aren’t expected to reach their target and even if they did, it will hardly effect petroleum use. Philpott, founder of Maverick Farms, a sustainable-agriculture non-profit and small farm, 08
(Tom, Grist, “Cellulosic ethanol: not likely to be viable,” March 3rd, http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/3/3/125745/7746, date accessed: 6/29/08) They start by calculating that without the latest round of goodies -- i.e., the fat "Renewable Fuel Standard" of the 2007 Energy Act -- cellulosic ethanol (and biodiesel, too) would have withered away. In that scenario, corn ethanol would keep ramping up from the current level of about 7 billion gallons, pushed by high oil prices and the $0.51/gallon tax credit that's existed for years. Here's what they say would have happened by 2022, if the 2007 Act had never happened (economists lay out their conditional, speculative scenarios in the simple present tense): The corn ethanol sector expands until total production exceeds 18 billion gallons per year. Biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass are not viable in this scenario. Cellulosic ethanol never expands, and the biodiesel sector contracts so that there are no biodiesel plants operating in the long run. They add a bit that I found particularly devastating: "These results suggest that [without the 2007 Energy Act], once the opportunity cost of land is taken into account, rational farmers will not grow switchgrass or soybeans for biofuel production, and rational investors will not build these plants." Believe me, that thing about "rational" farmers and investors is strong stuff, coming from conventional economists. Now, what happens when we account for the 2007 Act's hefty mandate? Current production, almost all from corn, stands at about 7 billion gallons. The act demands 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022, of which 15 billion comes from corn, and the other 21 billion gallons comes from cellulosic (and to a much less extent biodiesel). The authors seriously doubt the cellulosic target can even come close to being met. They reckon that the mandate can inspire "rational" farmers and investors to churn out 4.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2022 -- but there's a catch. In order to reach even that level, the government will have to significantly jack up the tax credit awarded to mixers -- from the current 51 cents to $1.55. The message is this: Even with the fat 2007 Act mandate, cellulosic ethanol can only offset a tiny amount of petroleum use -- and then only if it's borne aloft by titanic amounts of public cash.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
12 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
Inherency: Current Incentives Fail 5/5
Status quo funding for Cellulose is directed at large facilities—excluding over half all facilities. Gantz, Energy/biofuels trade “unbiased” reporter formally for Renewable Fuels News, 2005
(Rachel, Renewable Fuel News. Vol. 17, Iss. 28; pg. 1, 2 pgs Houston: Jul 18,”CELLULOSE COMMUNITY UP IN ARMS OVER LANGUAGE IN ENERGY BILL” http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=872781911 &sid=2&Fmt=3&clientId=10553&RQT=309&VName=PQD Accessed through ABI Infrom on July 3, 2008) While Congress is moving forward with its energy conference to reconcile differences between the House and Senate energy bills, a controversy is forming in the cellulosic biomass community over an initiative that may unfairly advantage larger projects. Language included in the Senate-passed energy bill would provide loan guarantees for cellulosic biomass and sugar-based ethanol projects, but only if the facilities produce a minimum of 30 million gal/yr-more than double the size of the majority of planned cellulosic facilities. The initiative was included in the bill at the request of Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Chairman James Inhofe (R-OkIa.), as well as other "multiple, bipartisan interests," according to EPW spokesman Bill Holbrook. But he could not provide an answer as to how the 30 million gal/yr figure was agreed to, only saying "[i]t's in our national interests to have lower fuel prices, and a larger, commercial-size facility will help contribute to that." Other sources see the influence of politics at work. In the same section of the Senate energy bill as the loan guarantee, there is language appropriating $4 million/yr "for a resource center to further develop bioconversion technology using low-cost biomass for the production of ethanol at the Center for Biomass-Based Energy at the Mississippi State University and the Oklahoma State University (OSU)." OSU is in Inhofe's home state."This is politics at its worst," said Doug Durante, executive director of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition. Its Hawaii chapter, Clean Fuels Hawaii, is working on several cellulosic projects. "This couldn't be more discriminatory and more blatant," he told RFN. Hawaii implemented a rule in September 2004 calling for at least 85% of gasoline in the state to contain 10% ethanol by April 2005 (see RFN, 9/27/04, pi). No ethanol is produced in the state, but all the plants planned for the state will use sugarcane (cellulose) as their feedstocks. The planned project capacities range between 7-15 million gal/yr, meaning none would qualify for the 30 million gal/yr loan guarantee. For the language to "exclude all but those in the 30 million gallon category is punitive to our program and many other promising technologies nationwide," Clean Fuels Hawaii wrote in a June 22 letter to Sen. Daniel Akaka (DHawaii), who is a member of the energy conference. The letter explains that in a previous version of this year's Senate energy bill, the loan guarantee program was included, but the minimum requirement was set at 15 million gal/yr. Clean Fuels Hawaii had been working with the senator's staff on lowering that figure to 7 million gal/yr. But with the final Senate energy bill language, "[w]e are completely at a loss to understand why this legislation would arbitrarily pick a size that is likely to eliminate so many promising technologies, including ours," the letter said. "We see no reason whatsoever for a floor and hope you would agree that in the interest of developing as much renewable ethanol as possible, we would not to exclude any size or technology." The letter, signed by five Hawaii-based ethanol companies, asks the senator to remove the minimum production level. "There is wide ranging support to keep this provision as broad based as possible, including the 33-member Governors' Ethanol Coalition (of which Hawaii is a member) and many of our fellow sugar producing states, such as Texas, Louisiana and Florida," the letter concluded. An Akaka spokeswoman said the senator would be working hard to try and resolve this issue. Additionally, it was rumored that Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R) would be writing to energy conferees on this very issue, however that couldn't be confirmed by presstime
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
13 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
## Solvency ##
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
14 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
USFG Key 1/2
National action key Bullis, Nanotechnology and material science editor for Technology Review, 07 (Kevin, Technology Review/MIT,
Will Cellulosic Ethanol Take Off: With help from the Government it just might, February 26, http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=biofuels&id=18227&a=, 6/29/08) Cellulosic-ethanol companies are hopeful that they can meet this goal. Colin South, the president of Mascoma Corporation, also based in Cambridge, says that if all goes well, cellulosic ethanol could supply half of the 35-billion-gallon goal by 2017. But so far Mascoma has only announced plans to build a demonstration facility with a capacity of about half a million gallons of fuel per year. That facility should be ready in 18 months, South says. But as is the case with the new Celunol plant, the facility's primary purpose would be to demonstrate that the company's technology can work at a large scale; it will not always operate at full capacity, as the system is used to test new cost-saving technologies. Other companies are planning to build plants, but these are also relatively small. Range Fuels (formerly Kergy), based in Broomfield, CO, plans to start construction this year on a 10-million-gallon-per-year plant in Georgia, CEO Mitch Mandich says. A large corn-grain ethanol company, Abengoa Bioenergy, of St. Louis, is building a 1.3-million-gallon biomass ethanol plant in Spain. But even taken together, these plants will supply only a tiny fraction of the 15-billion-gallon target. "That's a huge goal," says John Howe, vice president of public affairs at Celunol. "That's well beyond what any one company or a large number of companies [can do]. It will take a massive national effort to get close to that goal." By "national effort," he partly means money for loan guarantees that will encourage financiers to fund the building of large commercial-scale plants. Company executives and cellulosic-ethanol advocates agree on the need for such government help. Iogen Corporation, in Ottawa, Canada, is a case in point. The company has been producing cellulosic ethanol since 2004 and already has an almost 700,000-gallon-peryear demonstration plant. But Iogen's plans for a 20-million-gallon commercial-scale plant are now on hold as the company awaits legislation to be passed in Canada, the United States, or Germany that will provide the financial incentives Iogen needs to build such a big operation.
Consistent Federal support key Ethanol Producer Magazine, 2007
(March, “Science and Technology Drive the Industry Forward” <http://www.ethanolproducer.com/article.jsp?article _id=2771>. Accessed on July 2 2008) Taking the opportunity to underscore the work the U.S. ethanol industry is doing to develop new and improved technologies, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President Bob Dinneen testified before the House Science and Technology Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment in support of H.R. 547, a bill introduced by House Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., to expand advanced fuels infrastructure. In his testimony, Dinneen offered four areas where new research efforts are critical to the advancement of the ethanol industry. Those areas include: --Increased utilization of distillers grains and the development of new coproducts --Development of harvesting equipment and tools to streamline the transportation and storage of cellulose feedstocks such as cornstalks and switchgrass. On Jan. 31, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns outlined the proposals that the USDA and President George W. Bush would like to see included in the 2007 Farm Bill. While covering the scope of issues the Farm Bill authorizes, Johanns reiterated the need for continued and increased investment in research to develop new technologies for renewable fuel production, especially as it relates to cellulosic ethanol. In his proposal, Johanns mentioned three specific points: --Providing $500 million for a bioenergy and bio-based product research initiative --Providing $500 million for a renewable energy systems and efficiency improvements grants program --Providing $210 million to support an estimated $2.1 billion in loan guarantees for cellulosic ethanol projects in rural areas The RFA [Renewable Fuels Association] noted the importance of public/private partnerships, as well as consistent federal incentives for renewable fuels, as vital to ensuring the continued success of the industry. "To achieve the kind of goals President Bush and Congress have put forth, it will take a range of solutions including ethanol from feedstocks in addition to grain," Dinneen said. "These new programs, together with the continued consistent federal incentives for renewable fuel use, will help America achieve energy independence sooner than many think."
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
15 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
USFG Key 2/2
National implementation key Governors Ethanol Coalition, Bipart group of US and international members, 05
(Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, “Ethanol from biomass,” April, http://www.ethanol-gec.org/GEC_biomass_rept_412-05.pdf, Date accessed: 6/26/08) The Role of the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition The Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, determined to meet the challenge of significantly expanding ethanol production from biomass, assembled a group of experts from industry, government, and the research community. Over the past four months, the group aided the Coalition in developing a set of recommendations aimed at achieving the goal of producing at least 8 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2012, and, in order to meet a growing share of our transportation fuel needs over the long term, move toward production of at least 1 billion gallons of biomass-derived ethanol each year. The Coalition believes that a national commitment to implementing the recommendations, summarized below, will result in ethanol replacing significant amounts of petroleum derived from unstable regions around the globe over the next 10 years.
Federal Government incentives for biomass ensure performance, are low cost, and limits financial risk Governors Ethanol Coalition, Bipart group of US and international members, 05
(Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, “Ethanol from biomass,” April, http://www.ethanol-gec.org/GEC_biomass_rept_412-05.pdf, Date accessed: 6/26/08) Research alone will not achieve the longer-term goal of producing 10 percent of our transportation fuel from domestic, renewable resources. One of the most significant barriers to commercialization of biomass ethanol technology is the unproven nature of the technology in large-scale commercial facilities and the inherent reluctance of the financial markets to risk capital. The Governors’ Ethanol Coalition recommends that the federal government offer market-based production incentives for commercial demonstration and technology application to support large-scale operations resulting in production of 1 billion gallons of biomass-derived ethanol a year at a cost that is competitive with gasoline and diesel. Ethanol From Biomass America’s 21st Century Transportation Fuel 10 These incentives would provide support in the early years of the project while ensuring performance and retention of private sector due diligence. Recent state-level experience has demonstrated that a reverse auction for incentives protects the public interest and allows the marketplace to select “winners” during the crucial pre-commercial phase of technology development. Under the auction, the developer that offers the greatest potential for lowcost production and requires the least incentive, in addition to meeting all other criteria, would obtain the incentive. The overall cap on the incentive limits government risk, and the general orientation towards production maximizes the likelihood that the project will perform since government funds are provided only when the fuel is produced.
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R& D and deployment incentives exceeding 1.9 billion dollars are key Greene, senior researcher with the Natural Resources Defense Council, 2004)
(Principal Author, Nathanael, NRDC, December, “GROWING ENERGY: How Biofuels Can Help End America’s Oil Dependence” < http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/biofuels/biofuels.pdf>. Accessed on June 29th 2008.) Breaking our addiction to oil is going to require a long-term commitment to increasing fuel efficiency, creating more livable communities that do not require as much driving, and making biofuel affordable and sustainable. Focusing now on achieving the aggressive vision for biofuels that we have started to lay out, three key steps are essential: _ Investing in a package of research, development, and demonstration policies that create the innovations needed for a large-scale, competitive biofuels industry; _ Funding deployment policies that drive the development of the first billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels capacity at a price approaching that of gasoline and diesel;_ Adopting a renewable fuels standard and flex-fuel vehicle requirement. STEP 1: INVEST IN RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND DEMONSTRATION We recommend a package of policies with the broad goal of developing a cellulosic biofuel industry by 2015 that is cost-competitive with corn ethanol and moving rapidly toward cost-competitiveness with petroleum fuels. To achieve such an aggressive commercialization schedule, research, development, demonstration, and deployment will need to be pursued on nearly parallel tracks. We recommend two basic policies: 1) a research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) policy from 2006 to 2012 costing a total of $1.1 billion, and 2) a deployment policy from 2006 to 2015 costing a total of $800 million. Taken together, these policies would create about 1 billion gallons of biofuels capacity and advance the technology to a state where it is capable of producing biofuels at costs competitive with those of gasoline and diesel. The goal of federal programs addressing RD&D relevant to biomass conversion should be to establish the scientific and technological foundation necessary to rapidly deploy industrial processes producing biofuels from biomass. Although direct support for commercialization has many benefits, the rate, extent, and probability of realizing these benefits for biofuels will be greatly increased by an aggressive, targeted effort directed toward precommercial RD&D. Of course, with a range of state and federal subsidies generally available to energy projects, the line between commercial and precommercial can be blurred. We draw the line based on bothnscale—precommercial RD&D produces relatively little, if any, finished product—and economics—any finished product produced cannot generate enough revenuento make a plant profitable even with any other subsidies available. As commercialization starts (with larger plants that can produce a profit), the investment community will look to RD&D to determine the viability of technology and the likelihood of a project’s success. Precommercial RD&D not only advances the technology but also greatly reduces the perceived risk associated with the technology. While precommercial RD&D is clearly an investment in commercialization, the private sector is unlikely to invest on the scale or at the speed that we need if we are to start to wean ourselves from oil. The private sector cannot make biofuels happen without government support; the potential rewards are too long-term, and too many of the benefits are societal and hard for a single company to capture. RD&D activities can be categorized by three key areas of technological focus: _ Overcoming the recalcitrance of cellulosic biomass, Enabling product diversification, including different fuels, animal feed protein, and chemicals, and _ Making advances in feedstock production. Overcoming the recalcitrance of the cellulosic biomass is the greatest impediment to realizing the potential for biofuels production. Whether through pretreatment, biological processing, or gasification-based thermochemical processing, if biofuels are to meet a large portion of our transportation fuel needs, then we must be able to use more than just starch from biomass. RD&D activities can also be classified by the way in which they add value. There are primarily three levels: _ Innovative technological advances, Better understanding of applied fundamentals, and _ Process integration, scale-up, and demonstration. Innovations to improve biomass processes are required in order to develop methods that are sufficiently low in cost, high in efficiency, and environmentally benign to compete with conventional energy sources on a large scale. As discussed in greater detail later, the types of innovations needed include developing superior microorganisms, pretreatment processes, syngas cleanup systems, pressurized feeding to gasifiers, protein separation processes, crop yield improvements, coproduction of biofuels, power, and other value-added products, and crop harvesting and handling systems. Fortunately, innovations in all of these areas are readily foreseeable.
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Incentives break the chicken-egg dilemma Dale et al, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, 2007
(Bruce E., The Berkeley Electronic Press, “Technical and Financial Feasibility Analysis of Distributed Bioprocessing Using Regional Biomass Pre-Processing Centers” http://www.everythingbiomass.org/Publications/tabid/443/Default.aspx accessed 7/6/08) Energy crop production and investments in conversion facilities are hence likely to suffer from the classic “chicken and egg” problem; farmers are unlikely to grow biomass in large enough quantities unless there is an assured market and acceptable prices, and investors are unlikely to invest in conversion facilities until adequate feedstock supplies at reasonable prices are assured. Under the circumstances, the biomass supply transactions are likely to be based more on long term, very detailed, ‘more complete’ contracts than spot markets. Further, due to economies of scale, and widely distributed feedstock production, biorefineries need to contract with a fairly large number of farmers leading more transaction costs. Supply cooperatives may be attractive since they allow a single contract between the co-operative and the biorefinery instead of with each individual producer. Alternatively, harvesting, collection and transportation can be handled by independent consolidators, with whom biorefineries can contract. http://www.bepress.com/jafio/vol5/iss2/art10 The questions remain as how best to economically co-ordinate these activities and provide proper incentives for the agents to participate and which channel configuration would be best suited for, creating value, reducing transaction costs, exploiting scale economies, and balancing market power issues. These organizational issues in biomass supply chain strategy will be central to successful industry development.
Incentives jump start commercialization Greer, Contributing editor to biocycle and researcher specializing in green business and alternative energy,
Greer, 2005 (Diane, Biocycle, “Creating Cellulosic Ethanol: Spinning Straw into Fuel,” april 2005, http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0505/enews_0505_Cellulosic_Ethanol.htm/, 6/29/08). To date, only a few small demonstration biorefineries are producing ethanol from cellulosic feedstock. Iogen is operating a facility in Ottawa, Canada, utilizing proprietary enzyme hydrolysis and fermentation techniques to produce 260,000 gallons a year of ethanol from wheat straw. The company has announced plans for a commercial-scale facility in western Canada, the U.S or Germany. Iogen is seeking government financial support and other incentives to help fund the $350 million expected cost. "The technology is ready for commercial-scale demonstration," says Reade Dechton, of the Energy Futures Coalition. "The industry is stuck on first of a kind technology. There is a role and need for government assistance. We think that the investment that would be required to get these first plants built is very small compared to the benefits that would result and the risks that we are facing."
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Production incentives solve Greene, senior researcher with the Natural Resources Defense Council, 2004)
(Principal Author, Nathanael, NRDC, December, “GROWING ENERGY: How Biofuels Can Help End America’s Oil Dependence” < http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/biofuels/biofuels.pdf>. Accessed on June 29th 2008.) No doubt, this is a complicated way to offer support for deployment, but if we look back at our goals and challenges, there are good reasons for each of the features offered by this approach. For instance, production incentives minimize risk of wasting public funds because these policies pay only for performance. In the menu of incentives, the production incentive would have the highest value to the developer and equity investors because it increases revenues, whereas the insurance-based incentives primarily cover the risk of lenders. Thus we expect developers to shift to production incentives as quickly as the market will allow, minimizing the risk of wasted public funds. By limiting the total value of incentives, we force developers to allocate the available incentives in the way that makes the most sense for their project. By using both a percent of overnight costs and a dollar cap, we ensure that the smaller pilot projects (on the scale of Iogen’s Ottawa enzymatic-based plant) that we expect to be developed first get a relatively rich level of support while the larger projects that come later can receive more per project but a much smaller proportional level of support. The reduction in support for larger plants also helps to prepare the industry to be self-sufficient. The limits on total funding and total capacity for each pool establish a clear set of limits on the deployment policy, also forcing the industry to prepare for independence. Furthermore, the capacity caps on each pool ensure that if the industry develops larger and more productive plants faster, then the public does not have to keep paying. Finally, by requiring at least 50 percent of energy produced to be in the form of biofuels, we allow different configurations of bioenergy production to compete while ensuring overall that biofuels are advanced.15
Greater public support needed to solve Weeks, assistant director of energy projects in the Center for Business and Government of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, 2005
(Jennifer, BioCycle, “National Energy Commission Report Endorses Biofuels,” March http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0405/enews_0405_Energy_Commission_Report.htm Accessed on 7/3/08) Beyond specific steps to develop biomass energy technologies, the Commission made broader recommendations that would benefit bioenergy if enacted. The report calls for greater public support for energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment (ERD), coordinated with industry activities, in order to stimulate greater public and private investment and innovation in these areas. This effort, the Commission argued, should give high priority to technology options that have the potential to help address multiple U.S. energy challenges including technologies to produce biofuels for the transportation sector.
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The plan solves: R & D and tax incentives Lugar and Woolsey, 99
[Senator Richard G. Lugar, Chair, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, member, Foreign Relations Committee, R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, 00157120, Jan/Feb99 ebsco]
Choosing to use cellulosic ethanol is not a choice to forsake more advanced automobile propulsion technologies, such as hybrids and fuel cells. Ethanol is compatible with both. Jeffrey Bentley, vice president of Arthur D. Little, Inc., a company recently honored by the U.S. government for its novel fuel-cell technology, stated that "ethanol provides higher efficiencies, fewer emissions, and better performance than other fuel sources, including gasoline. . . . Where ethanol is available, it will be the fuel of choice by consumers." As both hybrids and fuel cells continue to improve, automobiles powered by them may dramatically reduce air pollution. Ethanol's compatibility with both makes moving toward cellulosic ethanol as a transportation fuel much more desirable. If government policies promote FFVs, moreover, a large fleet of ethanol-compatible vehicles will be available much earlier than would otherwise have been feasible. This is because FFVs can burn gasoline now but can use cellulosic ethanol as it becomes available. Introducing FFVs into the national fleet differs radically in timing from other changes in transportation. Even if an ideal hybrid or fuel-cell vehicle came on the market, the slow rate of turnover in the nation's cars would mean that it would be many years before its introduction would make a dent in overall fuel use. But moving now to substantially increase the number of FFVs being produced would create the capability to shift to cellulosic ethanol as soon as it is available at attractive prices. In addition, insofar as U.S. security and environmental concerns are more with the consumption of problem-causing petroleum fuel than with fuel in general, substituting cellulosic ethanol for gasoline improves relevant "mileage" radically, even in internal combustion engines. For example, an average automobile gets approximately 17 miles per gallon and is driven approximately 14,000 miles per year, thus using 825 gallons of gasoline annually. Suppose that same automobile were an FFV using a mixed fuel containing 85 percent cellulosic ethanol. Because of ethanol's lower energy content, it would use about 1,105 gallons of fuel, but only 165 would be gasoline. Such a vehicle could be said to be getting, in a sense, over 80 miles per gallon -- of national-security-risk-increasing, carbon-dioxide-producing gasoline.
The one remaining barrier to widespread replacement of gasoline with ethanol is production cost. Relying on feed grains makes this cost comparatively high and volatile, since corn is subject to the caroming behavior of feed markets. In 1995, its price of $100 a ton nearly doubled, forcing a sharp curtailment in ethanol production. A partial shift to biomass should circumvent such instabilities. Over the past 15 years, the cost of producing a gallon of ethanol has been cut in half, to just over $1 a gallon wholesale. If, as predicted, the new biocatalysts, low and steady raw material costs, and improved processing let costs fall another 50 percent or so, ethanol could compete with gasoline at today's prices. If oil prices rise in the next century, gasoline could actually be at a substantial price disadvantage. Such a reduction of ethanol cost is entirely plausible for two reasons. First, a simple comparison of energy content reveals that a dry ton of biomass crops -- $40 is a reasonable current average cost -- is comparable to oil at $10-13 a barrel. Agricultural wastes, in many cases, are considerably cheaper than either: many are free or have negative cost. So the overall costs of cellulosic biomass are likely to at least be in the same ballpark as those of crude oil. Second, further reductions in the cost of processing seem quite achievable. The current cost of processing ethanol is significantly higher than the equivalent price per barrel for oil. But this discrepancy reflects the maturity and sophistication of the petroleum industry, developed over the past century, as compared to the fledgling biofuels effort. Producing ethanol is not inherently more complex than refining petroleum -- in fact, just the contrary. The world has simply invested far more effort in the latter. Jump-Start While the private sector will provide the capital and motivation to move toward ethanol, the federal government has a vital role to play. Market forces seldom reflect national security risks, environmental issues, or other social concerns. The private sector often cannot fund long-term research, despite its demonstrated potential for dramatic innovation. Hence, the federal government must increase its investment in renewable energy research, particularly in innovative programs such as genetic engineering of biocatalysts, development of dedicated energy crops, and improved processing. The very small sums previously invested by the Departments of Energy and Agriculture have already spawned dramatic advances. Every effort should be made to expand competitive, merit-based, and peer-reviewed science and to encourage research that cuts across scientific disciplines. Research is essential to produce the innovations and technical improvements that will lower the production costs of ethanol and other renewable fuels and let them compete directly with gasoline. At present, the United States is not funding a vigorous program in renewable technologies. The Department of Energy spends under two percent of its budget on renewable fuels; its overall work on renewable technologies is at its lowest level in 30 years. Because private investment often follows federal commitment, industrial research and development has also reached new lows. These disturbing trends occur at a time of national economic prosperity when America has both time and resources for investing in biofuels.
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Continued, all text included
The United States cannot afford to wait for the next energy crisis to marshal its intellectual and industrial resources. Research alone will not suffice to realize cellulosic ethanol's promise. The federal government should also modify the tax code to spur private investment. The existing renewable alcohol tax credits have recently been extended by Congress through 2007 -- which will help the growth of the new biofuels industry and offer some protection in the transition from grain to cellulosic biomass. But the tax credit structure should facilitate the gradual adoption of cellulosic ethanol -- in time, it should not need subsidies. Government incentives to produce FFVs should also be increased.
Finally, there must be a coordinated effort across the many different federal agencies that oversee government laboratories and regulatory agencies. The analogy to the semiconductor industry is instructive. In 1987, Congress authorized the creation of a government-industry partnership, the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology Association (SEMATECH). Under the direction of the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency, SEMATECH pursued fundamental research in semiconductor components and manufacturing processes. Private firms with innovative ideas were encouraged to devote research dollars to transform the idea into a commercial reality. The few domestic semiconductor manufacturers were brought together in forums where the companies could discuss technical hurdles without sacrificing competitive advantage. Today, the success of SEMATECH is evident, as the high-technology sector demonstrates. Biofuels offer a similar opportunity. Cellulosic ethanol is a first-class transportation fuel, able to power the cars of today as well as tomorrow, use the vast infrastructure already built for gasoline, and enter quickly and easily into the transportation system. It can be shipped in standard rail cars and tank trucks and is easily mixed with gasoline. Although somewhat lower in energy content, it has a substantially higher octane rating than gasoline, allowing for more efficient combustion. It can radically reduce the emission of global warming gases, help reduce the choking smog of our cities, and improve air quality. It is far less toxic than petroleum, far less likely to explode and burn accidentally, and far simpler physically and chemically, making possible simpler refining procedures. If a second Exxon Valdez filled with ethanol ran aground off Alaska, it would produce a lot of evaporation and some drunk seals. Our growing dependence on increasingly scarce Middle Eastern oil is a fool's game -- there is no way for the rest of the world to win. Our losses may come suddenly through war, steadily through price increases, agonizingly through developing-nation poverty, relentlessly through climate change -- or through all of the above. It would be extremely short-sighted not to take advantage of the scientific breakthroughs that have occurred and that are in the offing, accelerate them, and move smartly toward ameliorating all of these risks by beginning to substitute carbohydrates for hydrocarbons. If we do, we will make life far less dangerous and far more prosperous for future generations. If we do not, those generations will look back in angry wonder at the remarkable opportunity that we missed.
Cellulosic Ethanol is close to commercialization Dale et al, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, 2007
(Bruce E., The Berkeley Electronic Press, “Technical and Financial Feasibility Analysis of Distributed Bioprocessing Using Regional Biomass Pre-Processing Centers” http://www.everythingbiomass.org/Publications/tabid/443/Default.aspx accessed 7/6/08) Significant efforts are underway to improve the process economics and reduce capital costs by combining several of the process steps. In separate hydrolysis and fermentation (SHF), hydrolysis and fermentation of hexose and pentose sugars are carried out in separate vessels. Simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) systems can hydrolyze and ferment hexose sugars in the same vessel. Development of effective microorganisms will eventually permit simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation (SSCF) of both hexose and pentose sugars. Finally, new processes are being designed to combine cellulase enzyme production, enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation into a single unit operation called consolidated bioprocessing (CBP). Review of literature and pilot plant testing suggest that SHF and SSF are relatively close to commercialization, that SSCF may become possible in the near term, while CBP is the furthest from commercialization. U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) has recently funded six demonstration projects for commercial production of ethanol from cellulosic biomass (USDOE, 2007).
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Enzyme cost and the resistance of lingocellulosic materials are preventing the commercialization of switchgrass—R & D solves. Alizadeh et al., Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University, 2005
(HASAN, FARZANEH TEYMOURI, THOMAS I. GILBERT, AND BRUCE E. DALE, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 1133 Vol. 121–124, “Pretreatment of Switchgrass by Ammonia Fiber Explosion (AFEX) < http://www.everythingbiomass.org /Publications/tabid/443/Default.aspx> . Accessed on July 6 2007) There are two major processing impediments to producing economically viable commercial ethanol from biomass such as switchgrass. One obstacle is the inherent resistance of lignocellulosic materials toward conversion to fermentable sugars (4). In order to improve the efficiency of enzymatic hydrolysis, a pretreatment step is necessary to make the structural carbohydrate fraction accessible to cellulase enzymes. Aunique and effective biomass pretreatment called ammonia fiber explosion (AFEX) is under development (5). Previous work (6–8) has demonstrated that the AFEX process substantially enhances the digestibility of lignocellulosic biomass. Another economically important issue in biomass conversion is the cost of enzyme. High cost of the enzymes has been a major obstacle to the commercialization of biomass hydrolysis. One way to reduce this cost is to use as little enzyme per unit of biomass hydrolyzed as possible without sacrificing the ethanol yield. Previous work has shown that effective enzymatic hydrolysis of AFEXtreated biomass at enzyme loadings as low as 7 FPU/g of glucan was achieved by adjusting the pretreatment parameters (9). The main focus of this article has been to optimize all the major factors that influence the effectiveness of the pretreatment of switchgrass in AFEX process. Ammonia loading, sample moisture content, and reactor temperature have all been optimized to maximize the conversion of glucan and xylan to fermentable sugars using a fixed amount of enzyme.
The main barrier to biofuel production is economic, but Scientists are on the brink of discovering dramatic cost improvements for biomass Greer, Contributing editor to biocycle and researcher specializing in green business and alternative energy, 2005
(Diane, Biocycle, “Creating Cellulosic Ethanol: Spinning Straw into Fuel,” april 2005, http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0505/enews_0505_Cellulosic_Ethanol.htm/, 6/29/08). Reducing the cost and improving the efficiency of separating and converting cellulosic materials into fermentable sugars is one of the keys to a viable industry. "On the technology side, we need a major push on overcoming the recalcitrance of biomass," continues Greene, referring to the difficulty in breaking down complex cellulosic biomass structures. "This is the greatest difficulty in converting biomass into fuel." R&D efforts are focusing on the development of cost-effective biochemical hydrolysis and pretreatment processes. Technological advances promise substantially lower processing costs in these fields compared to acid hydrolysis. "In the enzyme camp, we have only scratched the surface of the potential of biotechnology to contribute to this area," adds Reade Dechton of Energy Futures Coalition. "We are at the very beginning of dramatic cost improvements." The Department of Energy (DOE) Biofuels program has identified the high cost of cellulose enzymes as the key barrier to economic production of cellulosic ethanol. Two enzyme producers, Genencor International and Novozymes Biotech, have received research funding from DOE to engineer significant cost reductions and efficiency improvements in cellulose enzymes. In October of 2004, Genencor announced a 30-fold reduction in the cost of enzymes to a range of $.10-$.20 per gallon of ethanol. To achieve the savings, Genencor developed a mixture of genetically modified enzymes that act synergistically to convert cellulose into glucose. Novozymes Biotech has also progressed in reducing enzyme costs from $5.00 to $.30 per gallon of ethanol. In April of 2004, Novozymes was granted a one year extension and awarded an additional $2.3 million to further reduce the cost of enzymes to $.10 per gallon.
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Incentives for Research and Development k/2 improving biofuel process efficiencies Weeks, assistant director of energy projects in the Center for Business and Government of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, 2005
(Jennifer, BioCycle, “National Energy Commission Report Endorses Biofuels,” March http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0405/enews_0405_Energy_Commission_Report.htm Accessed on 7/3/08) To promote advances in biofuel production, the Commission recommended increasing federal funding for research and development from the 2004 level of $25 million to $150 million annually for the years 2006-2011. Key areas for federal investment include improving process efficiencies for converting plant material and wastes to ethanol and biodiesel, and improving the productivity per acre of energy crops. The Commission also recommended providing $750 million from 2008 through 2017 to encourage early deployment of new cellulosic ethanol and biofuel systems nationwide using a variety of feedstocks
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Automaker Incentives Solve
Giving Incentives to automakers to increase the use of Ethanol would decrease oil dependence and carbon dioxide emission, and give a much needed boost to automakers and rural communities Daschle, former Democratic Senate majority leader, 2006
(Tom, The New York Times, “Miles Per Cob,” May 8th, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/08/opinion/08daschle.html, accessed 7/3/08) We need to upgrade to a new CAFE: Carbon Alternative Fuel Equivalent. This new CAFE will measure "petroleum mileage" and give automakers incentives and credits for increasing ethanol consumption as a percentage of fuel use of their vehicles, not least by promoting flex-fuel vehicles, which can run on either gasoline or E85 fuel, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. This approach promises several significant benefits. First, it could set America free from its dependence on foreign oil. As Brazil's "energy independence miracle" proves, an aggressive strategy of investing in petroleum substitutes like ethanol can end dependence on imported oil. Second, switching from gasoline to ethanol produced from perennial energy crops like switch grass can slash our carbon dioxide emissions. Third, it could build on a comparative advantage of American automakers. American auto manufacturers are churning out hundreds of thousands of flex-fuel vehicles. Their foreign competitors make far fewer. Promoting these vehicles will help our automakers build on their already strong market share. And fourth, by encouraging the production of ethanol and new renewable fuel technologies, this new CAFE standard could invigorate rural communities in America's heartland and innovation and research centers along its coasts.
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Bond insurance, efficacy insurance and a production incentive would drive us over the commercialization barrier Greene, senior researcher with the Natural Resources Defense Council, 2004)
(Principal Author, Nathanael, NRDC, December, “GROWING ENERGY: How Biofuels Can Help End America’s Oil Dependence” < http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/biofuels/biofuels.pdf>. Accessed on June 29th 2008.) To achieve our goals in the face of these challenges, we recommend a deployment policy that offers a variety of incentives, including incentives targeted at the major barriers to financing and production. This policy should also let the developer mix and match incentives under an overall cap on the value of the incentives chosen. Developers would also get to choose one of three pools from which to draw their support. Each pool would have a different cap on the value of incentives. We recommend developers have the opportunity to choose from several incentives: bond insurance for feedstock suppliers, bond insurance for biofuel purchasers, efficacy insurance for the fuel production technology, and a production incentive that pays a fixed amount per gallon for the first five years of operation. The bond insurance is critical because debt financiers generally require feedstock and off-take guarantees, which can be provided only by creditworthy companies. This greatly limits the number of suppliers and purchasers that a project can contract with, driving up the cost of supply and driving down the value of the product. Bond insurance is readily available and, for a price, can effectively transform any supplier or purchaser into a creditworthy partner. The government incentive would cover the cost of this insurance, subtracting the cost from the overall cap on incentives available to a project. Efficacy insurance pays when the technology simply does not work as well as the developer had predicted. For instance, efficacy insurance (also known as system performance insurance or nondamage insurance) covers failures in performance not caused by equipment breakdown or mistakes in design. The policy either pays to bring the performance up to specification or provides liquidated damages up to the value covered by the policy.13 Hartford Steam Boiler offered system performance insurance to the Masada concentrated acid hydrolysis ethanol project in 2000, but Hartford Steam Boiler was bought by AIG, which canceled the policy before the Masada plant was built. At this point, no insurance companies are offering this type of insurance, so the challenge would be finding a way for the government to induce insurance companies to offer it again for new biofuels plants.14 It is likely that the cost would be very high, at least initially. If a private insurance policy cannot be developed, then the government could offer the policy, subtracting from the project’s overall incentive cap the full cost of the liquidated damages covered. Developers could also take any amount of their total available incentive as a production incentive that would be paid out over the first five years of operations on a fixed dollar per gallon basis. To encourage maximum performance, the incentive would be calculated by dividing the amount of incentive that the developer chose to collect as a production incentive by expected capacity during the first five years. This value would then be fixed and the developer collect the total only if it met or exceeded the expected production levels.
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Loan Guarantees Solve
Loan Guarantees Solve Chase, The Globe and Mail (Canada), 2006
(Steven, “Iogen may build plant in U.S. if Ottawa tight-fisted; Says government help needed to launch commercialscale ethanol operation”, May 29, B3) Ethanol is traditionally made from grain corn, but Iogen is the world leader at producing it from plant fibre instead. So-called cellulose ethanol has been shown to cut greenhouse gas emissions more effectively than corn ethanol, and can be manufactured from a wide variety of agriculture waste, including straw and grass. The catch is that nobody's yet built a commercial-scale plant for producing cellulose ethanol. Iogen aims to be the first, and wants to break ground on a site by September, 2007. It's considering locations in Idaho, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The company says that the first commercial-scale plant would cost about $260-million (U.S.), and most of this would have to be borrowed if the project seeks private-sector lending. But private-sector lenders are anxious about lending for a pioneering technology - and require a government guarantee - even though Canada and the United States are set to boost consumption of the biofuel. Ottawa and the provinces have agreed on a target to mandate that gasoline and diesel contain 5 per cent biofuel by 2010. "Lenders are nervous of new technology - mandate or no mandate. A mandate doesn't create a market for new technology. Somebody has to step up to the plate and share the risk of commercializing new technology with the private sector," Mr. Passmore said.
Capital investment cost is the primary barrier Snow, The Washington Editor of the Oil and Gas Journal, 2006
(Nick, “Gasoline hearing probes boutique fuel, ethanol issues” Oil and Gas Journal, May 22, p 22) Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) said the choice is between continuing policies that benefit oil companies or developing alternatives to reduce dependence on foreign oil. "We have to begin encouraging production of alternatives. In Wisconsin, annual ethanol production has risen from 40 million to 200 million gal and eventually will reach 500 million gal," she said. Gruenspecht said in his written testimony that EIA forecasts US ethanol use in fuel will grow to 10 billion gal/year by 2012, assuming extension of the ethanol tax credit. This would slightly exceed the renewable fuel standard contained in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, he pointed out. Even without extension of the tax credit, US ethanol use should still be above the renewable fuel standard in 6 years, he said. EIA projects that nearly all of the additional ethanol will come from corn, with cellulose contributing only about as much as required, according to Gruenspecht. "While cellulose ethanol has potential feedstock-cost advantages compared to corn ethanol and tremendous progress has been made in the performance and cost of enzymes used in the conversion of cellulose material to ethanol, the high capital cost of cellulose ethanol plants remains a significant barrier to their economic competitiveness," he said.
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AT “Only Theory/Not Viable” 1/2
It works now: Canada and Georgia prove RFA Renewable Fuels Association, organization for promotion of AE. Last date cited, 2008
“Cellulosic Ethanol” http://www.ethanolrfa.org/resource/cellulosic/ Accessed: 6/29/08 Building upon the strong foundation grain-based ethanol technology has provided, the ethanol industry is rapidly developing and expanding the number of feedstocks available for ethanol production. Iogen Corporation in Ottawa, Canada produces just over a million gallons annually of cellulose ethanol from wheat, oat and barley straw in their demonstration facility. In late 2007, Range Fuels broke ground on a 20 million gallon per year facility that will process ethanol from wood and wood waste in Georgia. Several existing ethanol plants in the U.S. are engaged in research and demonstration projects with the U.S. Department of Energy utilizing the existing fiber in their facility that typically goes into the livestock feed coproduct. Enzyme companies including Genencor International and Novozymes are working on research projects with the Department to significantly reduce enzyme cost and increase enzyme life and durability.
It works now: its beyond experimentation. The Toronto Star, 2007
( February 19, Monday, “Ethanol's future not dependent on corn.” Accessed via Lexis on June 30 3008) From a technology perspective, there's always room for improvement. But, far from what the oil CEOs suggest, there's no breakthrough or invention required to make cellulosic ethanol an economic alternative to cornbased ethanol. SunOpta, for example, is already contributing pre-treatment equipment and other technologies for at least four cellulosic ethanol plants - in China, Spain, Canada and the United States. The one in China, where the government recently said it would not allow any more ethanol production from food crops such as corn, has been in operation since October and uses corn stover as its feedstock. In Canada, SunOpta has entered a joint venture with Greenfield Ethanol and has plans to build a 40-million-litre a year cellulosic ethanol plant in Ontario or Quebec. The two companies are already selecting sites for construction. Meanwhile, other companies such as Iogen, Range Fuels and Convergence Ethanol are looking at building their own cellulosic ethanol plants. So, could we all please stop obsessing about corn and accept that the real future of ethanol lies in agricultural residues, wood waste, garbage and dedicated crops? They're plentiful, have little impact on food supply and can offer a rich source of energy as we gradually wean ourselves from oil.We're well beyond experimentation, even if it will take a few more years to get it right.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
27 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
AT “Only Theory/Not Viable” 2/2
By using a combination approach, biorefineries can be utilized in every state using a variety of readily available feedstocks Kanellos, regular contributor to CNet news, 08 (Michael, Green News Blog/CNet News, Coskata CEO explains
how to get $1 a gallon ethanol, April 7, http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-9913192-54.html, 6/29/08) Nearly every cellulosic ethanol company claims it will be able to produce fuel at $1 or less a gallon in a few years. William Roe, CEO of Coskata, in a meeting on Monday explained how his Warrenville, Ill., company will do it. It's one of the more interesting processes out there, because it combines both biological (i.e., microbes) and thermochemical (heat and chemicals) processing. Menlo Park, Calif.-based ZeaChem is also taking a mixed approach, but it combines thermochemical and biological processes in a different manner. Most other companies are using primarily chemical or biological processes. We don't know who will win, but the mixed approach on paper does seem to have advantages. Here are the highlights from the meeting with Roe: • First, the company can use a wide variety of feedstocks for making fuel: wood chips, weeds and nonfood crops like miscanthus, human waste, and carbon-heavy garbage (such as tires). Biomass, ideally easy-to-grow crops that don't require much water, will likely be the primary feedstock. The ability to exploit various feedstocks reduces exposure to crop failures or shortages. Coskata, which has received an investment from General Motors, also makes fuel from the lignin in biomass. Some companies making ethanol from strictly biological processes can't use lignin to make fuel. "You can imagine biorefineries in every single state. This is an enormously efficient process," Roe said. "We don't need 'eurekas' anymore. We think it comes down to execution." Conceivably, Coskata could even produce fuel from the carbon monoxide from steel mills. If you could capture all of the carbon monoxide that comes out of mills worldwide, you could make 50 billion gallons of fuel a year, or close to a third of the U.S. annual consumption of fuel. • Handling all of these different feedstocks is actually a little simpler than it looks from the outside. The first stage in Coskata's process revolves around converting the feedstocks into synthetic gases. The different feedstocks can be segregated and processed differently. Waste can be converted to gas with plasma technology, for instance, while plant matter can be gasified with less energy-intensive methods. This allows the company to optimize on different gasification processes. It also reduces variability in processing. "There's actually a lot of innovation going on in gasification," Roe said. • Coskata has happy microbes. Once the syngas is produced, it is fed to microbes that convert it to liquid fuels. The microbes live in large colonies that collect on membranes. Fuel is produced when the gas passes through the membrane. Part of the company's intellectual property revolves around coming up with a way to let the microbes live as colonies and form slimes. Yum. Some other companies swirl their microbes in water and keep them in perpetual motion. Letting them live in colonies allows more of the gas to be converted to fuel.
Sweden Proves Cellulosic Ethanol can replace fossil fuels Motavalli, New York Times Jounalist, 2006,
(Jim, The New York Times, “Solution or Distraction? An Ethanol Reality Check,” May 14, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/14/automobiles/14GREEN.web.html?pagewanted=1&sq=Cellulose%20ethanol% 20incentives&st=nyt&scp=1, Accessed on 7/2/08) A. With only nine million people and four million cars, Sweden already has a network of 320 ethanol stations (half as many as in the United States), and a vision of going “fossil fuel free” by 2020. Sweden is importing most of its alcohol fuel from Brazil, but plans eight plants to produce cellulosic ethanol. Saab has sold 5,500 BioPower 9-5 models for the home market that can run either on gasoline or ethanol. Volvo is building as many as 7,000 flex-fuel cars this year that can run on ethanol, and 2,500 cars that can run on gasoline or “biogas,” a form of methane that comes from landfills. “If the Swedish government wants us to go fossil-fuel-free, we are ready for it,” said Jan-Willem Vester, a spokesman for Saab Automobile USA, a subsidiary of G.M. He said that Saab also planned to bring vehicles that will run on E85 vehicles to the United States, with deliveries beginning in the next 18 months.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
28 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
AT “Enzyme Cost”
They’re cheap enough now D'Aquino, Senior Editor at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2007
(Rita, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Chemical Engineering Progress. New York: Mar 2007. Vol. 103, Iss. 3; pg. 8, 3 pgs, May, “Cellulosic Ethanol - Tomorrow's Sustainable Energy Source” <http://proquest .umi.com/pqdweb?did=1270978801&sid=1&Fmt=3&clientId=10553&RQT=309&VName=PQD> / Accessed via ABI Inform on July 3, 2008.) Against this backdrop, cellulosic biomass, including wood, cereal straws and grasses has emerged as a viable,
sustainable source for liquid transposition fuels, and shows promise in comprising a major portion of the 20% in Bush's "20-in-10" goal. Some industry experts say cellulosic ethanol is the closest we will get to a petroleum substitute that will sustain our future energy needs. A case in point is a study conducted in 2005 by the National Renewable Lnergy Laboratory (NREL; www.nrel.gov) with the U.S. Dept, of Agriculture (USDA; www.usda.gov) showing that the U.S. could produce enough raw biomass (forest residues, fast-growing trees and switchgrass) - the major constituent of which is cellulose fiber - to equal about 60% of all the oil that is used in the U.S. The problem is, unlike corn, this raw biomass is difficult to convert. A primary deterrent for economic utilization of cellulose
has been the high cost of enzymes used in the hydrolysis of cellulose to produce the sugars that are fermented into ethanol. Over the past several years, however, process development efforts have been directed at economically producing cellulase enzymes at a lower cost. According to Thomas Nagy, president of Novozymes North America (wwvv.novozymes.com), the firm is strongly concentrating its R&D efforts on cellulosic ethanol. Funded by aU.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE; vvwvv.doe.gov) back in 2000, research conducted by the firm has culminated in a reduction in the cost of conversion [of cellulose into fermentable sugars] by a factor of 30, notes Nagy. Meanwhile, Genencor (www.genencor.com) partnering with NREL for the past four years, has reached similar results - an estimated cellulase cost in the range of $0.10$0.20/gal of ethanol - approximately a 30-fold improvement in enzyme economics in NREL's cost model. "We believe the dawn of cellulosic ethanol is close at hand," says Jack Huttner, vice president, business development for biomass of Genencor. The firm's Stargen line of granular starch hydrolyzing enzymes, for example, offers the ethanol industry greater yields with fewer processing steps, while requiring less energy, materials and capital. Previously, ethanol plants cooked grains and other starchy feedstocks with thermostable enzymes to begin the process of converting starch to fermentable sugars. The Stargen enzymes include blends of an alpha amylase and a glucoamylase that
convert granular or uncooked starch to sugars on a continuous basis through a simultaneous saccharification and fermentation process without the need for a cook step. Last December, Genencor announced an agreement to supply enzymes to a new biomass-to-ethanol demonstration facility that Mascoma Corp. (www.mascoma.com) plans to build in Rochester, NY, in the next 10-12 months. The facility is expected to utilize a number of New York State agricultural and/or forest products as biomass, including paper sludge, wood chips, switch grass and corn stover. Genencor is also pan of a research consortium sponsored the French National Research Agency (www.ademe.fr) to develop a conversion system that will add ethanol production to paper pulp mills. Integrated biorefineries As part of its strategy to accelerate biofuels production by enabling the adoption of efficient, high-performance, bio-based technologies, DuPont
(www.dupont.com) has teamed up with the DOE to develop a fermentation process that allows high conversion of both C-6 glucose sugars and the difficult-to-ferment C-5 xylose sugars to ethanol at high yields, This integrated biorefinery technology, which uses a microorganism called Zymomonas mobilis to make the
conversions, was recently licensed to ethanol producer Broin, Inc. (www.broin.com). Broin is currently transforniing its Voyager Ethanol site, located in Emmetsburg, IA, from a 50-million gal/yr corn drymill facility into a 125-million gal/y biorefinery that integrates corn fractionation and lignocellulosic conversion technologies for the production of ethanol from corn grain and com stover, respectively. "The integrated biorefinery technology will significantly increase the amount of ethanol per acre achievable by using both the corn grain and stover," explains DuPont Biofuels vice president and general, manager John Ranieri. This facility is expected to produce 11% more ethanol from a bushel of corn and 27% more ethanol from an acre of corn while using 83% less energy than what is needed to operate a corn to ethanol plant. Meanwhile, Diversa (www.diversa.com) is developing enzyme cocktails to convert
different types of cellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars as pan of an overall objective of developing a new, more cost-effective process. In 2005, as the first key step toward this goal, it developed a set of candidate enzymes under the Integrated Corn-Based Biorefinery (ICBR) program led by DuPont, a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored consortium to develop an economical, commercial-scale process to convert starch and cellulosic biomass to fuel ethanol and other value-added chemicals. A change in just a single amino acid can greatly affect the function of a protein such as an enzyme or an antibody,
notes Diversa, which heralds a suite of patented, state-of-the-art gene evolution technologies, called DirectEvolution. Comprising Gene Site Saturation Mutagenesis (GSSM ) and Tunable GeneReassembly (TGR) technologies, DirectEvolulion technologies provides potentially significant competitive advantages, including the ability to generate the broadest amount of genetic sequence diversity, the ability to make fine changes across an entire gene, and the freedom to use unrelated genes when recomhining starting genes.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
29 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
30 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
AT “Energy Negative” 1/6
Cellulosic ethanol is remarkably efficient, with a 7-to-1 energy ratio Schmer et al, Researchers at the US dept of agriculture. 2007
M.R., PNAS “Net Energy of Cellulosic Ethanol from Switchgrass” November 21st 2007 http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/short/105/2/464 Net energy production has been used to evaluate the energy efficiency of ethanol derived from both grain and cellulosic biomass (6). Typically, studies have used net energy values (NEV), net energy ratios, and net energy yield (NEY) and have compared biofuel output to petroleum requirements [petroleum energy ratio (PER)] to measure the sustainability of a biofuel. In initial analyses, switchgrass was estimated to have a net energy balance of 343% when used to produce biomass ethanol (7). More recent energy model analyses that used simulated biomass yields and estimated agricultural inputs indicate that switchgrass could produce _700% more output than input energy (8–10), whereas GHG have been assumed to be near zero (1) or estimated to be slightly positive (8) for ethanol derived from switchgrass.
Its net energy efficient Spaulding 04 [Raci Oriona, J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law, May 2004; M.A. Economics,
University of Iowa, May 2004 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, Spring, 2003, 13 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 277, Lexis] Finally, some worry that producing energy from biomass is more expensive than it is beneficial. These RFS opponents contend that, because biofuels create less energy than what is used in their production, they are an inefficient alternative to petroleum. Because they argue that biofuels are not economically efficient, they contend that they should not be used at all. Bob Dinneen, Renewable Fuels Association president, refutes these arguments, noting that: Only [one scientist] disagrees with [the] analysis [that renewable fuels are efficient]. But his outdated work has been refuted by experts from entities as diverse as the USDA, DOE, Argonne National Laboratory, Michigan State University, and the Colorado School of Mines. While the opponents of ethanol will no doubt continue to peddle [this scientist's] baseless charges, they are absolutely without credibility. <=181> n180
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
31 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
AT “Energy Negative” 2/6
The concept of net energy is fundamentally wrong, it compares Ethanol to all form of fossil fuels together instead of just oil Dale, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, 2007
(Bruce, “Grassoline in your Tank, Myths and Realities about Biofuels,” 12/18/2007, http://www.everythingbiomass.org/Publications/tabid/443/Default.aspx, accessed on 7/6/08) In some ways, this is the most irrelevant of all the myths surrounding ethanol. The “net energy” idea has been promoted by David Pimentel of Cornell University and his coworkers for over 25 years. He criticizes corn ethanol (and more recently cellulosic ethanol) as requiring more fossil energy to produce them than these biofuels release when burned. Dr. Pimentel defines “net energy” as the fuel’s heating value minus the sum of all the fossil energy (coal, natural gas and petroleum) inputs required to produce the fuel. Net energy is an irrelevant, almost silly, concept because it lumps all forms of fossil energy together as if they were identical. Net energy treats a megajoule (MJ—a measure of energy content) of coal as equivalent to a MJ of petroleum or natural gas. This is obviously wrong; otherwise we would not pay over five times as much for a MJ of petroleum as we do for a MJ of coal. The silliness of the net energy idea is shown by a simple illustration. Grind up some coal and put it your gas tank—then try driving. There is energy in the coal, but that energy is essentially useless to power your car. Still think that all forms of energy are equally valuable? They are not, and thus “net energy” is fundamentally in error. This error is compounded by Pimentel’s failure to compare ethanol’s net energy with the net energy of gasoline. The comparison is easily done. Science, one of the most prestigious of scientific journals, last year published a graph comparing the amount of fossil energy (and other inputs) required to make 1 MJ of gasoline and 1 MJ of ethanol (from corn or cellulosics). From their analysis, ethanol’s net energy is its energy value minus the sum of all the fossil energy inputs required to make ethanol. Based on 1 MJ of ethanol produced, net energy is calculated as 1.0 – (0.04 + 0.28 + 0.41) equals +27%. By comparison, gasoline’s net energy is 1.0 – (1.1 + 0.03 + 0.05) equals -18%. Gasoline’s “net energy” is worse than ethanol’s. Net energy is an irrelevant concept, but the comparison between ethanol and gasoline is very valuable. We could have been saved much confusion and trouble if Pimentel had ever compared ethanol’s net energy with the net energy of gasoline. Comparisons between our realistic alternatives are absolutely essential for good decision making. Science’s data allow us to make another very important comparison: the amount of oil used to make gasoline versus the amount of oil required to make ethanol. Generating 1 MJ of gasoline requires 1.1 MJ of petroleum while only 0.04 MJ of petroleum is required to generate 1 MJ of ethanol from corn (according to Science magazine’s analysis). The reduction in petroleum required per unit of fuel energy delivered to the customer is therefore (0.04-1.1)/1.0 equals 106%. For corn ethanol, this is like improving vehicle mileage per unit of petroleum consumed by (1.1-0 .04)/0.04 equals 26.5 or nearly 27 fold, effectively a 2700% increase in vehicle miles traveled per gallon. So if your new car gets 30 miles per gallon, on ethanol you are effectively getting (30 x 27) or 810 miles per gallon of oil used. Not bad mileage! We have no other alternative liquid fuel that so greatly increases miles per barrel of oil.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
32 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
AT “Energy Negative” 3/6
Net energy is not relevant to the discussion of ethanol, not all MJs are created equal. Dale, Michigan State University, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, 2007
(Bruce, Received 3 April 2007; revised version received 23 May 2007; accepted 23 May 2007 Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com); “Thinking clearly about biofuels: ending the irrelevant ‘net energy’ debate and developing better performance metrics for alternative fuels” < http://www. everythingbiomass.org/Publications/tabid/443/Default.aspx>. Accessed on July 6, 2008) The net energy argument revolving around fuel ethanol off ers a textbook example of how not to think about biofuels and other alternative transportation fuels. For over 25 years a small but vocal group of critics has argued that ethanol from corn has a negative net energy. Simply stated, they argue that more fossil energy (petroleum, coal and natural gas) is used to produce ethanol than is delivered when ethanol is burned. Th eir viewpoint has been widely disseminated and is a major perceived drawback to ethanol. Net energy analysis is simple and has great intuitive appeal. It is also irrelevant and misleading. Here is why. Th e critics’ most recent paper1 concludes that corn ethanol has a –29% net energy. Net energy is defi ned as ethanol’s heating value (a fi xed, known quantity) minus the fossil energy inputs required to produce the ethanol. For convenience, the ethanol critics add up all fossil energy inputs as equivalent: one megajoule (MJ) of coal equals one MJ of petroleum equals one MJ of natural gas. Th is is the fundamental premise of net energy and it is completely wrong. All MJ are not created equal and cannot be added in this way. If all MJ were equal, then energy markets would refl ect that fact. But the energy markets do no such thing. At current prices, a MJ (or Btu) of natural gas is worth about 3.5 times a MJ of coal, and a MJ of petroleum is worth more than fi ve times a MJ of coal. A MJ of electricity is worth about 12 times a MJ of the coal raw material from which electricity is frequently generated. Clearly, all MJ are not created equal. Table 1 summarizes these data for various energy carriers. Th ese market realities summarized in Table 1 refl ect another underlying, fundamental reality. As discussed above, we do not value energy per se but rather the services or ‘qualities’ that the energy provides. For example, the energy in coal cannot directly light our homes. Coal must be converted to electricity in a power plant in order to provide many desired energy services. About 1 MJ of electricity is produced for every 3 MJ of coal burned. Using the defi nition of ‘net energy’ as given above, the net energy of electricity is electrical energy out minus the coal energy used, approximately –200%, much worse than the corresponding fi gure for ethanol. Are we going to turn off the lights because electricity has a terribly negative net energy? Th e logic of the ‘net energy’ argument would say ‘Yes, turn them off !’. Th e details of the net energy calculations of the ethanol critics have been criticized on numerous grounds, including: (1) byproducts of corn ethanol were not appropriately accounted for; (2) some data used are obsolete or inappropriate; (3) system boundaries were not appropriately drawn, etc. All of these criticisms are correct. But they miss the fundamental problem with net energy. Th e underlying premise of the net energy argument is wrong. Th e ‘net energy’ metric is mistaken at the very core – not at its margins. Diff erent energy carriers cannot be compared on a straight energy basis because all MJ are not created equal. In the real world, the diff erent ‘qualities’ of diff erent energy carriers must be considered. Apples are good for making apple juice; apples are not good for making orange juice. Petroleum is uniquely suited for making liquid fuels; neither coal nor natural gas are nearly so well-suited to make liquid fuels. Th e net energy calculation includes coal, petroleum and natural gas. Th us it is misleading and irrelevant as a public policy guide to use net energy to compare liquid fuel alternatives.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
33 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
AT “Energy Negative” 4/6
Their argument lumps all energy carriers together and compares them as one Dale, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, 2007
(Bruce, “Grassoline in your Tank, Myths and Realities about Biofuels,” 12/18/2007, http://www.everythingbiomass.org/Publications/tabid/443/Default.aspx, accessed on 7/6/08) Dr. Pimentel's critique of ethanol continues as it began years ago, unencumbered by valid comparisons and uninformed by different perspectives. A long list of baseless or misleading charges against ethanol is given, many of which cannot be answered in this short response. I will try to refute some charges, offer new perspectives, and outline how cellulosic ethanol can provide large amounts of fuel while improving the environment, enhancing rural economies, and increasing world food supplies. Dr. Pimentel emphasizes that his analysis includes 14 energy-consuming operations required for ethanol production. Even if 14,000 such operations were included, the analysis would still be irrelevant. One megajoule of coal is simply not equivalent to 1 MJ of petroleum. If you doubt this, try grinding up some coal, put it in your gas tank, and see how far you can drive on coal's energy content. Pimentel's "net energy" analysis is akin to adding 10 U.S. dollars, 10 Mexican pesos, and 10 Indian rupees to get $30— an absurdity. Different energy carriers and different currencies have different qualities. They cannot simply be added together as Dr. Pimentel does.
Cellulosic ethanol has a positive net yield, is more productive than corn ethanol and emits less carbon dioxide. Qi Bioenergy, blog on Ethanol, 08
(Wordpress, “Cellulosic Ethanol has Positive Net Yield,” 3/7, http://qibioenergy.wordpress.com/2008/03/07/cellulosic-ethanol-has-a-positive-net-yield/, date accessed: 6/29/08 A study from plant scientist Ken Vogel found cellulosic ethanol actually has positive netenergy yield. In a study for the federal government’s Agricultural Research Service in Nebraska, Vogel calculated all the energy that went in to producing cellulosic ethanol. According to Vogel, the study included “the energy used to make the tractors, the energy used to make the seed to plant the field, the energy used to produce the herbicide, the energy used to produce the fertilizer, and the energy used in the harvesting process.” His results? For every unit of energy used to grow the feedstock, Vogel says he could get almost 5.5 units worth of ethanol. That’s even more efficient than making ethanol from corn. And cellulosic ethanol emits far less carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, than corn-based ethanol. Cellulosic emits 80% less carbon dioxide than regular gasoline, while corn-based ethanol emits only 20 % less.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
34 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
AT “Energy Negative” 5/6
Switch grass provides almost five and a half times more energy than was used to make it and gives off 93% less green house gases than gasoline Schmer, Vogel, Mitchell, and Perrin, Researchers at the Academy of Science, 07
(M. R, K. P,, R. B, R. K, U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, “Net energy of cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass,” 11/21, http://www.ethanolrfa.org/resource/cellulosic/documents/0704767105v1.pdf, date accessed: 6/29/08) Perennial herbaceous plants such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) are being evaluated as cellulosic bioenergy crops. Two major concerns have been the net energy efficiency and economic feasibility of switchgrass and similar crops. All previous energy analyses have been based on data from research plots (<5m2) and estimated inputs. We managed switchgrass as a biomass energy crop in field trials of 3–9 ha (1 ha_10,000m2) on marginal cropland on 10 farms across a wide precipitation and temperature gradient in the midcontinental U.S. to determine net energy and economic costs based on known farm inputs and harvested yields. In this report, we summarize the agricultural energy input costs, biomass yield, estimated ethanol output, greenhouse gas emissions, and net energy results. Annual biomass yields of established fields averaged 5.2 -11.1 Mg_ha_1 with a resulting average estimated net energy yield (NEY) of 60 GJ_ha_1_y_1. Switchgrass produced 540% more renewable than nonrenewable energy consumed. Switchgrass monocultures managed for high yield produced 93% more biomass yield and an equivalent estimated NEY than previous estimates from human-made prairies that received low agricultural inputs. Estimated average greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cellulosic ethanol derived from switchgrass were 94% lower than estimated GHG from gasoline. This is a baseline study that represents the genetic material and agronomic technology available for switchgrass production in 2000 and 2001, when the fields were planted. Improved genetics and agronomics may further enhance energy sustainability and biofuel yield of switchgrass.
Wrong Lynd, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, 2003
(Lee R, National Commission on Energy Policy Forum “Cellulosic Ethanol Fact Sheet,” June 13th, http://www.energycommission.org/files/finalReport/IV.4.c%20%20Cellulosic%20Ethanol%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf accessed 6/29/08) Corn* is easier, and currently less expensive, to process into ethanol than is cellulosic biomass. However, cellulosic biomass is less expensive to produce than corn by a factor of roughly 2 on a per ton basis, and the amount of ethanol that can be produced per acre of land of a given quality is higher for cellulosic biomass than for to corn. Relative to corn, production of a perennial cellulosic biomass crop such as switchgrass requires lower inputs of energy, fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide, and is accompanied by less erosion and improved soil fertility. Finally, cellulosic biomass differs from corn kernels in that it contains substantial amounts of non-fermentable, energy-rich components that can be used to provide energy for the conversion process as well as to produce electricity (see discussion of energy balance below). Process energy for corn ethanol production is typically provided by coal or natural gas, although it would be possible for process energy to be provided by biomass in the future. The chemical composition of ethanol produced from corn and lignocellulose is identical. However, ethanol production and utilization cycles are different when cellulosic biomass is used as the raw material as a direct result of the features mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Key aggregate characteristics impacted by these features in addition to feedstock cost include process energy balance and greenhouse gas emissions. For ethanol production from corn based on current practice, fossil energy inputs into the production cycle represent about 2/3 of the energy content of the ethanol produced, and greenhouse gas emissions on a per mile basis are about 2/3 of a gasoline base case, representing an approximately 33% reduction. For ethanol produced from cellulosic biomass, the energy balance and greenhouse gas emissions are more favorable, as considered below (Section III).
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
35 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
AT “Energy Negative” 6/6
Cellulose is net-energy beneficial, requires little land-use and is environmentally preferable cornbased ethanol. Hill et al, , Departments of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior and Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, 2006
( Jason, Erik Nelson†, David Tilman*,§, Stephen Polasky*,†, and Douglas Tiffany, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol:103 iss:30 pg:11206 -11210 “Environmental, economic, and energetic costs and benefits of biodiesel and ethanol biofuels” Accessed via Highwire Press National Academy of Sciences < http://www.pnas.org.floyd.lib.umn.edu/content/103/30/11206.full#abstract-1>. Accessed on July 3, 2008.) Nonfood feedstocks offer advantages for these three energetic, environmental, and economic criteria. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), diverse mixtures of prairie grasses and forbs (24, 25), and woody plants, which can all be converted into synfuel hydrocarbons or cellulosic ethanol, can be produced on agriculturally marginal lands with no (24, 25) or low fertilizer, pesticides, and energy inputs. For cellulosic ethanol, combustion of waste biomass, such as the lignin fractions from biomass feedstocks, could power biofuel-processing plants. Although gains may be somewhat tempered by higher transport energy requirements, higher energy use for construction of larger and more complex ethanol plants, and possibly greater labor needs, resultant NEB ratios may still be >4.0 (26, 27), a major improvement over corn grain ethanol with its NEB ratio of 1.25 and soybean biodiesel with its NEB ratio of 1.93. Cellulosic ethanol is thought to have the potential to become cost competitive with corn grain ethanol through improved pretreatments, enzymes, and conversion factors (28, 29). The NEB ratio for combined-cycle synfuel and electric cogeneration through biomass gasification (30) should be similar to that for cellulosic ethanol and may convert a greater proportion of biomass energy into synfuels and electricity than is possible with cellulosic ethanol. In total, low-input biofuels have the potential to provide much higher NEB ratios and much lower environmental impacts per net energy gain than food-based biofuels. Global demand for food is expected to double within the coming 50 years (31), and global demand for transportation fuels is expected to increase even more rapidly (32). There is a great need for renewable energy supplies that do not cause significant environmental harm and do not compete with food supply. Food-based biofuels can meet but a small portion of transportation energy needs. Energy conservation and biofuels that are not food-based are likely to be of far greater importance over the longer term. Biofuels such as synfuel hydrocarbons or cellulosic ethanol that can be produced on agriculturally marginal lands with minimal fertilizer, pesticide, and fossil energy inputs, or produced with agricultural residues (33), have potential to provide fuel supplies with greater environmental benefits than either petroleum or current food-based biofuels
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
36 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
AT “No Refineries”
Corn ethanol plants are prepared to process cellulose ethanol. Dale, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, 2007
(Bruce E. A High Growth Strategy for Ethanol. Aspen Institute. April 10, “Impacts of Cellulosic Ethanol on the Farm Economy” < http://www.aspeninstitute.org/atf/cf/%7BDEB6F227-659B-4EC8-8F848DF23CA704F5%7D/EEEethanol3.pdf>. Accessed on June 29th 2008.) Transition to Cellulosic Ethanol—Another important consideration is that corn ethanol producers are likely to be among the “first adopters” of cellulosic ethanol technology. Corn wet and dry mills produce significant amounts of cellulose-rich residues. As cellulose conversion technology develops, it is probable that these residues will be converted to ethanol in existing corn ethanol plants, which already have the infrastructure, supply system and much of the technology required. Given this head start in cellulosic ethanol, as expertise accumulates and production costs decrease, there will be a strong incentive to expand cellulosic ethanol production at these corn ethanol facilities. Expansion will probably occur by bringing in corn stover and/or dedicated biomass energy crops to what were formerly corn ethanol plants, making these facilities the cellulose ethanol biorefineries of the future. Alternatively, corn ethanol producers may eventually decide to use their facilities to produce more valuable biobased chemicals such as succinic acid, propanediol, lactic acid, etc. from corn rather than making ethanol
Existing ethanol plants can be used for cellulose. Greene, senior researcher with the Natural Resources Defense Council, 2004 (Principal Author,
Nathanael, NRDC, December, “GROWING ENERGY: How Biofuels Can Help End America’s Oil Dependence” < http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/biofuels/biofuels.pdf>. Accessed on June 29th 2008.) While large-scale penetration of cellulosic biofuels will require growing millions of acres of dedicated energy crops, the first cellulosic biofuel production plants will almost certainly use agricultural or forest residues. The environmental impact of using these resources needs to be better understood, and to ensure the sustainability of the pathways we have studied, we have not relied on these residues. However, these residues are cheap and plentiful and will allow the first production plants, which will be more expensive to build, to avoid also having to pay the high cost of the first energy crops. The production plants currently under development and the one existing demonstration-scale facility followed this model. For feedstock, these plants use rice straw (a residue from rice cultivation), sugarcane bagasse (a residue from sugarcane cultivation), wheat, oat, and barley straw (a residue from cultivation of these grains), other agricultural residues, and municipal solid waste cellulosic residue. These plants have been proposed for California, Louisiana, and New York, and the demonstration plant was actually built in Ottawa. All of these locations have ample supplies of these residues. A 1999 study by Oak Ridge National Lab estimated that at $30 per dry ton, there would be more than 68 million tons of mill waste, forest residues, and agricultural residues—enough to produce more than 7 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuel. The states listed in Table 4 accounted for nearly 70 percent of these residue sources of cellulose.17 In addition to the low cost, some of the first plants are likely to take advantage of existing infrastructure. For instance, corn ethanol facilities already have all the equipment needed to handle ethanol and wastes. Such a facility could start by adding a test bed to prove the potential of the key technology advances and then eventually expand, adding a complete cellulosic biofuels production line. The same evolution could happen on the thermochemical side, with a biopower facility adding a gasification and biofuels synthesis production line. While state policies or special case resources may attract the first cellulosic fuel plants anywhere, all else being equal, we expect the first plants to be located at sites with low-cost feedstock and existing bioenergy infrastructure.
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AT “No Cars”
Yes, cars can use it: Ethanol is the only alternative energy that could be used right now to run most cars in the US
Greer, Contributing editor to biocycle and researcher specializing in green business and alternative energy, 2005 (Diane, Biocycle, “Creating Cellulosic Ethanol: Spinning Straw into Fuel,” april 2005, http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0505/enews_0505_Cellulosic_Ethanol.htm/, 6/29/08). One of the attractions of biofuels is they can be utilized in today's internal combustion engines with little or no changes. "The only source of liquid transportation fuels to replace oil is biomass," says Greene. "Everyone is excited about hydrogen but there are some very serious technical and infrastructure challenges. If you can stick with a liquid fuel which is compatible with our infrastructure and the vehicles we use, it is an easier transformation." Light duty cars and trucks can already run on gasoline containing 10% ethanol. There are an estimated 1.2 million flex-fuel cars on the road capable of running on a wide range of biofuels including E85, a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. "Manufacturing flex-fuel vehicles is a trivial change," said Dechton. "It costs less than $200 per vehicle. They are selling them now and people do not know that they are buying them."
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You use more water and emit more carbon dioxide producing Oil then Cellulosic Ethanol Dale, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, 2007
(Bruce, “Grassoline in your Tank, Myths and Realities about Biofuels,” 12/18/2007, http://www.everythingbiomass.org/Publications/tabid/443/Default.aspx, accessed on 7/6/08) Ethanol is said to require lots of water. Actually, gasoline production uses more than 10 times as much water as does corn ethanol production. It is true that plants transpire about 200 kg of water per kg of dry plant matter produced. So what? The water transpired by plants originally fell as rain or snow and is purified as it passes through the plant to the atmosphere where it will fall again as rain or snow. When has water quality ever been improved by contact with petroleum? Ethanol production is said to release large amounts of carbon dioxide and "sewage" and to promote soil erosion. Actually, all water discharges must meet local regulations. Soil erosion on U.S. cropland has declined by almost 50% in recent years. No one knowledgeable about cellulosic ethanol believes that the process is energy intensive. Process residues, when burned, will provide more than enough steam and electricity to run cellulosic ethanol plants. Perennial grasses, grown as energy crops, will be important feedstocks for cellulosic ethanol production. Significantly increasing their per-acre yields is very achievable. Contrary to Dr. Pimentel's assumption of 100 gal of cellulosic ethanol per acre, about 500 gal per acre is currently possible, with 1,500 gal per acre a feasible 10-year goal. Perennial grasses are excellent builders of soil, and they sequester large amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide. They also trap inorganic nitrogen in plant matter, thereby reducing nitrous oxide (a potent greenhouse gas) and limiting nitrate leaching to ground- and surface waters.
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## Advantages ##
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The plan promotes clean development Spaulding 04 [Raci Oriona, J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law, May 2004; M.A. Economics,
University of Iowa, May 2004 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, Spring, 2003, 13 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 277, Lexis] In addition to cleaning up the U.S. environment, and therefore a significant part of the world's environment, an RFS could benefit the international community by promoting clean development. Historically, Western industrial
development has been accompanied by major environmental detriment around the world. <=147> n146 The United States and many European countries pushed their way into the industrialized world by using mass industry. <=148> n147 The consequence of this reliance on industry was mass pollution. <=149> n148 In retrospect, it is obvious that industrial development did not come without an environmental price: serious air and water pollution.
Because biofuels result in significantly less harmful emissions, industrial development in an age of RFSmandated biofuels will be more environmentally friendly, even though industry will still push the process along. Instead of burning fossil fuels as the United States did during the Industrial Revolution, the developing world will burn biofuels to feed industry, power plants, and automobiles. In addition to being environmentally friendly, biofuels will speed the rate of economic development experienced by these countries because biofuels will increase demand for domestic crops and reduce oil imports. The fuel needed for industrial expansion will come from domestic farmers and money otherwise used to import energy will be kept in the country. Higher demand for biofuel energy will result in higher income for farmers. <=150> n149 Those farmers, therefore, will have more income to spend on products mass produced by industry. As demand for those products increases, industries will increase supply and, consequently, demand more energy from the farmers. This cycle will increase the rate of development by keeping money within the country. <=151> n150
The plan fosters sustainable development Spaulding 04 [Raci Oriona, J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law, May 2004; M.A. Economics,
University of Iowa, May 2004 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, Spring, 2003, 13 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 277, Lexis] An RFS will also promote sustainable development by fostering technological innovation which will ultimately be available to other countries. While those nations who are required to make reductions under Kyoto will meet their obligations by using mechanisms such as emissions trading and carbon reducing projects in other countries, they will not solve the problem of high domestic emissions through innovation. By targeting greenhouse gas culprits on its own, however, the United States will force companies to figure out cost-saving technologies that can be transferred to developing countries. Throughout its history, as the United States has encountered obstacles, it has innovated and found ways to surmount them more economically and efficiently. <=157> n156 There is no reason to think the United States would not behave [*300]in a similar way when dealing with renewable fuels. By having a requirement in place, it becomes economically efficient for companies to develop lower cost technologies. The development and transfer of new technology is critical so that countries may "leapfrog the dirty, resourceintensive development pattern successfully pursued by the rich countries, to both raise incomes and stabilize population growth. To do this, rich countries need to develop clean technologies since they have the resources to do so." <=158> n157 According to experts, "perhaps only by taking timely unilateral action of this kind at home can the United States make it possible for poorer nations to escape from their dependency on fossil fuels for affordable industrial development." <=159> n158
By making available fuel options other than oil, United States adoption of an RFS will help advance sustainable development in the developing world. Many economists support the proposition that "reasonably priced energy is the lifeblood of any economic system," <=160> n159 and oil is the major source of energy in developing nations. The problem with oil is that it is very costly: paying exorbitant costs to import it serves to keep poor countries poor. With the proper technology, these countries could use local feedstocks and labor to meet their energy needs. By producing at home, they will reduce the demand for foreign oil and invest in their own country. Brazil has shown that reducing foreign oil dependence is possible. By growing sugar to produce ethanol, Brazil has reduced its oil imports by fifty percent. <=161> n160
Renewable energy may give the economy enough fuel to push the country into the next stage of development. Should this happen, it will be a greener revolution than the western countries experienced during their industrial revolutions. Development depends on great amounts of energy. In the past, this energy-dependent progress came at the cost of the environment. Today the stage is set for a new development that will utilize cleaner energy sources; the environment no longer has to be sacrificed.
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Ethanol creates Job & Economic growth The Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, A non-profit organization that supports the increased production and use of fuels that can reduce air pollution and oil imports, 2004
(“Ethanol from Biomass America’s 21st Century Transportation Fuel,” August 24th www.ethanolgec.org/information/hewlettproposal.pdf, Accessed on 7/9/08) Growth in the ethanol industry creates domestic jobs through plant construction, operation, maintenance, and support — mostly in rural communities. The ethanol industry has grown to 74 plants in 19 states, which support 214,000 jobs in the nation, mostly in rural communities. The construction of 15 plants (or 550 million gallons of capacity) is planned for 2004. On average, each ethanol plant supports 41 full-time jobs and nearly 700 jobs throughout the entire economy. This has a profound impact on rural America where a decline in employment has placed increasing burdens on our cities, infrastructure, and tax base. James Woolsey, a member of the National Commission on Energy Policy, has estimated that by using only the current inventory of CRP lands and without taking any land out of food production or adding marginal lands, it is theoretically possible to produce enough biomass ethanol to replace 20 percent of the oil the nation uses for transportation — at current fuel efficiency and SUV ownership rates. Adding rice straw, corn stalks, and other agricultural residuals would raise the replacement ratio to 33 percent, which equals almost 60 percent of the nation’s total import volume. Reducing the transportation sector's reliance on oil is clearly the key to improving the nation's energy security, economy, and environment. Century Transportation Fuel is a comprehensive initiative to increase the production and use of biomass ethanol. Technologies presently at the research and development stage are expected to be competitive in the future. However, one way of helping them achieve this transition sooner in the United States is through the adoption of supportive policies and market- based incentives. These policies and incentives can help increase the role of biomass in the U.S. — the benefits that are linked to vital factors in the continuing stability of America: the economy, environment, and energy security. The Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, in collaboration with the Hewlett Foundation, can accelerate the increased use of biomass for the production of ethanol by identifying legislative and policy initiatives needed to stimulate the market for biomass-based ethanol by addressing the following two primary questions: • Why is the production of ethanol from non-grain feedstocks necessary? Examples of the areas to be examined are job creation, rural economic development, energy security, homeland security, the environment, and production feedstocks and technology.
We cause job & economic growth RFA Renewable Fuels Association, organization for promotion of AE. Last date cited, 2008
“Cellulosic Ethanol” http://www.ethanolrfa.org/resource/cellulosic/ Accessed: 6/29/08 Producing ethanol from cellulose promises to greatly increase the volume of fuel ethanol that can be produced in the U.S. and abroad. A recent report found the land resources in the U.S. are capable of producing a sustainable supply of 1.3 billion tons per year of biomass, and that 1 billion tons of biomass would be sufficient to displace 30 percent or more of the country's present petroleum consumption. Importantly, it offers tremendous opportunities for new jobs and economic growth outside the traditional "grain belt," with production across the country from locally available resources. Cellulose ethanol production will also provide additional greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
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Cellulose ethanol eases the transition to hydrogen cars Jaffe, editor ar The Scientist Maganize, 2004
(Washington Monthly, July/August, “Independence Way”< www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0407.jaffe >. Accessed on July 4, 2008.) The good news is that we don't have to wait to build the perfect fuel cell. If mass-produced cellulosic ethanol pans out, it's still a better fuel--for our environment and our security--than gasoline or old-fashioned ethanol. By expanding our domestically-raised supply of cellulosic ethanol, we can begin the slow process of weaning ourselves off Middle East oil. (It only costs about $50 to retrofit a car to run on ethanol alone.) Because ethanol doubles as an internal combustion fuel, we can begin creating an ethanol infrastructure even as fuel-cell research continues apace. Once fuel-cell technology matures, Detroit can start making cars that don't require internal combustion engines but run on the same fuel as cars already on the road. By 2020, the United States could have a transportation economy that spews only trace amounts of pollutants, adds no carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and runs entirely on domestically produced fuel.
Hydrogen power is made possible by investment in cellulosic ethanol. Jaffe, editor ar The Scientist Maganize, 2004
(Washington Monthly, July/August, “Independence Way”< www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0407.jaffe >. Accessed on July 4, 2008.) There is, however, a better way of storing the hydrogen needed for fuel cells: in ethanol, each molecule of which bundles six hydrogen atoms, two carbon atoms, and one oxygen atom into a package far more compact than gaseous hydrogen. Until recently, no one could figure out how to unbundle the ethanol molecules in an energy-efficient way. But Lanny Schmidt, a chemical engineer at the University of Minnesota, may now have found a silver bullet. He has developed a glass tube containing a series of metal plates about the size of a Bic lighter. Made out of the exotic metals rhodium and cerium, these plates can suck the hydrogen out of ethanol and feed it into a fuel cell. (Ironically, Schmidt had been looking for a catalyst that would strip hydrogen from plain old gasoline, but the ethanol turned out to work even better.) "We can produce about 85 percent pure hydrogen right now," he says. "And there's no reason to believe that we can't push that up to another 10 percent.
We ease the transition Doty, 2003
(F. David December, updated 3/06 “Our Transportation Energy Future.” <www.dotynmr.com/PDF/Doty_ Practical_Energy_Brief.pdf.> Accessed on July 4, 2008) Simply changing priorities in existing hydrogen R&D programs will not bring a useful solution within 30 years and probably not within 70 years, as futuristic energy technology projections beyond five 3. years by scientific organizations have a history of being overly optimistic. (For example, controlled fusion has been 40 years away for the past 50 years.) We must rapidly ramp up all promising renewable options to avert another doubling in the price of oil and major climate change in the not-too-distant future. Advanced biodiesel processes from waste and energy crops (mustard, rape, peanuts, sunflowers, sesame, soy, pumpkin, and high-oil algae) [10, 11], combined with hydrocracking of the glycerin byproduct into simple alcohols, are extremely promising in the near term . Major investments are also needed into cellulosic ethanol , bio-methanol , and mixed-alcohols from poplars, pines, hemp, and switchgrass . It's time we start
putting some serious money into real options for renewable energy to address global warming and our future transportation needs. And what about the longer range outlook, seventy years from now, will bio-mass be adequate? Undoubtedly, wind, solar, and clean coal with carbon sequestration will need to play a larger role, as will advance fission options. A particularly promising option (likely to receive increased attention now that the price of uranium has increased by more than a factor of five in the past five years) is the Radkowsky thorium/uranium fuel system . Its advantages include: (1) much more energy available; (2) much more proliferation resistant; (3) easily configured to burn up existing plutonium of all grades; (4) much less waste to store; (5) less toxic waste; and (6) more compatible with high burn-up of long-lived waste isotopes. But even if hydrogen is being produced at low cost at advanced
fission power plants thirty years from now, the primary intermediary in transportation will still not be hydrogen. Hydrogen simply isn't the best way to power vehicles. It will never compete with biofuels in the transportation arena from any perspective – cost, safety, convenience, reliability, or sustainability. For now, our first priority should be practical solutions for the next thirty years.
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Municipal Solid Waste can be converted into ethanol, thereby reducing the amount of waste put into landfills Greer, Contributing editor to biocycle and researcher specializing in green business and alternative energy, 2005
(Diane, Biocycle, “Creating Cellulosic Ethanol: Spinning Straw into Fuel,” april 2005, http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0505/enews_0505_Cellulosic_Ethanol.htm/, 6/29/08). Industrial wastes and municipal solid waste (MSW) can also be used to produce ethanol. Lee Lynd, an engineering professor at Dartmouth, has been working with the Gorham Paper Mill to convert paper sludge to ethanol. "Paper sludge is a waste material that goes into landfills at a cost of $80/dry ton," says Lynd. "This is genuinely a negative cost feedstock. And it is already pretreated, eliminating a step in the conversion process." Masada Oxynol is planning a facility in Middletown, New York, to process MSW into ethanol. After recovering recyclables, acid hydrolysis will be employed to convert the cellulosic materials into sugars. "The facility will provide both economic and environmental value," explains David Webster, Executive Vice President of Masada. From an environmental standpoint, the process reduces or eliminates the landfilling of wastes. By-products of the process include gypsum, lignin and fly ash. "Under normal operations, enough lignin will be recovered to make the plant self-sufficient in energy," notes Webster.
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Gulf Dead Zones 1/2
Cellulosic ethanol production reduces fertilizer runoff which reduces the development of dead zones in the Gulf Butler, Heavily involved with the rainforest since 1995, 2008
(Rhett, Mongabay, “Cellulosic ethanol production could fight Gulf Dead Zone, help fisheries,” 01-16-08, http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0116-ethanol.html, accessed 06-29-08) Feedstocks for cellulosic ethanol production could help fight the massive "dead zone" that forms each year in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of current farming practices, says a University of Alabama in Huntsville biologist. The hypoxic or dead zone, an expanse of water so devoid of oxygen that sea life cannot live in it, partly results from the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers for corn crop. With corn acreage rapidly expanding in the U.S. under subsidies for ethanol production, more fertilizers are ending up in the Gulf: each year an estimated 210 million pounds of excess nitrates are carried to the Gulf promoting massive algae blooms that fuel the hypoxia. Dr. Gopi Podila of UA Huntsville says that a shift toward cellulosic ethanol — which uses farm waste, weedy grasses, and fast-growing trees as feedstocks — could reduce the need for fertilizers while offering higher yields for biofuel production. "Ethanol from cellulose, whether from trees or other sources, will be the way to go in the very near future," he said. "Trees are cheaper to raise than corn, have a competitive yield and they don't need as much of the fertilizers that are causing all of the problems in the Gulf. These trees also offer the U.S. a realistic option for producing enough renewable energy to make a meaningful dent in fossil fuel imports." Podila says that fast-growing trees for cellulosic ethanol production may also be cheaper than corn and could grow on marginal lands. "For one thing, there are some trees like poplar and aspen, where you could get a harvest every five or six years but you would only have to plant once every 30 to 40 years because they grow back from the roots. That is a significant cost savings, if only for the fuel used for planting and harvesting every year," he said. "Many of these trees and grasses like switchgrass will grow on land that might have marginal value for farming. Maybe it is too steep for planting or too dry for farming, but that wouldn't be as much of a problem for trees. You could have an extra crop growing on land that isn't presently productive. There are vast areas of marginal land in the U.S. that could be used for this purpose without having an impact on other crops." While some environmentalists are concerned about invasive energy feedstock species, Podila says that some native species are good candidates for cellulosic ethanol production, including southern poplar and sweet gum in the southeastern United States.
We reduce fertilizer & pest & weed killer run off Lynd, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, 2003
(Lee R, National Commission on Energy Policy Forum “Cellulosic Ethanol Fact Sheet,” June 13th, http://www.energycommission.org/files/finalReport/IV.4.c%20%20Cellulosic%20Ethanol%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf accessed 6/29/08). Agricultural production of cellulosic biomass is widely thought to entail decreased environmental impacts and some significant environmental benefits as compared to production of row crops. Rates of
erosion are exceedingly low for perennial grasses, and field data and models indicate that soil organic matter and fertility increase over time under grass cultivation even with regular harvest. Nutrient capture rates are very high due to the extensive root system of perennial grasses,
with loss of nutrients to water sources corresponding low. Anticipated rates of pesticide and herbicide application are much lower for energy crops than for row crops. Elements removed from the soil as
part of harvesting biomass must be replenished by additives to the soil, but there is potential to recycle such elements from the processing facility back to the field. Several studies associate conversion of cropland from row crops to perennial grasses with improved water quality, fertility, and wildlife habitat. Effluents from biomass processing facilities are amenable to
conventional treatment technologies and are not expected to present a significant burden on the environment if managed responsibly.
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Gulf Dead Zones 2/2
Corn Ethanol exacerbates the Gulf Dead Zone Cornell, Lead Writer for Gas 2.0, 2007
Clayton B., Green Options, “Ethanol Incentives Contribute to Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, October 20th, http://greenoptions.com/author/claytonbodiecornell, Accessed on 7/9/08) It looks like ethanol subsidies may impede efforts to reduce the size of the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. A draft report from the EPA Science Advisory Board says that ethanol subsidies could lead to a dramatic increase in nutrient loading in the Mississippi river basin, due to diverting cropland to corn production. Recent energy policies, combined with pre-existing crop subsidies, tax policies, global market conditions and trade barriers all provide economic incentives for conversion of retired and other cropland to corn production for use in ethanol production. Such conversions could lead to corn production on an additional 16 million acres… The Dead Zone, an area in which there isn’t enough dissolved oxygen to support aquatic life, has been measured in the Gulf of Mexico since 1985. It’s caused by agricultural runoff overenriching the waters at the end of the Mississippi River - the downstream effect of millions of acres of intensely fertilized crops. Nitrogen and phosphorous, intended for corn but ending up in the river, make their way to the Gulf causing excessive phytoplankton production. In the process, all available oxygen is used up (hypoxia), and marine life has to move out or suffocate. It turns out that the greater Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB) drains a grand total of 40% of the contiguous United States. The cumulative effect of all this runnoff creates a Dead Zone approximatly 20,500 sq. km. - roughly the size of the state of New Jersey. To address this issue, the Science Advisory board recommends a 45% reduction in nitrogen and phosphorous fluxes from farmland. Unfortunately, recent trends pushing corn-based biofuels are not exactly aligned with this strategy: Certain aspects of the nation’s current agricultural and energy policies are at odds with the goals of hypoxia reduction and improving water quality. . .[A]n emerging national strategy on renewable fuels has granted economic incentives to corn-based ethanol production. Without some change to the current structure of economic incentives favoring corn-based ethanol, N[itrogen] loadings to the MARB from increased corn production could increase dramatically in coming years, rather than decreasing, as needed… The alternative is cellulosic ethanol and avoiding corn-based fuels altogether: Alternatively, the use of perennial crops and other feedstocks for cellulosic ethanol requires a more complex refining process that produces more net energy and results in lower fertilization and thus less nutrient runoff than corn-based ethanol. The Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico is a symptom our farming practices, and converting cropland to grow fuel will only exacerbate the problem. This is just another chapter in the corn-based ethanol saga. The EPA’s Science Advisory Board will vote on approval of the draft report in December.
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Oil Dependence 1/5
Cellulose will drastically reduce oil dependence Greer, Contributing editor to biocycle and researcher specializing in green business and alternative energy, 2005
(Diane, Biocycle, “Creating Cellulosic Ethanol: Spinning Straw into Fuel,” april 2005, http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0505/enews_0505_Cellulosic_Ethanol.htm/, 7/3/08). In the Grimm Brother's fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin spins straw into gold. Thanks to advances in biotechnology, researchers can now transform straw, and other plant wastes, into "green" gold cellulosic ethanol. While chemically identical to ethanol produced from corn or soybeans, cellulose ethanol exhibits a net energy content three times higher than corn ethanol and emits a low net level of greenhouse gases. Recent technological developments are not only improving yields but also driving down production cost, bringing us nearer to the day when cellulosic ethanol could replace expensive, imported "black gold" with a sustainable, domestically produced biofuel. Cellulosic ethanol has the potential to substantially reduce our consumption of gasoline. "It is at least as likely as hydrogen to be an energy carrier of choice for a sustainable transportation sector," say the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Union of Concerned Scientists in a joint statement. Major companies and research organizations are also realizing the potential. Shell Oil has predicted "the global market for biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol will grow to exceed $10 billion by 2012." A recent study funded by the Energy Foundation and the National Commission on Energy Policy, entitled "Growing Energy: How Biofuels Can Help End America's Oil Dependence", concluded "biofuels coupled with vehicle efficiency and smart growth could reduce the oil dependency of our transportation sector by two-thirds by 2050 in a sustainable way."
We drastically reduce oil dependence Woolsey, Former CIA Director, and Lugar, Senator, 2002
(R. James, Richard, Trends in new crops and new uses, “The New Petroleum,”<http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ newcrop/ncnu02/pdf/woolsey.pdf> Accessed on July 4, 2008)
One of the most vulnerable of these networks is our energy distribution system and one of its greatest vulnerabilities is our reliance on petroleum for transportation fuel and for the feedstock used to produce a substantial share of our chemicals, fibers, and plastics. We consume about a quarter of the world’s petroleum although we now have only about 3% of the world’s oil reserves. Increasingly, as other fields around the
world reach peak production and thus see increased production costs, the rest of us will come to rely on the twothirds to three-quarters of the world’s proven reserves that lie in the Middle East. This is not a recipe for stability. We would be far better served by moving toward using cellulosic biomass (e.g. agricultural and forest wastes, prairie grass) as a feedstock both for our transportation fuel, such as ethanol
made from such feedstocks, and for the production of chemicals of all kinds. Other waste-to-energy technologies are available to convert an even wider range of organic wastes—from used tires to chicken manure—into energy and useful chemicals and fertilizers. In this way we can also begin to rejuvenate the economy of rural America, since most such waste products are bulky and expensive to transport and thus the facilities and employees that process them into useful products will ordinarily be relatively near the farms and forests from whence the feedstocks come. We need to move to forge a coalition between those who care about rural America and its farm communities, those who want to promote development in poor nations overseas whose economies are rooted in agriculture, those who are concerned about the environment, and those who are worried about the security implications of our being dependent on a volatile Middle East—call it a coalition of the farmers, the do-gooders, the tree huggers, and the cheap hawks. So expanded, such a
coalition has a chance of bringing about a transition from an economy rooted in hydrocarbons to one rooted in the productivity of agricultural America—carbohydrates and more. This is a transition that is long overdue. America’s scientists have invented the genetically modified biocatalysts that can convert farm and forest wastes into both ethanol for transportation fuel and other useful chemicals. They have also invented processes to convert other organic waste products into energy, fertilizer, and the chemical building-blocks for modern society. Their ingenuity nicely matches the productivity of the American farmer and the glorious expanses of rich land in this country. In light of what our scientists, our farmers, and our natural resources can do when brought together—and in light of the threats to us that were made manifest to all by the events of last September 11—there is no excuse for this coalition’s not moving forward, and prevailing. What in the world are we waiting for?
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Oil Dependence 2/5
Cellulosic biofuels avoid oil dependence Green, Senior policy analyst on energy policy, and Mugica, Research associate at NRDC, 05
(Nathanael, Yerina, "Bringing Biofuels to the Pump: An Aggressive Plan for Ending America’s Oil Dependence" Natural Resource Defense Council, Volume: 1, July, Page 1)
Cellulosic ethanol can generate an equivalent of more than two thirds of current gasoline consumption Bullis, Nanotechnology and Materials Science Editor, 07
(Kevin, Technology Review Published by MIT, “Will Cellulosic Ethanol Take Off?”, 2-26-07, http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=biofuels&id=18227&a=, accessed 0629-08) Cellulosic ethanol is attractive because the feedstock, which includes wheat straw, corn stover, grass, and wood chips, is cheap and abundant. Converting it into ethanol requires less fossil fuel, so it can have a bigger effect than corn ethanol on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Also, an acre of grasses or other crops grown specifically to make ethanol could produce more than two times the number of gallons of ethanol as an acre of corn, in part because the whole plant can be used instead of just the grain. That's good news because many experts estimate that corn-ethanol producers will run out of land, in part because of competing demand for corn-based food, limiting the total production to about 15 billion gallons of fuel. (Already, corn-ethanol plants-existing and planned, combined--have a capacity of about 11 billion gallons.) The greater productivity of cellulosic sources should eventually allow them to produce as much as 150 billion gallons of ethanol by 2050, according to a report by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). That's the equivalent of more than two-thirds of the current gasoline consumption in the United States.
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Oil Dependence 3/5
Investment in Cellulosic ethanol solves oil dependency National Security Task Force, 06
(American Progress, “Energy Security in the 21st Century,” July, http://www.americanprogress.org/kf/energy_security_report.pdf, date accessed: 6/29/08 Reduce dependence on foreign oil and natural gas. In the years to come, countries in the Middle East and other unstable regions are poised to control an increasing share of the world’s oil and natural gas markets. The United States must meet this challenge by diversifying its energy mix away from oil, maximizing domestic production of fossil fuels while complying with rigorous environmental standards, curtailing energy demand, and hedging against the threat of supply disruption by diversifying sources of supply for itself and its allies. • Set a goal of producing at least 25 percent of the liquid fuel consumed in the United States from renewable sources by 2025.To achieve this goal, both the federal government and industry must boost their investments in biofuels, particularly in the research and development of cellulosic ethanol. An aggressive strategy to replace oil and gas with renewable fuels cannot rely solely on corn based ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol, meanwhile, has the potential to become the most cost-effective liquid fuel source for the United States. In the future, it could require little — if any — government support, especially in a carbon constrained economy where the market will put a premium on cleaner burning low carbon fuels.
Cellulosic ethanol key to ridding the US of its addiction to oil Ethanol and Biodiesel News ‘07
“Energy Department awards $385M cellulose-to-ethanol funding” March 5th 2007. Proquest.umi.com. Accessed 6/30/08 The projects "could eventually change the way we run our entire transportation sector in America. It's a big deal," said Bodman. "Ultimately, success in producing inexpensive cellulosic ethanol could be the key to eliminating our nation's addiction to oil," Bodman said in a statement. "By relying on American ingenuity and on American farmers for fuel, we will enhance our nation's energy and economic security." The DOE has also jointly funded a five-year research initiative with the assistance of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and South Dakota State University.
Accelerating the development of biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol protects us from terrorism-induced oil addiction Macfarlane, National Security Advisor to Reagan, ‘08
Robert, Wall Street Journal“Don’t Give up on Energy Independence” May 7th 2008. Proquest.umi.com. Accessed 6/30/08 The same sustained growth in China's and India's economies that is contributing to the rise of food prices is matched by a corresponding increased demand for oil, which promises to keep oil prices high for the foreseeable future. Given the tightness of supply -- with very little excess production capacity anywhere in the world -- if oil flows from the Persian Gulf were disrupted (as al Qaeda has promised, and which could easily happen), we would see oil at more than $200 per barrel overnight. And it would stay at that level until the damage is repaired -- a period of up to a year -- during which time the global economy would likely fall into deep depression. Fortunately, we have the means to relieve this strategic vulnerability. There are four policy measures to alleviate this threat and in the process lower the global price of oil and dramatically reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases: -- Accelerate the introduction of second-generation biofuels (e.g. cellulosic ethanol and methanol) which don't rely on any food crop as feedstock, and should not require any government subsidy.
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Oil Dependence 4/5
Cellulose ethanol is the pathway toward reducing our dependence on foreign oil Schmer et al, Researchers at the US dept of agriculture. 2007
M.R., PNAS “Net Energy of Cellulosic Ethanol from Switchgrass” November 21st 2007 http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/short/105/2/464 Renewable biofuel economy is projected as a pathway to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and enhance rural economies (1). Ethanol is the most common biofuel in the U.S. and is projected to increase in the short term because of the voluntary elimination of methyl tertiary butyl ether in conventional gasoline and in the long term because of U.S. government mandates (2, 3). Maize or corn (Zea mays) grain and other cereals such as sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) are the primary feedstock for U.S. ethanol production, but competing feed and food demands on grain supplies and prices will eventually limit expansion of grain-ethanol capacity. An additional feedstock source for producing ethanol is the lignocellulosic components of plant biomass, from which ethanol can be produced via saccrification and fermentation (4). Dedicated perennial energy crops such as switchgrass, crop residues, and forestry biomass are major cellulosic ethanol sources that could potentially displace 30% of our current petroleum consumption (5).
Dependence on oil is a major risk of conflict and international security. Biofuels can solve. Governors Ethanol Coalition, Bipart group of US and international members, 05
(Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, “Ethanol from biomass,” April, http://www.ethanol-gec.org/GEC_biomass_rept_412-05.pdf, Date accessed: 6/26/08) The Governors’ Ethanol Coalition believes that the nation’s dependence on oil is a major risk to our energy, economic, and environmental security. National security is linked to energy through the dependence of this country and many others on imported oil — much of it located in politically troubled parts of the globe. As such, the potential for large-scale failures in the global production and distribution system presents a real threat. The combination of political tensions in major oil-producing nations along with oil demand growth from China and India has set in motion the pattern of energy price volatility witnessed in recent years — creating periodic drags on the economy, increasing the trade deficit, and setting the stage for far more serious consequences. The safest and cheapest way to mitigate these risks is to set and achieve a goal of providing at least 5 percent of the nation’s transportation fuel from ethanol by 2010, and to produce at least 8 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2012. As soon as practical thereafter, the nation should produce at least 10 percent of its transportation fuel from ethanol and biodiesel, including at least 1 billion gallons a year from biomass-derived ethanol.
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Oil Dependence 5/5
We eliminate foreign oil dependence Spaulding 04 [Raci Oriona, J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law, May 2004; M.A. Economics,
University of Iowa, May 2004 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, Spring, 2003, 13 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 277, Lexis] . Decreasing Foreign Oil Dependence Implementing an RFS will help the United States decrease its dependence on foreign oil by creating a domestic source of energy. Decreasing dependence would be beneficial both to strengthen U.S. national security and to decrease the trade deficit, thereby boosting the U.S. economy. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have renewed the United States' interest in reducing energy imports. <=111> n110 This is because "America's economic prosperity and national security depend on the availability of reliable, affordable energy." <=112> n111 Leading analysts have noted that "U.S. military presence in the Gulf, especially in Saudi Arabia, [was] a significant motivating factor behind the Al Qaeda network's attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, the World Trade Center towers, and the Pentagon." <=113> n112 U.S. money used to purchase Saudi oil is most likely what funded the attacks. <=114> n113 Given this alarming information, it is possible that Congress may pass an RFS to strengthen national security, not to comply with its international environmental obligations. Regardless of the motivation, an RFS would improve both national security and the environment. One way to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil is to mandate an amount of fuel that must come from renewable sources, the goal of an RFS. An RFS would decrease the United States' dependence on foreign oil because it decreases its demand for oil by replacing it with renewable fuels. "Tripling ethanol use" alone "could replace the need for imported oil." <=115> n114 According to former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency James Woolsey, "one of the critical actions that must be taken now is to advance America's energy security ... through transportation fuels like ethanol ... [and] slow the dollars to the Middle East, where too many of those dollars have been used to buy weapons and fund terrorist activities." <=116> n115 The September 11 tragedy "served as a reminder of [the United States'] ever-growing dependence on oil that flows from an unstable region of the world." <=117> n116 Foreign oil dependence has become an increasing problem for the United States' economy as well. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, [*294] "since 1992, U.S. oil production has fallen by 17%, while consumption has increased 14%. Projections indicate this rift will grow larger as our energy needs continue to outpace domestic production." <=118> n117 Studies indicate that while "today, oil imports account for 56% of [U.S.] consumption", by 2020 these imports could grow to nearly 70%. <=119> n118 U.S. dependence on foreign oil is so great that "the U.S. spends $ 300 million per day for imported oil, totaling more than $ 100 billion per year." <=120> n119 Experts note that, "alarmingly, Iraq represents the fastest growing source of U.S. oil imports." <=121> n120
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Cellulosic ethanol can make a $2 gallon possible again Wolf, Staff Writer, 08 (Richard, The Tennessean, "No quick fix for rising gas prices," 6-15-8, http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080615/NEWS01/806150418/1006,629-8)
One sure way to cut fuel costs is to find a substitute for gasoline. Bush signed legislation this year mandating that ethanol comprise 21 billion gallons, or 15 percent of motor fuel, by 2015, and 36 billion gallons by 2022. Today, two-thirds of gasoline sold in the U.S. contains about 10 percent ethanol, saving consumers about 10 cents per gallon of gasoline, says Matt Hartwig of the Renewable Fuels Association. The higher mandate by 2015 could boost the per-gallon savings to 20 cents, he says. By 2012, U.S. automakers plan to roll out large numbers of "flexible fuel" vehicles that can handle blends with up to 85 percent ethanol. Yet at such high levels, corn-based ethanol costs 30 cents a gallon more than regular unleaded gas because of its lower mileage, AAA says. The answer: cheaper cellulosic ethanol, being developed, made from switch grass, wood chips and municipal solid waste. Such ethanol, if widely used, could bring back $2-per-gallon gas, says David Friedman of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Cellulosic ethanol is at least several years away because breaking down the waste materials into sugar-based fuel is challenging.
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Ethanol key to save small farms Glickman, Secretary of the National Association of Agricultural Journalists, 98
(Dan, Release No. 0178.98, April 20, 1998 http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/1998/04/0177 accessed 7/3/08) Right now, my top priority is a very good, bipartisan agriculture research bill. It would invest $1.7 billion in agricultural research which is critical to increasing farm productivity and income; rural development efforts; and crop insurance, so producers have a reliable program that they can count on in the years ahead.
This bill also restores food stamp benefits for legal immigrant families. That's the right thing to do with this pot of funds which comes from savings in how we run the food stamp program. It's only appropriate that a good chunk of this money go back into feeding hungry people.
This is a good bill. It unites farm and anti-hunger interests which always have been a winning combination in terms of getting important farm legislation through Congress.
Unfortunately, since Congress didn't pass our bill before the recess, if this bill doesn't pass quickly, our funding may be gobbled up by a very costly highway funding bill. I'm sure you've read about this one in the papers. It would tip over our balanced budget efforts. And, if this highway bill passes before our research bill, it could take our entire $1.7 billion in funding with it. That can't happen. Congress needs to pass the research bill first, so these funds are spent where they're needed most -- helping farmers and our nation's hungry. This really is the week to get this done. ETHANOL TAX EXEMPTION
I hope most of you know that I've started a bi-weekly radio address. This afternoon, I'll have a special guest with me -- Vice President Gore. We're going to talk about the importance of
Congress extending the ethanol tax exemption. This is a high priority for this Administration.
At a time when small farms are struggling, ethanol is providing a critical economic lifeline to many family farms. The bulk of the industry's growth today comes from small farmers joining together in co-ops that produce and sell ethanol.
We cause rural growth Governors Ethanol Coalition, Bipart group of US and international members, 05
(Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, “Ethanol from biomass,” April, http://www.ethanol-gec.org/GEC_biomass_rept_412-05.pdf, Date accessed: 6/26/08) The use of ethanol, particularly biomass-derived ethanol, can produce significant savings in carbon dioxide emissions. This approach offers a no regrets policy that reduces the potential future risks associated with climate change and has the added benefit of economic development. In fact, ethanol’s power to bring economic growth to small farms, agricultural cooperatives, and larger agribusiness concerns is already being realized in some rural areas of the nation. Continuing the growth trend through the production of biomass-derived ethanol can make current production more efficient and diversify feedstocks to include such sources as corn stover, wood waste, municipal solid waste, and grasses– offering the potential for ethanol production in every region of the nation.
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Switchgrass is more effective at preventing soil erosion and water pollution than other crops. Greene, senior researcher with the Natural Resources Defense Council, 2004)
(Principal Author, Nathanael, NRDC, December, “GROWING ENERGY: How Biofuels Can Help End America’s Oil Dependence” < http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/biofuels/biofuels.pdf>. Accessed on June 29th 2008.) On average, switchgrass requires less fertilizer, herbicide, insecticide, and fungicide per ton of biomass than corn, wheat, and soybeans. The difference in these levels is telling of both the amount of upstream energy and related pollution that different crops require, but it also gives insight into the sources of water pollution. When these chemicals are applied to crops, they can either be absorbed by the plant or the soil or seep into groundwater supplies or nearby waterways. Modeling done for this report gives a clearer comparison of the level of actual runoff of nitrogen—one of the most important agriculture-related sources of water pollution.27 Here we have modeled the level of nitrogen absorption for switchgrass, corn, and soybeans when all three crops are provided with more than ample supplies of the fertilizer. If we assume that these crops absorb the same amount of nitrogen when more typical amounts of fertilizer are applied, then the rest presumably ends up leaching into groundwater or running off into surface water. Because switchgrass is more effective at absorbing nitrogen, just under 10 kilograms per hectare per year of a typical application ends up as water pollution. This is less than one-eighth of the runoff from a hectare of corn and three-fifths of the runoff from soybeans. While applications of fertilizers are becoming more strategic for traditional crops such as corn and soybeans, switchgrass is likely to benefit from these same techniques and thus should result in dramatically less water pollution from agricultural fertilizer runoff for the foreseeable future. Because switchgrass is a perennial and has a much more extensive root structure than traditional row crops, cultivating switchgrass also results in dramatically less soil erosion. Previous analysis suggests that erosion from switchgrass is between 11 and 110 times less than corn and generally less than all other agricultural crops except for pasture and hay.28 (See Table 8.) Modeling done for this report shows even greater differences in erosion, with switchgrass resulting in 0.9 ton/hectare/year of soil loss while corn and soybeans result in 67 and 109 tons/hectare/year respectively.
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Increasing Ethanol production will decrease the trade deficit The Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, A non-profit organization that supports the increased production and use of fuels that can reduce air pollution and oil imports, 2004
(“Ethanol from Biomass America’s 21st Century Transportation Fuel,” August 24th www.ethanolgec.org/information/hewlettproposal.pdf, Accessed on 7/9/08) The ability to produce ethanol from low-cost biomass is essential to making ethanol competitive with gasoline and significantly displacing imported petroleum. The benefits to the nation of using ethanol to displace petroleum are clear: • Economic Growth Developing a strong biomass ethanol industry in the United States will have tremendous economic benefits including trade deficit reduction, job creation, and strengthening of agricultural markets. Growth of biomass industries can create new markets and employment for farmers and foresters, many of whom currently face economic hardship. • U.S. Trade Deficit and Oil In 2003, the United States imported nearly $130 billion of energy-related petroleum products, which accounted for over 25 percent of the $490 billion total U.S. trade deficit in goods and services. The nation’s dependence on oil has resulted in the transfer of $1.16 trillion to oil-producing countries over the last three decades. This transfer of wealth is expected to continue as the nation’s foreign oil dependency increases. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that each $1 billion of trade deficit costs the nation 27,000 jobs. In 2003, the importation of foreign petroleum products cost the nation 3.5 million jobs.
The plan keeps money in the US LaMonica, Staff Writer, 07
(Martin, CNET, “Cellulosic ethanol: A fuel for the future?,” 8/27, http://news.cnet.com/Cellulosic-ethanol-A-fuelfor-the-future/2100-11392_3-6202328.html, date accessed: 6/29/08) As the biomass program manager for the Georgia Forestry Commission, Dartnell is impatiently waiting for construction to begin next month of a plant that will convert forestry wastes into ethanol, a car fuel. The facility is an important test to see whether lumber and agricultural by-products, rather than corn or sugar cane, are an economically viable "feedstock" for ethanol production. Behind the plant is Range Fuels, a startup headed by a former Apple executive and financed by famed Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. Dartnell hopes this project, eligible for up to $76 million in U.S. Department of Energy grants, will lead to many more plants--and a new industry--in the state. "This gives us energy security and it keeps all the money in-state," said Dartnell. "Today, if we buy a tank of gasoline, a lot of money ends up with the oil reserve owners and refiners, and it's spread all around the world."
We solve it Spaulding 04 [Raci Oriona, J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law, May 2004; M.A. Economics,
University of Iowa, May 2004 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, Spring, 2003, 13 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 277, Lexis] Furthermore, almost half of the United States trade deficit is caused by oil imports. <=122> n121 If the United States maintains its current rate of oil importation, many believe oil will likely account for sixty to seventy percent of the U.S. trade deficit in the next ten to twenty years. <=123> n122 The United States could drastically reduce its reliance on foreign oil, and thereby decrease the federal trade deficit by enacting an RFS. Even without the existence of an official RFS, ethanol use alone has already decreased the U.S. trade deficit by $ 2 billion each year. <=124> n123 Under an RFS, energy requirements will be met by renewable sources produced domestically, which will decrease the demand for oil and decrease the need to import it. This result is critical given predictions that within the next two decades, petroleum imports will account for sixty to seventy percent of the U.S. trade deficit if importation continues at its present rate. <=125> n124 Trade deficits are undesirable because they weaken the value of the dollar and instigate fear in stock market investors that foreign investors will take their money elsewhere. <=126> n125 These factors contribute to stock market crashes and depressions. <=127> n126 An RFS would help prevent these phenomena by decreasing the need for oil importation which would reduce the U.S. trade deficit
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Trade Wars 1/2
The plan avoids European trade sanctions Spaulding 04 [Raci Oriona, J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law, May 2004; M.A. Economics,
University of Iowa, May 2004 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, Spring, 2003, 13 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 277, Lexis] An RFS could provide the United States and the international community with a solution to the global climate change problem superior to the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto would have allowed the United States to use flexibility mechanisms to meet its reduction obligations, allowing it to ignore domestic emissions. Because the United States did not ratify Kyoto, it must take [*305] unilateral domestic action since it is bound by the UNFCCC. An RFS will allow the Unites States to meet its obligations under this treaty while combating domestic emissions. An RFS has the potential to solve many domestic and international problems. First, it will reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil which strengthens national security and reduces the U.S. trade deficit, thereby boosting the economy. Second, it will create demand for agricultural products, alleviating many of the problems currently faced by American farmers. Third, implementing an RFS will assist U.S. businesses because the United States would demonstrate its commitment to the environment and the international community, making it less likely that other countries will use trade sanctions against it. The rest of the world would also benefit from a U.S. renewable fuels standard. The world environment would improve because the world's largest polluter, the United States, would reduce its carbon emissions. A U.S. RFS also has the potential to help poor countries transition into the next phase of development and help many of the world's poorest attain a higher standard of living by eliminating U.S. farmer subsidies and transferring technology to poor countries. While the Kyoto Protocol would have allowed the United States to skirt its environmental responsibilities, an RFS will produce tangible domestic emissions reductions. As the world's largest polluter, the United States must combat carbon emissions; it should do so by passing domestic legislation rather than by adhering to the Kyoto Protocol.
It avoids attacks on US exports Spaulding 04 [Raci Oriona, J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law, May 2004; M.A. Economics,
University of Iowa, May 2004 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, Spring, 2003, 13 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 277, Lexis] Passage of an RFS will also help U.S. businesses adjust to the negative consequences of the U.S. refusal to ratify Kyoto. An RFS will help U.S. companies in two similar ways. First, without an RFS, countries that did not sign the Kyoto Protocol cannot participate in carbon credit trading. <=142> n141 This is alarming to many United States businesses that have operations in Kyoto-participating countries because those countries will require them to comply with Kyoto without the benefit of carbon trading. <=143> n142 In short, this means that U.S. companies doing business in Kyoto-participating nations will be forced to reduce emissions at their plants in those nations. With an RFS in place, [*297] however, the United States would be able to show that it is not shirking its responsibilities to the environment and the rest of the world. It is possible that this would encourage member nations to change the provision in Kyoto to allow emissions trading for U.S. companies abroad. <=144> n143 It is plausible that they would do this to keep American companies operating, and therefore generating taxes and revenue, in their countries. By allowing U.S. companies to trade emissions, they could continue to compete with local companies who have the trading option. Second, an RFS would benefit exporting U.S. businesses because, theoretically, demand for their products would increase. Today, many export companies find that other nations "use international trade treaties and conventions to attack U.S. products because of U.S. failure to ratify Kyoto ... Established law principles suggest that such efforts should fail, but there could be substantial costs associated with defending that kind of challenge." <=145> n144 With an RFS in place, foreign countries would no longer have the desire to block U.S. products because an RFS would demonstrate U.S. commitment to the global environment without ratifying Kyoto.
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The plan spurs completion of the Doha round Spaulding 04 [Raci Oriona, J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law, May 2004; M.A. Economics,
University of Iowa, May 2004 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, Spring, 2003, 13 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 277, Lexis] A U.S. RFS would promote sustainable development in poor countries by reducing American farmer subsidies and by transferring renewable technology. Both are essential to assist these countries in becoming a part of the industrialized world. [*299] The international community would gladly welcome RFS-induced reductions in American farmer subsidies. In fact, at the last World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting held in Doha, Quatar, talk centered on reducing farmer subsidies. <=152> n151 At this meeting, many argued that farmer subsidies distort the price of crops by keeping the price artificially low, thus preventing farmers in poorer countries from competing with U.S. farmers. <=153> n152 The discussion regarding farmer subsidies was not unique. Farmer subsidies are a major point of contention at each WTO conference. <=154> n153 Representatives from poor countries that depend mainly on agriculture for their livelihood typically argue that subsidies given to farmers in developed countries exacerbate developing nations' poverty by keeping prices artificially low, while the United States and other developed countries who can afford to pay subsidies argue they are necessary to maintain a suitable standard of living for their farmers. <=155> n154 An RFS could provide a solution to both concerns by raising crop prices. An increase in U.S. crop prices will increase the price in the world market, thus allowing poor countries to compete. <=156> n155 If enacted, an RFS would allow this to happen by eliminating the need for U.S. farmer subsidies. As subsidies are removed, the price of many crops will increase and poor farmers will be able to get more money for their crops. Furthermore, an RFS will increase demand for crops as the need for biofuel energy grows. This will keep crop prices high, thus allowing international farmers the chance to make a profitable living from farming.
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Cellulosic ethanol, unlike grain based ethanol has green house reductions of 80% compared to oil Greer, Contributing editor to biocycle and researcher specializing in green business and alternative energy, 2005
(Diane, biocycle, “Creating Cellulosic Ethanol: Spinning Straw into Fuel,” april 2005, http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0505/enews_0505_Cellulosic_Ethanol.htm/, 7/3/08). Grain based ethanol utilizes fossil fuels to produce heat during the conversion process, generating substantial greenhouse gas emissions. Cellulosic ethanol production substitutes biomass for fossil fuels, changing the emissions calculations, according to Michael Wang of Argonne National Laboratories. Wang has created a "Well to Wheel" (WTW) life cycle analysis model to calculate greenhouse gas emissions produced by fuels in internal combustion engines. Life cycle analyses look at the environmental impact of a product from its inception to the end of its useful life. "The WTW model for cellulosic ethanol showed greenhouse gas emission reductions of about 80% [over gasoline]," said Wang. "Corn ethanol showed 20 to 30% reductions." Cellulosic ethanol's favorable profile stems from using lignin, a biomass by-product of the conversion operation, to fuel the process. "Lignin is a renewable fuel with no net greenhouse gas emissions," explains Wang. "Greenhouse gases produced by the combustion of biomass are offset by the CO2 absorbed by the biomass as it grows."
Cellulose ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 85% of gas, and has a plentiful supply. Choi, The Korea Herald, 7-18-06 (Hee-suk “[TECH ANALYSIS]Can cellulosic ethanol fuel the
future?” Lexis Nexis, June 30, 2008) According to the U.S. Energy Department, combustion of cellulosic ethanol produces less green house gases compared to both sugar-based ethanol and gasoline. Combustion of ethanol made from sugar reduces green house gas emissions by 18 percent to 29 percent compared to gasoline but cellulose ethanol reduces greenhouse gases emissions by up to 85 percent. Another advantage of cellulosic ethanol is the plentiful supply of the raw material. Unlike sugar and starch, the whole of the plant contains cellulose, therefore the whole plant can be harvested, multiplying the yield per acre. Agricultural waste like straw and grass can be used as sources of cellulose. Because the plants are not grown as food supplies, plants such as switch grass can be grown on land unsuitable for food production. John Ashworth, of the U.S. Department of Energy, believes that in the United States alone over one billion tons of material for cellulosic ethanol production becomes available every year, enough to produce 100 billion gallons of ethanol. Collection of one billion tons of such material may not be possible, but Ashworth believes cellulosic ethanol could replace up to 40 percent of the United States' annual gasoline consumptions. This could be the silver bullet for our future energy needs.
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Switchgrass is GSG negative and eliminates GHG better than any other biofuel. Schmer et al., U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, at the University of Nebraska, 2007
(M. R. *, K. P. Vogel, R. B. Mitchell, and R. K. Perrin, Agricultural Economics Department, University of Nebraska. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. November 11. “Net energy of cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass” < http://www.pnas.org.floyd.lib.umn.edu/content/105/2/464.full?sid=585687c9-1c474a17-aab0-98b3591542c3>. Accessed on July 3, 2008) Life-cycle analysis models have quantified the amount of either GHG emitted from ethanol or GHG displaced by shifting to an ethanol energy source from a petroleum energy source (8, 10, 21–23). For switchgrass, studies have estimated the amount of GHG displaced by the amount of harvested material that is converted to ethanol (8, 10, 23). Others have determined the amount of GHG displaced by the amount of harvested material and by the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered into the soil profile (24, 25). The amount of soil carbon sequestration by reintroduction of perennial grasses to a field depends on existing soil C concentration, soil type, climate, precipitation, management, and annual biomass production (26, 27). Soil carbon levels on low-input switchgrass fields (29 soil types) have been shown to increase over time, across soil depths, and are higher than adjacent cropland fields in the Northern Plains (26). Switchgrass managed for bioenergy on multiple soil types in the Northern Plains was carbon-negative, sequestering 4.42 Mg C ha−1·y−1 into the soil profile (27). In this analysis, the amount of GHG emissions displaced using ethanol from switchgrass over conventional gasoline was estimated based on biomass yields by both fossil fuel displacement (9) and the estimated carbon dioxide sequestered as soil C for 100 yr by switchgrass on converted cropland (28). Life-cycle analysis estimated that ethanol from switchgrass averaged 94% lower GHG emissions than from gasoline (Fig. 5; see also SI Table 5). Switchgrass fields were GHG-positive, -neutral, or -negative, depending on agriculture input amounts (mainly N fertilization) and subsequent biomass yields. Three of the 5 harvest yr showed farms averaging near-GHG neutral levels. GHG emissions of ethanol from switchgrass, using only the displacement method, showed 88% less GHG emissions than conventional gasoline (8). The use of lignaceous biomass residue for energy at a cellulosic biorefinery is the main reason why switchgrass (8) and humanmade prairies (19) have theoretically lower GHG emissions than biofuels from annual crops, where processing energy currently is derived from fossil fuels (11).
Cellulose ethanol reduces 90% of the greenhouse gas emissions that petroleum relesases, and is the most promising resource to replace oil Tuck, The Globe and Mail (Canada), 2006
(Simon, “Goldman Sachs sees green in biofuel firm; Investment bank taking stake in Iogen, a leader in cellulose ethanol technology”, May 1st, B3) Cellulose ethanol, which can be used as a fuel or a fuel additive, and is considered greener than standard gasoline or even grain-based ethanol, is made from organic materials such as corn stalks, straw and other agricultural waste. The fuel is considered a potential boon for farmers because it could create a viable market for materials that are now largely discarded and could also add another leg to Canada's fast-growing energy sector. And, according to one of Wall Street's most successful financial services companies, cellulose ethanol also represents a good investment. Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, said Iogen is "one of a number of investment opportunities in the renewable energy sector that Goldman Sachs has identified and believes has the potential to yield attractive returns." Development of the fuel was given a big boost last week by U.S. President George W. Bush, who cited it - along with biodiesel and hybrid motors - as one of the promising technologies for reducing dependence on foreign oil. During a speech in Washington on confronting high gasoline prices, Mr. Bush set a goal of ensuring that cellulose ethanol is affordable within six years. Many environmental groups say cellulose ethanol is superior to grain-based ethanol because it's made largely from waste, not food, and that it emits 90 per cent less carbon dioxide than regular gas. John Bennett, energy policy adviser for the Sierra Club of Canada, said cellulose ethanol also allows oil companies to use an organic oxygen booster in gas rather than one with heavy metals. "Cellulose ethanol really is the hope of the future."
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Cellulosic ethanol emits only 10% of the green house gasses that gas does Lynd, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, 2003
(Lee R, National Commission on Energy Policy Forum “Cellulosic Ethanol Fact Sheet,” June 13th, http://www.energycommission.org/files/finalReport/IV.4.c%20%20Cellulosic%20Ethanol%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf accessed 6/29/08). The photosynthetic production of biomass removes from the atmosphere the same amount of CO2 that is returned upon conversion and utilization. The extent to which the ideal of a sustainable carbon cycle (zero net greenhouse gas emissions) is approached depends on the fossil energy inputs required used in the feedstock production/conversion/utilization cycle. Since such inputs are very low in the case of cellulosic ethanol (above), net greenhouse gas emissions are also very low. Several detailed life cycle studies have concluded that greenhouse gas emissions accompanying use of cellulosic ethanol are less than 10% accompanying use of gasoline, and zero or negative net greenhouse gas emissions have been estimated for some scenarios.
It cuts greenhouse emissions by 94% as compared to gasoline Schmer et al, Researchers at the US dept of agriculture. 2007
M.R., PNAS “Net Energy of Cellulosic Ethanol from Switchgrass” November 21st 2007 http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/short/105/2/464 Life-cycle analysis estimated that ethanol from switchgrass averaged 94% lower GHG emissions than from gasoline (Fig. 5; see also SI Table 5). Switchgrass fields were GHG-positive, -neutral, or -negative, depending on agriculture input amounts (mainly N fertilization) and subsequent biomass yields. Three of the 5 harvest yr showed farms averaging near-GHG neutral levels. GHG emissions of ethanol from switchgrass, using only the displacement method, showed 88% less GHG emissions than conventional gasoline (8). The use of lignaceous biomass residue for energy at a cellulosic biorefinery is the main reason why switchgrass (8) and human-made prairies (19) have theoretically lower GHG emissions than biofuels from annual crops, where processing energy currently is derived from fossil fuels (11).
It causes a massive drop in CO2 emissions Osborne, Office of Competition and Economic Analysis, 2007
(Stefan, 2007 Manufacturing and Services Competitiveness Report, November “ Energy in 2020: Assessing the Economic Effects Of Commercialization of CellulosicEthanol” This is the html version of the file http://www.trade.gov/media/publications/pdf/cellulosic2007.pdf. Accessed on June 29 2008) Benefits of Reduced Emissions from Ethanol Consumption Use of cellulosic ethanol could reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions. A gallon of gasoline emits about 25 pounds of carbon dioxide–equivalent GHG emissions. Cellulosic ethanol can achieve about an 85 percent reduction in GHG emissions relative to gasoline, resulting in a reduction of 21.25 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per gallon of gasoline equivalent.25 The current futures price associated with carbon dioxide emissions reductions in the European carbon dioxide trading market is $20 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent. On the basis of this price, we calculate that the value of using cellulosic ethanol in terms of GHG reductions is about $0.193 per gallon.26 Producing an additional 19.25 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol would displace about 12.9 billion gallons of gasoline, which would reduce GHG emissions by about 123 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.27 At $20 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent, the economic value to the U.S. economy of reduced GHG emissions would be about $2.5 billion per year. This benefit is in addition to the other favorable findings, such as $12.6 billion in additional consumption.
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Burning Biomass would reduce carbon emissions McCarl, Professor for the Department of Agricultural Economics, Uwe, Research associate for Texas A&M University, 2008
(Bruce A., A., Review of Agricultural Economics, “U.S. Agriculture's Role in a Greenhouse Gas Emission Mitigation World” www.jstor.org/stable/1349934, 1/07 Acessed on 6/30/08) Substitution for fossil fuels generally involves using agricultural products as feedstock for electrical power plants or inputs to liquid fuel production. The power plant alternative involves burning agricultural biomass in the form of switch grass or short rotation woody crops to offset fossil fuel use for electricity 141 generation. Burning biomass instead of fossil fuel would reduce net CO2 concentration into the atmosphere because the photosynthetic process involved with biomass growth removes about 95% of CO2 emitted when burning the biomass (Kline, Hargrove, and Vanderlan), causing a recycling of the emissions. Fossil fuel combustion, however, releases the contained CO2 without compensation. A number of studies have examined the costs of biomass fuel substitution (recent ones are summarized in table 4). The cost of CO2 offsets with biomass- fueled electrical power plants can be computed from the results in McCarl, Adams, and Alig. Dividing their estimates of the extra costs of using biomass as opposed to coal by the difference in carbon dioxide emissions4 yields an estimate of average abatement costs. McCarl, Adams, and Alig estimates indicate that a million BTUs from biomass will cost $1.45 to $2.16 as opposed to a coal cost of $0.80 (U.S. DOE 1998a). The corresponding average costs of reducing carbon emissions by one metric ton are between $25 and $55
Cellulose can reduce green house gas emissions by 86% Karsner, Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 2008
(Alexander, Testimony Before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, United State Senate, June 12th, http://energy.senate.gov/public/_files/Karsner612FoodvFuelTestimonyFINALcorrected.doc, Accessed on 7/2/08 Evidence suggests that corn ethanol is not the primary driver affecting worldwide food prices. To help meet our long-term energy needs, the Department’s biomass research and development activities are designed to move toward non-food feedstocks that have the potential to have an even greater positive environmental impact. The biomass feedstocks of today include grains (corn, sorghum, wheat), as well as oilseeds and plants (such as soybeans). The feedstocks of tomorrow will come from a variety of sources such as wastes and residues and fast-growing energy crops. These future feedstocks will consist of agricultural residues like stalks, stems, and other crop wastes, as well as forest resources such as wood waste, forest thinnings, and small-diameter trees. Examples of energy crops include switchgrass, miscanthus, and hybrid poplar trees, in addition to oilseeds and oil crops like algae and jatropha. Some of these promising energy crops can grow on marginal soils, and they can actually sequester carbon. Forest resources, green wastes, and sorted municipal solid waste will also play a role As I noted earlier, research to date suggests that today’s ethanol has a positive energy balance—that is, the energy content of corn ethanol is greater than in the fossil energy used to produce it. In the future, cellulosic ethanol is expected to improve upon this by delivering four to six times as much energy as needed to produce it.1 Additionally, DOE research has shown that cellulosic feedstocks can reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 86 percent compared to gasoline.2
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We solve better than Kyoto Spaulding 04 [Raci Oriona, J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law, May 2004; M.A. Economics,
University of Iowa, May 2004 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, Spring, 2003, 13 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 277, Lexis] 1. Improving the World Environment An RFS would positively impact the world's environment by reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. As there are no borders on the atmosphere, actions taken by each state in the international community affect all others in terms of environmental harm. Consequently, reductions in the biggest polluter's emissions will work wonders for the environment in general and for bordering nations in particular. Further, the world environment will benefit more from an RFS than it would have from U.S. participation in Kyoto. As a number of scholars have postulated, "even when the United States was expected to ratify Kyoto, a substantial portion of its compliance was anticipated to come through tradable credits from projects elsewhere in the world, rather than from [*298] domestic reductions." <=146> n145 Under an RFS, however, the United States will not have the option of using the flexibility mechanisms offered under the Kyoto Protocol. Instead, the United States will be required to take action domestically. It is best for the environment that the world's largest polluter be forced to reduce its harmful emissions.
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Warming: Carbon Sequestration
Switchgrass has the ability to sequester carbon in the soil and lower greenhouse gasses. Greene, senior researcher with the Natural Resources Defense Council, 2004)
(Principal Author, Nathanael, NRDC, December, “GROWING ENERGY: How Biofuels Can Help End America’s Oil Dependence” < http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/biofuels/biofuels.pdf>. Accessed on June 29th 2008.) One aspect of air pollution is important to mention in the context of growing switchgrass: it has a superior ability to sequester carbon in the soil, substantially reducing the already very low life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from cellulosic biofuels. The substantial root base of switchgrass and the fact that it is a perennial grass allow it to sequester much more carbon per year in the soil than other crops that either have a shallower root base, or are tilled annually. Counterintuitively, the amount of soil carbon under switchgrass increases when the crop is harvested annually.29 This has the added advantage of improving soil organic matter levels, which raises the interesting prospect that switchgrass could be rotated with soilcarbon depleting crops. For instance, switchgrass could be grown for 10 years followed by a number of years of corn or soybeans. Of course, such practices would need to be studied extensively to understand the long-term soil carbon impacts and their overall sustainability. Figure 4 below shows how soil carbon levels improve over time under switchgrass depending on the condition of the soil before the switchgrass is planted.
Switchgrass can sequester carbon at higher rates than many fallowed soils. De La Torre Ugarte, Associate Professor Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Tenessee.
(Daniel G., Lixia He, Kimberly L. Jensen, Burton C. English, and Kaelin Willis*Post Doctoral Research Associate, Professors, and Graduate Research Assistant, respectively. Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Tennessee. Selected Paper, 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Agricultural Economics Association, Orlando, Florida “Estimating Agricultural Impacts of Expanded Ethanol Production: Policy Implications for Water Demand and Quality.” < http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/6700/2/44984. pdf>. Accessed via AgEcon on June 29th 2008.) Switchgrass has a high root mass and can sequester soil carbon at higher rates than many row crops and fallowed soils. Liebig, et al. compared soil carbon stocks in established switchgrass stand with stocks in nearby cultivated cropland. Their results indicated soil carbon benefits not only at near-surface depths, but also at greater depths. These results suggest that switchgrass is effective at deep storage of soil organic carbon. Findings from a study by Ma, Wood and Bransby suggest that after about 10 years of switchgrass culture, compared withfallow soils of similar type, soil organic carbon was 25 to 48 percent higher.
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## Disadvantage Answers ##
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NU: Government Signals Now 1/3
Perception isn’t unique: Government signals now CNN Money, 08 (CNN Money, " Aurora Initiates Equity Research Coverage on CleanTech Biofuels," 6-23-08, http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/0409607.htm, 6-29-08)
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has stated that his Department had set two important goals for biofuels. The first is to make cellulosic ethanol a practical and cost-effective alternative to gasoline by the year 2012. The second is to displace 30% of our current consumption of gasoline with biofuels by the year 2030. He further added that in order to reach this 30 by 30 goal, America must raise its production of biofuels from the current level of five billion gallons a year to 60 billion gallons a year. He pointed out that the Department of Energy was very interested in cellulosic ethanol because it seems to have the greatest near-term promise. Vehicles on the road today can use a blend of up to 10% ethanol with gasoline without voiding the warranty the manufacturer provides to consumers. There are also about 5 million vehicles on the road today that have been built to use up to 85% ethanol + 15% gasoline (known as E-85)
Current federal funding for biorefineries and research grants are in the millions. US Department of Energy, 2008.
(US Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Biomass Program, May 28 “New Farm Bill Speeds Commercialization of Advanced Biofuels.” <http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/news_detail.html?news _id=11789>.Accessed on June 29, 2008.) Congress passed a new farm bill on May 22 that will accelerate the commercialization of advanced biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol, encourage the production of biomass crops, and expand the U.S. Department of Agriculture's current Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program. Section 9003 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 provides for grants covering up to 30% of the cost of developing and building demonstration-scale biorefineries for producing "advanced biofuels," which essentially includes all fuels that are not produced from corn kernel starch. It also allows for loan guarantees of up to $250 million for building commercial-scale biorefineries to produce advanced biofuels. The bill funds the biorefinery program by drawing $75 million in funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for fiscal year (FY) 2009, increasing to $245 million by FY 2010. It also authorizes $150 million per year in discretionary funds for the program. Section 15321 of the bill establishes a new tax credit for producers of cellulosic biofuels, that is, biofuels produced from wood, grasses, or the non-edible parts of plants. The new cellulosic biofuel producer credit is set at $1.01 per gallon and applies only to fuel produced and used as fuel in the United States. In addition, Section 9005 of the bill provides $55 million in CCC funds in FY 2009 to support advanced biofuel production, increasing to $105 million by FY 2012. It also authorizes up to $25 million per year in discretionary funding. The more crop-oriented measures include Section 9010 of the bill, which allows the CCC to buy sugar from U.S. producers and sell it to bioenergy producers, and Section 9011, which creates the Biomass Crop Assistance Program to support the establishment and production of biomass crops.
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NU: Government Signals Now 2/3
The Energy Independence and Security Act mandates a 16 billion gallon increase in celloluse ethanol by 2022. Baker, pursuing a Ph.D. in economics at Iowa State University. Et al, 2008
(Mindy L., Dermot J. Hayes, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Chair in Agribusiness, professor of economics, and professor of finance at Iowa State University and Bruce A. Babcock , professor of economics and the director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University. Paper prepared for presentation at the American Agricultural Economics association Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, July 27-29, 2008. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University “Crop-Based Biofuel Production under Acreage Constraints and Uncertainty.” <http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream /6352/ 2/467340.pdf>. Accessed via AgEcon Databases on June 29 2008).
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) was signed into law in December 2007. This act mandates the use of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022, of which 15 billion gallons must come from corn-based ethanol and 21 billion from advanced biofuels, including 1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel and 16 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels. This new mandate means a significant increase in current biofuel production levels. Corn-based ethanol production was 1.63 billion gallons in 2000, and by the end of 2007
production reached 7.23 billion gallons (see http://www.ethanolrfa.org/industry/statistics/). This increase in corn ethanol production has led to record high nominal corn prices in 2008. Competition for acreage has transferred some
of the demand pressure experienced in corn markets to soybean and hay markets; the prices of these commodities have increased substantially as well.
Farm bill giving incentives for cellulosic fuels in the status quo RFA, Renewable Fuels Association, 08
(“Cellulosic Ethanol,” http://www.ethanolrfa.org/resource/cellulosic/, date accessed: 6/29/08) The farm bill, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, H.R. 2419, includes a new income tax credit for the producers of cellulosic alcohol and other cellulosic biofuels. The credit is $1.01 per gallon. If the cellulosic biofuel is ethanol, this amount is reduced by the amount of credit available for alcohol fuels generally (now assumed to be $0.45 per gallon in 2009). The credit will apply to fuel produced after 2008 and before 2013. For more information, click HERE.
Non-unique, Energy Bill for incentives for Cellulosic Ethanol was passed in 2006 Wald, Journalist for the New York Times, 2008
(Matthew G., New York Times, “G.M. Invests in Second Ethanol Process,” May 1st, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/01/business/01ethanol-web.html, accessed 7/1/08) In addition, the energy bill passed by Congress last year provides generous incentives for cellulosic ethanol. And it has the potential to cut carbon dioxide output from fuel use because the material from which it is made re-absorbs carbon from the atmosphere as it grows.
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Non-unique, incentives programs in squo now RFA, Association of CEO’s of green/renewable/alternative energy based companies, 05 (Renewable Fuels
Association, Cellulosic Ethanol, http://www.ethanolrfa.org/resource/cellulosic/, 6/29/08) The farm bill, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, H.R. 2419, includes a new income tax credit for the producers of cellulosic alcohol and other cellulosic biofuels. The credit is $1.01 per gallon. If the cellulosic biofuel is ethanol, this amount is reduced by the amount of credit available for alcohol fuels generally (now assumed to be $0.45 per gallon in 2009). The credit will apply to fuel produced after 2008 and before 2013. For more information, click HERE. Cellulose Provisions in H.R. 6 The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (H.R. 6), signed into law in December 2007, contains a number of incentives designed to spur cellulosic ethanol production. Establishes definitions for the renewable fuels program, including advanced biofuels and cellulosic biofuels. Advanced biofuels is renewable fuel other than ethanol derived from corn starch that is derived from renewable biomass, and achieves a 50% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction requirement. The definition – and the schedule -- of advanced biofuels include two subcategories: cellulose and biomass-based diesel. Cellulosic biofuels is renewable fuel derived from any cellulose, hemicellulose, or lignin that is derived from renewable biomass, and achieves a 60% GHG emission reduction requirement. (Cellulosic biofuels that do not meet the 60% threshold, but do meet the 50% threshold, may qualify as an advanced biofuel.) Authorizes $500 million annually for FY08-FY15 for the production of advanced biofuels that have at least an 80% reduction in lifecycle GHG emissions relative to current fuels. Authorizes $25 million annually for FY08-FY10 for R&D and commercial application of biofuels production in states with low rates of ethanol and cellulosic ethanol production. Click HERE for a more detailed summary of the celllose provisions in H.R. 6.
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The economic benefits of biofuels outweigh oil even if not cost-competitive. Greene, senior researcher with the Natural Resources Defense Council, 2004)
(Principal Author, Nathanael, NRDC, December, “GROWING ENERGY: How Biofuels Can Help End America’s Oil Dependence” < http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/biofuels/biofuels.pdf>. Accessed on June 29th 2008.) If we accounted for all of these costs when we calculated the cost of a gallon of gasoline or diesel, it’s likely that we would find that biofuels are already cost effective. For now, though, our research focuses on the traditional costs of these petroleum fuels. There are essentially two scenarios to consider. First, if biofuels and increased efficiency stalled the demand for oil, oil prices would decline—just like in a normal competitive market. Biofuels look less competitive, but the economic benefits are tremendous. If the price of every gallon of gasoline and diesel sold in theUnited States today were just one penny less, Americans would have $1.7 billion more in their pockets each year.8 Alternatively, OPEC might reduce production and keep supply tight enough that prices would basically stay the same. This is OPEC’s stated policy, but their ability to maintain prices over a long period of time is questionable. As biofuels start to compete, the price of gasoline and diesel stays the same. This makes biofuels look increasingly attractive. The benefits, however, are only as large as the market for biofuels. If biofuels are one penny less and we use only 1 billion gallons, then we will save only $10 million. If, however, we replace all of our gasoline and diesel with biofuels, the benefits would be the same $1.7 billion as in our first scenario. In other words, the scenario in which biofuels are more expensive than petroleum fuels—but only because they drive the price of these fuels down through competition— produces larger economic benefits. Unfortunately, under this first scenario, policy makers are likely to have an increasingly difficult time justifying biofuels unless everyone understands that biofuels are driving down the price of gasoline and diesel. Based on our detailed analysis of the potential for mature biofuels technologies, we believe that ethanol could be produced at prices as low as $0.39 per gallon. This is the equivalent of gasoline at $0.59 per gallon, which is well below both the average price for the last four years, which was $0.91 per gallon, and a forecast price for 2025 of $0.79 per gallon, based on Department of Energy forecasts for the price of oil. At the end of this report, we lay out a plan to replace more than 100 billion gallons of gasoline with biofuels. If this were sold at $0.59 instead of $0.79 per gallon, that would generate a savings to our economy of $20 billion per year.
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Brazil is self-sufficient because of domestic oil resevres and dependenc on foreign markets not ethanol. Victor, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Science and Technology, 2008
(David G., Houston Chronicle via the Council on Foreign Relations, April 15, <http://www.cfr.org/publ Ication/10461/learning_from_brazil.html>. Accessed on July 1 2008.) The Brazilian government is declaring victory in its decades-long struggle to become self-sufficient in the supply of oil. The milestone is cause for celebration in a country that has long paid a high price for imported energy. It will also reverberate here in the United States where policy-makers, too, are trying to wean the nation from costly imports, jittery markets and the foreign spigot. But we must learn the right lessons. Brazil’s success came not from treating oil as an addiction but by producing even more of the stuff and by becoming even more dependent on world markets. Here in the United States, most attention to Brazil’s fuel supply has focused on the country’s aggressive program to replace oil with ethanol that is made by fermenting homegrown sugar. American newspapers are filled with stories about Brazil’s famous “flex fuel” vehicles that make it easy to switch between ethanol and conventional gasoline. Guided partly by Brazil’s apparent success, American policy-makers are crafting new mandates for ethanol, and flex fuel vehicles are now taking shape. We have the impression that ethanol is king. In reality, ethanol is a minor player in Brazilian energy supply. It accounts for less than one-tenth of all the country’s energy liquids. The real source of Brazil’s self-sufficiency is the country’s extraordinary success in producing more oil. After the 1970s oil shocks, when Brazil’s fuel import bill soared, the government pushed Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company, to look asunder for new energy sources. Petrobras delivered, especially at home, where the firm pioneered the technologies that make it possible to extract oil locked in sediments under the seabed in extremely deep water. In the middle 1970s Brazil struggled to produce just 180,000 barrels of oil per day while importing four times that amount. Today it produces about 2 million and is self-sufficient. Indeed, the current milestone of self-sufficiency arrives with the inauguration of Brazil’s newest deep water platform, the “P50.” When P50 reaches its full output later this year, that one platform will deliver more liquid to Brazil than the country’s entire ethanol program.
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AT “Corn Ethanol Bad” 1/3
Cellulosic is different: Corn ethanol is merely a primer Ring, Staff Writer, 08 (Ed, EcoWorld, "Cellulosic Ethanol: What is it, can we make it cost effectively, and when?" 629-8, http://www.ecoworld.com/home/articles2.cfm?tid=462, 6-29-8)
In any event, corn ethanol isn't the ultimate solution to biofuel supplies, it is only a transitional fuel. This crucial point is often lost amid the controversy surrounding corn ethanol. It is cellulosic ethanol that has the potential to completely replace petroleum based fuel, and when cellulosic ethanol begins to arrive in high volume, a preexisting ethanol infrastructure - cars that run on ethanol, fueling stations that sell ethanol, and a transportation network to deliver ethanol to retailers - will need to be in place. Corn ethanol is priming the pump for the arrival of cellulosic ethanol. Within the next few years corn ethanol production in the United States is predicted to top 10 billion gallons. This is not a trivial amount of fuel, given the entire light vehicle fleet in the USA consumes only 15 times that amount. Corn ethanol has already reduced the demand for foreign oil for light vehicle use by about 6.5%. Nonetheless, critics who claim corn ethanol production cannot possibly increase enough to replace petroleum are correct. The math of these critics is elegant - 10 billion gallons of corn ethanol, at 2.8 gallons per bushel and 155 bushels per acre equates to 23 million acres, about 7% of America's active farm acreage. If you use corn ethanol to service 100% of America's fuel requirements for light vehicles, you use 100% of America's farmland. Once again, however, this math is missing the point. Corn ethanol, distilled from corn mash, is not the end of biofuel, it is just the beginning of biofuel. Even the impressive global production of ethanol from sugar cane is easily eclipsed by the potential of cellulosic extraction.
Corn ethanol uses more energy to create than it produces, cellulosic ethanol provides a practical $1 a gallon production cost Tannert, contributing writer to Popular Mechanics, 08 (Chuck, Popular Mechanics, Ethanol Makes Mini
Comeback: Live at the 2008 Auto Show, Jan 16, http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4244965.html?series=47, 6/30/08) DETROIT — There’s been a lot of talk about ethanol lately, most of it not very positive. But you wouldn’t know it from the E85 buzz here at the show. Most of the backlash comes from the simple fact that corn-based ethanol production doesn’t make sense financially—the numbers just don’t add up. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory says as much, flat out: “Today, 1 Btu of fossil energy consumed in producing and delivering corn ethanol results in 1.3 Btu of usable energy in your fuel tank.” And even that modest payback may be overstated. Skeptics cite the research of Cornell University professor David Pimentel, who estimates that it takes approximately 1.3 gal. of oil to produce a single gallon of ethanol. But there’s a silver lining to this rather gray outlook (besides the new biofuel rides described in our slide show below and throughout the show): Coskata, a startup biofuel company, has developed a new cellulosic process that can make ethanol from almost any carbon-rich source—including old tires—for less than $1 a gallon. That would be about half as much as making gasoline, and much cheaper than other nextgeneration biofuels. And that’s what got General Motors to invest bigtime.
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AT “Corn Ethanol Bad” 2/3
Cellulosic ethanol provides a number of advantages over corn ethanol Weeks, assistant director of energy projects in the Center for Business and Government of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, 2005
(Jennifer, BioCycle, “National Energy Commission Report Endorses Biofuels,” March http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0405/enews_0405_Energy_Commission_Report.htm Accessed on 7/3/08) The Commission found that cellulosic ethanol offered a number of benefits relative to corn ethanol. For example, life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from producing cellulosic ethanol are considerably lower because cellulosic feedstocks require fewer fertilizer and energy inputs than corn. Additionally, the commission assumed that cellulosic production facilities could co-produce electricity, which would displace power generated from fossil fuels. An analysis sponsored by the commission estimated that a mature cellulosic ethanol production process (which it acknowledged is at least a decade away) could produce fuel at a cost of 67 to 77 cents per gallon, compared to current production costs of about $1.40 per gallon for corn ethanol. The Commission also found cellulosic ethanol preferable to corn ethanol on the basis of available feedstocks. According to the report, even if 100 percent of the current U.S. corn crop were used to make ethanol (about seven percent is used for ethanol today), the output would only displace 25 percent of current gasoline use on an energy-equivalent basis. An analysis conducted for the Commission estimated that with reasonable improvements in crop productivity, biomass-to-fuel conversion processes, and vehicle fuel efficiency, the United States could produce enough biomass fuel feedstocks to displace half of the gasoline currently used by the nation’s passenger vehicles, without constraining food production. (Next month’s issue of BioCycle will have a detailed report on cellulosic ethanol.)
Cellulosic ethanol avoids the risks of corn-based ethanol. Ratliff,Contributing Editor at Wired Magazine, 2007
( Evan, September 24, “One Molecule Could Cure Our Addiction to Oil” Wired Magazine: Issue 15.10 Science : Planet Earth. <http://www.wired.com/print/science/planetearth/magazine/15-10/ff_plant.> Accessed on June 29 2008) While researchers work to bring down the costs of alternative energy sources, in the past two years policymakers have finally reached consensus that it's time to move past oil. The reasoning varies — reducing our dependence on unstable oil-producing regions, cutting greenhouse gases, avoiding ever-increasing prices — but it's clear that the US needs to replace billions of gallons of gasoline with alternative fuels, and fast. Even oil industry veteran George W. Bush has declared that "America is addicted to oil" and set a target of replacing 20 percent of the nation's annual gasoline consumption — 35 billion gallons — with renewable fuels by 2017. But how? Hydrogen is too far-out, and it's no easy task to power our cars with wind- or solargenerated electricity. The answer, then, is ethanol. Unfortunately, the ethanol we can make today — from corn kernels — is a mediocre fuel source. Corn ethanol is easier to produce than the cellulosic kind (convert the sugar to alcohol and you're basically done), but it generates at best 30 percent more energy than is required to grow and process the corn — hardly worth the trouble. Plus, the crop's fertilizerintensive cultivation pollutes waterways, and increased demand drives up food costs (corn prices doubled last year). And anyway, the corn ethanol industry is projected to produce, at most, the equivalent of only 15 billion gallons of fuel by 2017. "We can't make 35 billion gallons' worth of gasoline out of ethanol from corn," says Dartmouth engineering and biology professor Lee Lynd, "and we probably don't want to." Cellulosic ethanol, in theory, is a much better bet. Most of the plant species suitable for producing this kind of ethanol — like switchgrass, a fast- growing plant found throughout the Great Plains, and farmed poplar trees — aren't food crops. And according to a joint study by the US Departments of Agriculture and Energy, we can sustainably grow more than 1 billion tons of such biomass on available farmland, using minimal fertilizer. In fact, about two-thirds of what we throw into our landfills today contains cellulose and thus potential fuel. Better still: Cellulosic ethanol yields roughly 80 percent more energy than is required to grow and convert it.
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Cellulose preferable to normal ethanol, multiple reasons Reuters Reputed news agency ‘08
Planet Ark “Switchgrass: fuel yields bountiful energy: study” January 10th 2008 http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/46338/story.htm Accessed 6/19/08 NEW YORK - Switchgrass, a crop touted by venture capitalists and environmentalists alike as a nextgeneration ethanol feedstock, yields about five times more energy than it takes to grow it, making the plant a far more efficient fuel source than corn, a new study said. In addition, the life cycle of the switchgrass ethanol -- which includes growing the crop, making the fuel, and burning it in vehicles -- emits about 94 percent less of planet-warming carbon dioxide than the life cycle of gasoline, said the study, published on Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Corn Ethanol Bad 1/3
Corn ethanol bad – laundry list Ratliff, Freelance journalist, 07
(Even, Wired, “One Molecule Could Cure Our Addiction to Oil,” 9/24, http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/magazine/15-10/ff_plant, date accessed: 6/29/08) But how? Hydrogen is too far-out, and it's no easy task to power our cars with wind- or solar-generated electricity. The answer, then, is ethanol. Unfortunately, the ethanol we can make today — from corn kernels — is a mediocre fuel source. Corn ethanol is easier to produce than the cellulosic kind (convert the sugar to alcohol and you're basically done), but it generates at best 30 percent more energy than is required to grow and process the corn — hardly worth the trouble. Plus, the crop's fertilizer- intensive cultivation pollutes waterways, and increased demand drives up food costs (corn prices doubled last year). And anyway, the corn ethanol industry is projected to produce, at most, the equivalent of only 15 billion gallons of fuel by 2017. "We can't make 35 billion gallons' worth of gasoline out of ethanol from corn," says Dartmouth engineering and biology professor Lee Lynd, "and we probably don't want to."
Livestock feed changes cause massive environmental damage
Fluharty, Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio State University, 07. (Francis, “Animal Agriculture is Facing the Most Dramatic Change in Recent History: Are We Ready?”osu.edu, January 28, 2007. http://beef.osu.edu/Neweconomics/EthanChangAnimAg.doc accessed on 6/29/08) I am concerned about the long-term impact that our renewable energy policy will have on animal agriculture in the United States, as well as the impact on the protein nutrition of the human population on low, fixed incomes as meat protein products become more expensive. I also have several environmental concerns. The removal of starch from animal diets has already significantly increased feed costs, and as future legislated levels of ethanol are produced, food animal agriculture will be altered significantly. When distillers co-products are fed to animals, they can result in higher levels of dietary nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and sulfur (S) than when corn grain is fed. This occurs due to the removal of starch to produce ethanol and the resulting concentration of other constituents of the grain. At relatively low levels of diet inclusion, these factors can be dealt with. However, if the removal of corn starch from animal diets to the ethanol industry continues, animal agriculture will be negatively impacted, because there are physiological upper limits beyond which these co-product feeds cannot be used to replace corn grain. Furthermore, environmental concerns can become an issue at levels of diet inclusion much lower than those that cause toxicity to the animal as these minerals are excreted when fed in excess of what the animal can absorb. As more cattle are fed in the Midwest, near ethanol plants, there will be a continual increase in the amount of N, P, and S concentrated in the manure and urine, as 1 pound of distillers co-products contain the minerals of 3 to 4 pounds of corn. Environmental responsibility is a key component of livestock operations, and excess nitrogen and phosphorus in manure can have severe consequences on an animal feeding operation’s nutrient management plan. If nearly closed-loop waste handling systems, such as anaerobic digesters, are not used extensively, there could be severe environmental impacts on water resources.
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Corn Ethanol Bad 2/3
Poultry & Swine collapse
Fluharty, Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio State University, 07. (Francis, “Animal Agriculture is Facing the Most Dramatic Change in Recent History: Are We Ready?”osu.edu, January 28, 2007. http://beef.osu.edu/Neweconomics/EthanChangAnimAg.doc accessed on 6/29/08 The movement of corn from the swine and poultry industries into ethanol production has potentially devastating implications for those industries, because they cannot feed high levels of distillers grains. Therefore, the cost of production in those industries has already increased, and will continue to increase, and profitability may decline to the point of continual losses. As more demand for corn continues, there will be a huge incentive to move a portion of the nearly 37 million acres currently in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) into row crop production. This has major implications for the CRP acreage, as well as for other marginal land areas, better suited to forage production due to runoff and high erosion potential. Finally, the movement to cellulosic ethanol brings up the potential for more wind erosion as ground cover is removed in the fall. The potentially huge unknown is the extent to which grasslands currently used for cattle grazing and hay production will be transferred to forage production exclusively for cellulosic ethanol feedstock production. We are being faced with challenges that we haven’t even started to consider, but not planning for the future will be devastating. We need to better manage our pasture resources, develop and implement nutrient management plans; develop technologies and products, or product combinations, which maximize the digestibility of feedstuffs and optimize an animals immunity; develop technologies to bind excess minerals in the feed or in the rumen; and do a better job of matching beef genetics with a known outcome potential to specific feeding programs for specific consumer groups.
There is no way that corn can replace fossil fuels or reduce dependence on foreign oil Pimentel, Professor of entomology at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, 2008
(David, Blue Ridge Press, “Corn can't save us: Debunking the biofuel myth,” 02/25 http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/view/columns/4793307.html, Accessed on 7/3/08 Dwindling foreign oil, rising prices at the gas pump, and hype from politically well-connected U.S. agribusiness have combined to create a frenzied rush to convert food grains into ethanol fuel. The move is badly conceived and ill advised. Corporate spin and pork barrel legislation aside, here, by the numbers, are the scientific reasons why corn won't provide our energy needs: First, using corn or any other biomass for ethanol requires huge regions of fertile land, plus massive amounts of water and sunlight to maximize crop production. All green plants in the U.S. -- including all crops, forests, and grasslands, combined -- collect about 32 quads (32 x 1015 BTU) of sunlight energy per year. Meanwhile, the American population currently burns more than 3 times that amount of energy annually as fossil fuels! There isn't even close to enough biomass in America to supply our biofuel needs. Second, biofuel enthusiasts -- including agribusiness lobbyists and PR firms -- suggest that ethanol produced from corn and cellulosic biomass (like grasses), could replace much of the oil used in the United States. But consider that 20 percent of the U.S. corn crop was converted into 5 billion gallons of ethanol in 2006, but that amount replaced only 1 percent of U.S. oil consumption. If the entire national corn crop were used to make ethanol, it would replace a mere 7% of U.S. oil consumption -- far from making the U.S. independent of foreign oil. Third, ethanol production is energy intensive: Cornell University's up-to-date analysis of the 14 energy inputs that go into corn production, plus the nine energy inputs invested in ethanol fermentation and distillation, confirms that more than 40 percent of the energy contained in one gallon of corn ethanol is expended to produce it. That expended energy to make ethanol comes mostly from highly valuable oil and natural gas.
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Corn Ethanol Bad 3/3
Using Corn Ethanol is wreaking havoc on the environment and causing food shortages for the worlds poor Pimentel, Professor of entomology at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, 2008
(David, Blue Ridge Press, “Corn can't save us: Debunking the biofuel myth,” 02/25 http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/view/columns/4793307.html, Accessed on 7/3/08) Moreover, the environmental impacts of corn ethanol production are serious and diverse. These include severe soil erosion of valuable food cropland, plus the heavy use of nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides that pollute rivers. Fermenting corn to make one gallon of ethanol produces 12 gallons of noxious sewage effluent. Making ethanol requires the use of fossil fuels, releasing large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, adding to global warming. Finally, using food crops, such as corn, to produce ethanol raises major nutritional and ethical concerns. Nearly 60 percent of the people on earth are currently malnourished according to the World Health Organization. Growing crops for fuel squanders land, water, and energy vital for human food production. The use of corn for ethanol has led to major increases in the price of U.S. beef, chicken, pork, eggs, breads, cereals, and milk -- a boon to agribusiness and bane to consumers. Director General of the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization Jacques Diouf reports that using 22 pounds of corn to produce one gallon of ethanol is already causing food shortages for the world's poor.
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Turn: Corn ethanol & High oil cause it Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute, PLAN B 2.0 – RESCUING A PLANET UNDER STRESS AND A CIVILIZATION IN TROUBLE, 2006, p. 35-6 (PDEN0857)
Aside from the prospective use of cellulose, current and planned ethanol-producing operations use food crops such as sugarcane, sugar beets, corn, wheat, and barley. The United States, for example, in 2004 used 32 million tons of corn to produce 3.4 billion gallons of ethanol. Although this is scarcely 12 percent of the huge U.S. corn crop, it is enough to feed 100 million people at average world grain consumption levels. In an oil-short world, what will be the economic and environmental effects of agriculture's emergence as a producer of transport fuels? Agriculture's role in the global economy clearly will be strengthened as it faces a vast, virtually unlimited market for automotive fuel. Tropical and subtropical countries that can produce sugarcane or palm oil will be able to full exploit their year-round growing conditions, giving them a strong comparative advantage in the world market. With biofuel production spreading, the world price for oil will, in effect, become a support price for farm products. If food and feed crop prices are weak and oil prices are high, commodities will go to fuel producers. For example, vegetable oils trading on European markets on any given day may end up in either supermarkets or service stations. The risk is that economic pressures to clear land for expanding sugarcane production in the Brazilian cerrado and Amazon basin and for palm oil plantations in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia will pose a major new threat to plant and animal diversity. In the absence of governmental constraints, the rising price of oil could quickly become the leading threat to biodiversity, ensuring that the wave of extinctions now under way does indeed become the sixth great extinction
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AT “Food Prices” 1/2
Turn: We reduce food prices Dale, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, 2007
(Bruce, “Grassoline in your Tank, Myths and Realities about Biofuels,” 12/18/2007, http://www.everythingbiomass.org/Publications/tabid/443/Default.aspx, accessed on 7/6/08) Ethanol production is said to raise food prices. If we get beyond the first emotional "food versus fuel" reaction, we find that fuel prices affect the cost of literally everything we eat, while corn prices have a comparatively small effect on the cost of some food items. Corn ethanol is less expensive to produce than gasoline, helping keep a lid on fuel prices and therefore on food prices. Cellulosic ethanol will become much cheaper than gasoline, thereby reducing delivered food prices. There is another crucial fact to consider: Neither the U.S. nor any other developed country uses its land to grow much human food. What we actually grow is animal feed. Nearly 90% of our 650 million acres of crop and good pasture land is used to grow animal feed. Most of this feed is for beef and dairy cattle, which are nutritionally versatile animals. Animals, like humans, require two primary nutrients: protein and digestible energy (calories). Grasses can be processed to recover protein suitable for animal feed. Grasses pretreated to enhance their biological conversion to ethanol should also be quite digestible by ruminant animals. Taken together, these developments will increase the per-acre productivity of protein and digestible energy. Food will become cheaper because animal feed will become more abundant and cheaper. Coproducing animal feed and fuel will also reduce the total acreage required to meet our feed and fuel needs. Credible scenarios exist in which no new land would be required to meet demands for food, feed, and fiber while still providing more than 100 billion gal of cellulosic ethanol per year. Finally, cellulosic materials are bulky and would not be transported long distances. They will be processed relatively close to where they are grown, providing opportunities for rural communities to increase their wealth by adding value to plant biomass. This important opportunity to strengthen rural communities throughout the world via biofuel production merits serious and sustained research and policy attention.
No tradeoff Dale, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, 2007
(Bruce, “Grassoline in your Tank, Myths and Realities about Biofuels,” 12/18/2007, http://www.everythingbiomass.org/Publications/tabid/443/Default.aspx, accessed on 7/6/08) We can probably make about 15 billion gallons per year of ethanol from corn, which is about 10 percent of our annual gasoline consumption, before we reach its limits. The Brazilians can probably make a similar amount from
sugar cane. While that doesn’t fundamentally change our dependence on imported oil, it is still a lot of fuel that we are not paying other nations, many of them hostile, to produce for us. Jim Woolsey, former director of the CIA, has pointed out that the twin pillars of international terrorism are the illegal drug trade, and the oil trade. Woolsey also correctly states that the war on terror is the only war in which we have paid for both sides—by our taxes on our side and by our oil imports on their side. Nonetheless, it is simply true that there is not enough corn or sugar in the world to replace more than a small fraction of our total oil needs. But the situation is much different for grassoline. The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture and the U. S. Dept. of Energy recently issued a report indicating that our country
can sustainably produce about 1.3 billion tons of cellulosic materials (wood, grass, straw, etc.) per year, enough to make well over 100 billion gallons of ethanol. The energy content of this much cellulosic material is about equal to the energy content of 3.5 billion barrels of oil—which happens to be the maximum amount of oil the U. S. ever produced before our domestic oil production peaked and began declining in the early 1970s. Other highly qualified sources are even more positive about the potential of grassoline. Ceres, a leading plant biotechnology company, believes that average yields of energy grasses such as switch grass can increase threefold to about 15 tons per acre per year in a relatively short time. The giant grass Miscanthus sinenis is probably even more productive, with yields reported already of over 20 tons per acre per year. Given that corn yields have increased by over fivefold in the past 30 years or so, the increased grass yields envisioned by Ceres and others would seem to be well within reach. If, out of 800 million acres of crop and pasture land, we devote 100 million acres of land to grow grasses yielding 15 tons per acre we can produce about 150 billion gallons of ethanol per year…roughly the same volume as our total gasoline consumption. Animal feeds will probably be co-produced with grassoline, further reducing the amount of land required. Reasonable scenarios have been proposed that envision no new land devoted to agriculture and that still replace all oil imports with domestically produced grassoline. Grassoline
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therefore has the potential to be a very, very large business and land availability is simply not a limit to the growth of the industry.
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Not Unique: Corn Biofuels are raising food costs Tong, CEO of Australian research group, Molecular Plant Breeding Cooperative Research Centre, 2008
(Glen, BusinesDay, "Biofuels Need Not Eat into Food Stocks" June 7th http://business.theage.com.au/biofuelsneed-not-eat-into-food-stocks-20080606-2mz6.html, acessed on 6/29/08 Recent media reports have highlighted the problem of rising food prices around the world, especially in developing countries. Just like fossil fuels, arable land is a finite resource and competition between growing crops for food and for fuel presents ethical questions. Developing countries assert that rich countries, in their hurry to respond to global warming, are driving up food prices by encouraging the use of crops to produce biofuels rather than feed people. In the US, most of the rise in global corn production from 2004 to 2007 was used for biofuels production. According to the World Bank's 2008 World Development Report, about a quarter of a tonne of corn — enough to feed a person for a year — is needed to produce 100 litres of ethanol, enough to fill the tank of an SUV once. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently called for an investigation of biofuels as he fears that their proliferation will compromise world food stocks. One of his officials went so far as to declare that biofuels were a "crime against humanity".
Turn: Corn Trade-off Guy, Sun Time Columnist, 2008
(Sandra, Chicago Sun-Times, “Shucking corn as a biofuel,” 06-22-08, http://www.suntimes.com/technology/guy/1017810,CST-FIN-ecol22.article# , accesses 06-30-08) Research has shown that 1.3 billion tons of cellulosic biomass are available yearly in the United States. The biomass can include switchgrass, corn husks, wheat straw and wood waste. Gas at $3.63 per gallon Research shows that cellulosic ethanol, if produced at a commercial scale, would equate to $3.63 per gallon gasoline equivalent. The use of cellulosic biomass would not only result in environmentally sustainable fuel, but reduce the use of corn grain, Aden said.
Turn: Oil prices key to food costs Huttner, Vice president of the Biorefinery Business Developement, 2008
(Jack, Testimony to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing, June 12th, http://energy.senate.gov/public/_files/HuttnerTestimony061208.doc accessed on 7/2/08) Recently, the media has been full of stories linking food price increases to ethanol production. This is a false debate. We have the ability to produce both food and biofuels in abundance. Many commentators have noted the various factors driving global food price increases, including dramatically rising oil prices, booming demand for animal feed in China and India, drought in agricultural producing regions and the weak US dollar. And yes, biofuels production, although experts have repeatedly pointed out that biofuels production is a relatively minor cause of food price increases. I would note that the prices of agricultural commodities that have little or no relationship to biofuels, such as rice and wheat, have risen right along with corn and soybeans. As Dr. Otlaw has testified, the study recently released by Texas A&M University found that the primary underlying force driving price increases in the agricultural industry, as with the economy as a whole, is higher energy prices – $100 + per barrel oil in particular – and that somehow freezing, rolling back or eliminating the RFS would not result in significantly lower corn or food prices. In fact, Merrill Lynch estimates that without ethanol, gasoline prices would be at least 50 cents higher than they are today, further exacerbating the pressures on food and commodity prices.
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AT “Food Prices”--Link Turn
Link Turn: Ethanol production is not increasing food prices, oil is. By increasing ethanol production we will actually reduce food prices by replacing oil with cheaper ethanol Dale, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, 2007
(Bruce, “Grassoline in your Tank, Myths and Realities about Biofuels,” 12/18/2007, http://www.everythingbiomass.org/Publications/tabid/443/Default.aspx, accessed on 7/6/08) The idea of turning corn into ethanol conjures up visions of our cars taking grain out of the mouths of hungry people. Actually, well over 70 percent of the grain we grow is used to feed animals, not people. We really don’t “grow food” in this country, or in most of the developed world. We grow animal feed instead and then we eat the meat, milk, eggs, cheese, etc. that the animals produce. We have about 800 million acres of cropland and animal pasture in this country. It is easy to show that about 500 million of those acres produce animal feed, not food consumed directly by human beings. If you want to increase grain supplies (and decrease grain prices, thereby putting a lot of poor Third World farmers out of business), then become a strict vegetarian. While no one wishes to minimize the problem of hunger in the world, this issue of “food vs. fuel” requires facts and logic, not emotionalism. There is about five cents worth of corn in that $3 box of corn flakes you just bought at the store. Increased corn prices affect the cost of a few things at the store, but the cost of fuel to move all those groceries around affects the price of literally everything. Keeping a lid on gas prices by converting some of our surplus grain into ethanol will help hold down food prices. Actually, the use of corn to make ethanol is self limiting. As demand for corn increases, its price will rise to the point where it will no longer be economical to produce ethanol from corn.
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AT “Food Prices” – No Link 1/3
Increasing Biomass Production does not decrease food production Greer, Contributing editor to biocycle and researcher specializing in green business and alternative energy, 2005
(Diane, Biocycle, “Creating Cellulosic Ethanol: Spinning Straw into Fuel,” april 2005, http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/enews/enews_0505/enews_0505_Cellulosic_Ethanol.htm/, 6/29/08). Can American agricultural systems support large-scale cellulosic ethanol production? That is the big question. Do we have sufficient land? Can biomass be supplied without impacting the cost of agricultural land, competing with food production and harming the environment? The answer to these questions ranges from no to a qualified yes, contingent upon R&D efforts, technological innovation and government policy. Battelle's recent report entitled, "Near Term U.S. Biomass Potential", looked at a scenario for producing 50 billion gallons of ethanol per year from cellulosic biomass. "The primary biomass supply would consist of waste biomass streams plus the production of energy crops." The waste stream was estimated to contribute 40-50% of the supply. The report concluded that the expansion of biomass supplies needed to achieve this level of production "would not result in large impacts on the agricultural system." Beyond this level of production, "dedicated energy crops would be required with implications for the cost of cropland and competition with food crops." The NRDC "Growing Energy" report approached the question from a different angle. It asked if there were technological, process and policy changes that would allow biofuels to fulfill a large proportion of energy required by vehicles. The research constrained land utilization to the amount already under cultivation while insuring sufficient land for food and textile production in addition to employing resources in a sustainable manner.
Cost Competitive biofuels would be economically comparable with no shift in landcultivation. Greene, senior researcher with the Natural Resources Defense Council, 2004)
(Principal Author, Nathanael, NRDC, December, “GROWING ENERGY: How Biofuels Can Help End America’s Oil Dependence” < http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/biofuels/biofuels.pdf>. Accessed on June 29th 2008.) To displace 7.9 million barrels of oil in 2050, we will need to use more than 1.3 billion tons of cellulosic biomass each year. This will create a major new market for farmers and potentially relieve the downward price pressures created by the fact that our productive agricultural capacity is greater than our demand. We currently spend well over $151 billion annually on oil, with more than 60 percent of this going overseas, more than $24 billion to the Persian Gulf alone.5 Biofuels that are cost-competitive with gasoline and diesel will allow us to invest our energy dollars at home. And if done carefully, biofuels should dramatically reduce global warming pollution and maintain or improve air, water, soil, and habitat quality across our country. A new market for cellulosic biomass has the potential to dramatically change the agricultural sector, but these changes will happen only over time. Meanwhile, there are significant existing supplies of low-cost agricultural residues with high cellulose and hemicellulose content, including corn fiber, corn stover, sugar cane fiber, rice hull, and wheat straw. The first cellulosic biofuels facilities are likely to take advantage of these low-cost feedstocks. As residues such as these become valuable, farmers located near cellulosic biofuel plants will have a new potential revenue stream. Over time, though, we believe that farmers will respond to this new market by finding ways to get more from the land, using innovations to integrate the new demand for cellulose into the existing demand for agricultural products. This integration will be driven by the economics of the marketplace. If farmers can sell different parts of the same plant to different markets, they can increase their revenues and diversify their risk. We believe that innovations will allow us to produce nearly 165 billion gallons of biofuels by 2050 just from land that is already under cultivation while still meeting our current agricultural demands.
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Cellulosic Ethanol can replace petroleum without having an impact on food supply Barrionuevo, New York Times Journalist, 06
(Alexei, The New York Times, “It’s Corn vs. Soybeans in a Biofuels Debate,” July 13th 2006 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/13/business/13ethanol.html?scp=1&sq=Cellulosic%20Ethanol&st=cse Accessed on 7/2/08) The study concludes that the future of replacing oil and gas lies with cellulosic ethanol produced from low-cost materials like switch grass or wheat straw, if it is grown on agriculturally marginal land or from waste plant material. Indeed, the study published by the National Academy of Sciences found that neither ethanol nor biodiesel can replace much petroleum without having an impact on food supply. If all American corn and soybean production were dedicated to biofuels, that fuel would replace only 12 percent of gas demand and 6 percent of diesel demand, the study notes.
Researchers at universities and at the United States Agriculture Department have debated ethanol’s benefits as policy makers continue to struggle with how to respond to high gasoline prices and how to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. Some lawmakers have urged an end to federal subsidies of 51 cents a gallon for ethanol refiners. The subsidies have helped create a boom in ethanol production and have made ethanol more profitable than ever. The researchers in the latest study question ethanol’s environmental benefits, noting that despite the 12 percent reduction in greenhouse gases, ethanol has “greater environmental and human health impacts because of increased release of five air pollutants and nitrate, nitrite and pesticides.” Neither biofuel was cost-competitive in 2005 without subsidies. Biodiesel cost 55 cents a liter to produce, or 20 percent more than ethanol. Wholesale gasoline prices in 2005 averaged 44 cents a liter, or 4 percent less a liter to produce than ethanol, the study said. Still, biodiesel receives a subsidy that is 45 percent greater a liter than ethanol. Analysts agreed with the study’s conclusion that biodiesel compares favorably with ethanol from an environmental standpoint. “Biodiesel is much cleanerburning fuel and much less harmful to the environment,” Daniel W. Basse, president of AgResource in Chicago, an economic forecasting firm, said Wednesday. But Mr. Basse said ethanol production is far more efficient, with some 420 gallons of ethanol produced per acre of corn versus only 60 gallons of biodiesel per acre of soybeans. If biodiesel use ever increased greatly, Mr. Basse said, the cost of soybean oil would rise significantly. Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, based in Washington, agreed that biodiesel’s potential was limited.
“If you look at the amount of biodiesel you can produce, it is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of cellulosic ethanol that could be produced one day,” he said. The Minnesota researchers write that with a projected doubling of global demand for food within 50 years and an even greater expected increase in demand for transportation fuels, “there is a great need for renewable energy supplies that do not cause significant harm and do not compete with food supply.”
No land trade-off Ring, Staff Writer, 08 (Ed, EcoWorld, "Cellulosic Ethanol: What is it, can we make it cost effectively, and when?" 629-8, http://www.ecoworld.com/home/articles2.cfm?tid=462, 6-29-8)
Construction debris and municipal solid waste are obvious candidates for cellulosic harvesting, and even the non-cellulosic materials can be used as fuel for the extraction of syngas (which is converted into ethanol), or reclaimed as building materials. According to the Dept. of Energy, 325 million tons of these waste resources are produced each year. We have assumed 90% utilization, and only 75 gallons of ethanol per ton, a yield that is below most projections. Other waste resources are deliberately understated - just our industrial emissions are probably sufficient to deliver 100 million tons of feedstock. Also not included in this analysis anywhere else are crop residue, a huge source of feedstocks, some percentage of which can certainly be allocated sustainably to ethanol production without sacrificing soil health. It isn't easy to estimate just how much cellulosic feedstock could be sustainably harvested each year in the USA, but but two things are clear from this analysis. (1) When cellulosic ethanol extraction becomes a commercially competitive process, and the industrial capacity is in place to produce high volumes of ethanol from cellulosic materials, there will be plenty of feedstocks - at least 1.0 billion tons per year; probably twice that. Cellulosic ethanol definitely has the potential to become a significant source of transportation fuel, and (2) Khosla's contention that land use dedicated to ethanol production in the USA might actually decrease when cellulosic processing takes over is completely plausible. In the example above, no corn ethanol was produced, and the dedicated acreage committed to cellulosic ethanol was assumed to be 5% of America's farmland, whereas today corn ethanol is grown on about 7% of America's farmland.
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Cellulosic ethanol made from switchgrass is noncompetitive with food sources for animals and humans MSNBC, 2008 (Associated Press MSNBC, “Farming for cellulosic ethanol gets started,” 06-17-08,
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25121471/, accessed 06-30-08) GUYMON, Okla. - Work has started on the planting of a 1,000-acre switchgrass field in the Oklahoma Panhandle that researchers plan to use in the production of cellulosic ethanol. The field is being touted as the world's largest for switchgrass, a drought-resistant perennial plant that grows even on marginal lands. Scientists at the Noble Foundation in Ardmore are overseeing the project and hope that switchgrass proves to be a viable substitute for corn in ethanol production. Hitch Enterprises, a Panhandle-based company, began planting the field earlier this month. Smaller fields of switchgrass also will be planted in central Oklahoma near Chickasha and Maysville. "Rising food costs recently resulted in a pushback against renewable fields," said David Fleischaker, the state's energy secretary. "However, cellulosic ethanol from sources like switchgrass and sorghum are noncompetitive with food sources for animals and humans." The crop from the field will be cut and sent to a new biorefinery that will be built by Abengoa Bioenergy of Hugoton, Kan., just across the state line from Guymon. The biorefinery should be ready for use by 2010. The Noble Foundation is working with the Oklahoma Bioenergy Center, the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University on the switchgrass project. Noble Foundation spokesman Adam Calaway said researchers expect to harvest about 30 percent of the crop during the first year after planting, 70 percent the year after that and 100 percent starting with the third year. The Panhandle field will include both irrigated and dry-land crops for research purposes. "We did it irrigated to ensure that we get a crop and are able to study it," Calaway said. "You don't have any guarantees with the dry land. You're really dependent on Mother Nature." He said the goal is to have production of ethanol made with switchgrass "up and going" by 2017. "The whole goal is to displace 30 percent of the oil we import," he said. "If you displace that much it helps us financially, so you think of the billions of dollars we'll save and be able to put back into agriculture. You can imagine how much that would revolutionize agriculture."
It doesn’t compete with land for food LaMonica, Staff Writer, 07 (Martin, CNET, “Cellulosic ethanol: A fuel for the future?,” 8/27,
http://news.cnet.com/Cellulosic-ethanol-A-fuel-for-the-future/2100-11392_3-6202328.html, date accessed: 6/29/08) Cellulosic ethanol promises several advantages over corn-based ethanol which, fueled by government policies and investor capital, is now undergoing a massive build-out. Making ethanol from forestry or agricultural waste does not involve the same intensive farming as corn, which requires more water and labor, cellulosic ethanol proponents say. Also, in the ongoing food-versus-fuel debate, cellulosic ethanol advocates say that forests don't compete for land with food crops. The Soperton, Ga., plant will be using wood cast away by loggers. Trees are hauled to a central point where their tops and branches are cut off, providing the material for Range Fuels' multi-step thermochemical process. Tree branches will go into a large tank where enough heat and pressure are applied to the mix to turn it into a gas. That synthetic gas is treated and then passed through a chemical catalyst which converts the gas to alcohol. Finally, the alcohol gas is converted to fuels and then turned into liquid.
Cellulosic ethanol doesn’t lead to higher food prices, completely separate crops Reuters Reputed news agency ‘08
Planet Ark “Switchgrass: fuel yields bountiful energy: study” January 10th 2008 http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/46338/story.htm Accessed 6/19/08 Switchgrass is expected to be the main feedstock for cellulosic ethanol, a new type of alternative fuel made from breaking down the woody bits of plants. The energy law signed by President Bush last month mandates a five-fold increase in ethanol blending by 2022, and some of that fuel is required to come from cellulosic sources. Switchgrass, which used to grow naturally across wide swaths of the United States, can be grown on marginal crop land using far fewer energy-intensive inputs like fertilizer than corn needs. And since it does not double as a feed crop, it will not lead to higher grain prices.
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At “Food Prices” – Corn Trade-Off
Corn ethanol worse for food frices Glauber, Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2008
(Joseph, Statement Before the Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress, “How Are High Prices Impacting American Families?” May 1, http://jec.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.HearingsCalendar&ContentRecord_id=a092ba11-fffc-7fd59312-644bbe74704c, Accessed on 7/2/08 In recent years, the conversion of corn and soybean oil into biofuels has been an important factor shaping major crop markets. The amount of corn converted into ethanol and soybean oil converted into biodiesel nearly doubled from 2005/06 to 2007/08. The growth in biofuels production has coincided with rising prices for corn, soybeans, soybean meal, and soybean oil. From 2005/06 to 2007/08, the farm price of corn more than doubled and the price of soybeans nearly doubled.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
84 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
AT “Food Prices” – Not Unique
Skyrocketing food prices driven by current subsidies are causing thousands to live in impoverished, war torn countries Faiola, Post Global Economics Reporter, 08 (Anthony, The Washington Post, April 28, “Global Food Prices and
Africa’s Economic Famine”, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/discussion/2008/04/25/DI2008042502546.html, 7/12/08) Manassas, Va.: The advantages in technology supposedly should allow the world's population to be fed amply. However, countries around the world are more protectionist with their agricultural products through subsidies and higher tariffs, arguing that's the only way to protect their own food needs. Don't you think that type of policy makes the problem worse by giving less incentive to produce, causing even higher prices? I think this is a totally political problem. Anthony Faiola: You're right, there are some troubling factors at play here. For one, productivity in agriculture is flagging after many years of solid increases. It seems subsidies have robbed some of the incentive to pushing for higher crop yields.
Rockville, Md.: Food shortages used to be regular events in history -- and not that many years ago. The "green revolution" eased the problem, but population always tries to stay ahead of the problem. But to be selfish, is it better for the U.S. to have something to sell for oil? We may be one of the last five exporting countries. How much can we grow our exports? At what cost to the environment? If great, what can we do to have both a big harvest and be kind to the environment? Anthony Faiola: All very good questions. Again, one of the problems we're facing is that the "green revolution" actually is slipping away, with crop growth slowing considerably. It does
benefit the U.S. to be a net exporter, but as you've noticed, food prices at home have gone up too.
Munich, Germany: I often had heard the criticism that subsidized farming in Europe and the the U.S. had pushed world prices of wheat, for instance, to such low levels that small farmers in third-world countries no longer could complete with imported goods. While not alleviating the current crisis, and while it's perhaps not applicable to arid countries like Mauritania, do you think that there's merit in letting small farmers in countries like Sri Lanka and Haiti gain income and viability from higher food prices? Won't slightly higher prices be an inducement for small, third-world farmers to start farming again? Anthony Faiola: Thanks for joining us from Munich. The big problem here is that small farmers often don't benefit from higher food prices. Most subsistence farmers
only can grow a portion of their food needs, and consume everything they grow, and don't benefit from higher prices at market. Even slightly larger-scale farmers are facing soaring costs for seeds, fertilizers, etc., that tend to cancel out potential gains. Thanks for the skepticism. You are right, this isn't a crisis in America. But if you look just to our south, Haiti's government has been destabilized; 100 million in Africa are slipping deeper into hunger; riots have broken out in more than 14 countries. So in a global context, this is indeed a crisis.
Famine is approaching due to Midwest flooding and corn biofuel subsidies Philpott, Food Editor of Grist, 08 (Tom, Grist, "Our Ruined Harvest," 6-13-8, http://grist.org/comments/food/2008/06/13/, 7-6-8)
Here in the United States, we grow 44 percent of the world's corn crop, and 38 percent of its soy. For the great bulk of that massive harvest, we rely on a single region: the Midwestern farm belt. And over the past couple of weeks, torrential rains have hammered that area, at a particularly sensitive time for its grand swath of corn and soybean plants. An unusually wet spring had already pushed farmers to plant their crops late and forced them to keep some land fallow. With the recent deluge, a bad situation has turned worse. The rains have not only damaged crops, they've also washed away untold tons of fertilizer, which leach into groundwater and eventually flow through the Mississippi clear down to the Gulf of Mexico. There, the fertilizer won't feed crops; instead, in a double blow to food production, it will nourish a vast algae bloom blotting out sea life that would otherwise have contributed to a once-bountiful fishery. As a result of this soggy situation, corn yields will plummet, the USDA reports [PDF]. And that's bad news for the billions of people who rely on the global food system for sustenance. Back in February, a fertilizer executive was already waxing darkly about trends in food production: "If you had any major upset where you didn't have a crop in a major growing agricultural region this year, I believe you'd see famine," William Doyle, CEO of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, told Bloomberg News. Mulling over depleted global grain stores, ramped-up U.S. and European mandates for turning food crops into biofuel, and rising demand for grain in Asia, Doyle declared that the global food system had no margin for error. "We keep going to the cupboard without replacing, and so there is enormous pressure on agriculture to have a record crop every year," he said. "We need to have a record crop in 2008 just to stay even with this very low inventory situation." Since that time, we've seen images of people in places like Haiti desperately scrounging in garbage dumps for food, because they could no longer afford to buy it. And now comes news that prospects for the coming harvests of corn, soy, and wheat -- the holy trifecta of our globalized food system -- are looking grim indeed.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
85 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
High Food Prices Good
The world needs more food and fuel, biofuels can contribute to both efficiently and increase the global economy Dorr, U.S. under secretary of agriculture for rural development, 08 (Thomas C., US Department of State Bureau
of International Information Programs Ask America Webchat Transcript, June 10, http://www.america.gov/st/washfile-english/2008/June/20080611115753xjsnommis0.1375696.html, 7/01/08)
A [Thomas Dorr]: What we are experiencing with today’s dramatic increases in price for food and fuel are not unprecedented. We’ve incurred similar price rises in the early 70’s. The assumption then, as today, was that we were running into long-term shortages. Then, as today, we were coming off long periods of depressed commodity prices and infrastructure development. Internationally there had been a lack of investment. The United States response in the 1970’s was to impose export embargos and wage and price freezes. This had severe negative impacts on global commodity prices, while short-circuiting increased production. We now recognize that the United States’ response at that time was wrong. Since 1980 internationally, we have experienced flat commodity prices. These deflated prices, in conjunction with substantial global economic growth, have created these energy and food price pressures. There are large sustainable international tracts of under-utilized farmland. There are production technologies which are unavailable to many areas of the world due to self-imposed restrictions. The lack of open and free international trade also impedes available access to these commodities. A greater willingness to address these issues and focus on opportunities and open markets, as opposed to creating obstacles will resolve many of these issues quite quickly. Q [Chat Participant]: Hello All! This is Nalin, I am a MBA Student at ISB, Hyderabad, India A [Thomas Dorr]: I'd like to respond to Colombia's comment above. The world needs more food AND more fuel. Both are indispensable, and agriculture can contribute to both goals. You are entirely correct that we need to search for new solutions. With regard to biofuels, there are opportunities in several areas. Much of the world still practices traditional agriculture, so higher prices for commodities offer an historic opportunity to modernize farming. The potential increases in yields are very significant. In addition, the United States continues to increase yields through technology, especially through genetic research that allows us to increase yield per acre, increase the energy yield per unit of volume, increase drought tolerance, and reduce the intensity of fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide usage. Finally, over the next several years we anticipate the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol, which will allow large scale ethanol production from non-food plants. Moderator: The Under Secretary continues to review your questions. Thank you for your patience. A [Thomas Dorr]: I would like to respond to Harish's comment above. Increasing energy efficiency is an important objective, and the U.S. is working very hard in this area. In the long run however, given the growth in population and the very rapid economic development being achieved by an increasing number of emerging nations, the solution to the global energy crisis is to produce more energy. As I’ve noted earlier, we have many options. We cannot say with certainty at this time which of them will emerge as the most cost-effective next-generation fuel, but we can approach this question with confidence that free markets can and will find solutions. This is an historic opportunity for researchers, investors, and innovators.
High Corn prices good for, farmers, communities and taxpayers Dale, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, 2007
(Bruce, “Grassoline in your Tank, Myths and Realities about Biofuels,” 12/18/2007, http://www.everythingbiomass.org/Publications/tabid/443/Default.aspx, accessed on 7/6/08) Increased ethanol production and the accompanying increase in corn prices from about $2.20 per bushel a few years ago to around $3.50 or so per bushel today is a very good thing. First, many of our rural communities near ethanol plants are enjoying a prosperity they have not seen in a long time. Second, many poor farmers around the world are now able to get more money for their products, and thus can provide better for their families. Cheap, tax-subsidized U. S. grain has long been a key factor undermining agricultural societies around the world. The U. S. taxpayer has also benefited. Most of the tax subsidies paid to corn farmers have disappeared with rising corn prices, saving the U. S. Treasury over $7 billion a year. Finally, as “grassoline” (cellulosic ethanol) technology develops, we will almost certainly produce enhanced animal feeds as co-products with ethanol from this technology. This will further reduce “food vs. fuel” conflicts by reducing the amount of land required to both feed and fuel us. In essence, the land will do double duty by producing both animal feed and fuel. Now, more about the land issue.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
86 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
Switchgrass maintains species diversity Greene, senior researcher with the Natural Resources Defense Council, 2004
(Principal Author, Nathanael, NRDC, December, “GROWING ENERGY: How Biofuels Can Help End America’s Oil Dependence” < http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/biofuels/biofuels.pdf>. Accessed on June 29th 2008.) A native prairie grass, switchgrass provides abundant wildlife habitat. In particular, studies have looked at bird use of different crops. Typically, switchgrass is currently usually harvested only once a year, late in the fall, to allow for most of the moisture and nutrients to leave the harvested portion of the plant, and this timing has the added advantage of allowing most nesting species to have migrated from the fields. To maximize the protein value of switchgrass, it would be harvested twice a year, in early summer and late fall. However, the first harvest would happen after most species have hatched their young. Table 9 below provides a comparison of both the number of birds and variety of different species spotted in switchgrass and other agricultural settings. There are also a range of crop management techniques that could further increase the appeal of switchgrass to wildlife. For instance, leaving a buffer row around a field during harvesting can provide cover for animals during the winter. These measures should be pursued where there are sensitive species. Beyond the environmental impacts that occur on an acre by acre basis, when we start looking at biofuels producing more than 100 billion gallons a year, we need to consider the cumulative impacts of devoting that much land to dedicated energy crops. Fortunately there is enough diversity within switchgrass and other sources of cellulosic biomass and the economics of transporting biomass are such that we should be able to avoid developing unhealthy monocultures near biorefineries. Different crops might be grown as a dedicated source of cellulosic biomass, and even within the genus Panicum virgatum in which switchgrass falls, there are many different varieties, some with major ecotypical and/or genetic differences. Taking advantage of this diversity will be important to reduce the spread of diseases and pests from both an environmental and an economic perspective. The alternative— increasing application of chemicals—would start to reduce the environmental benefits of switchgrass.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
87 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
Turn: Increased Ethanol production reduces oil dependence which has cost the U.S. 3.4 trillion dollars The Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, A non-profit organization that supports the increased production and use of fuels that can reduce air pollution and oil imports, 2004
(“Ethanol from Biomass America’s 21st Century Transportation Fuel,” August 24th www.ethanolgec.org/information/hewlettproposal.pdf, Accessed on 7/9/08) U.S. dependence on oil supplies and production facilities concentrated in the Persian Gulf make defense of this area a high priority for the U.S. military. While there is no doubt that a portion of the U.S. military budget is used to protect access to Persian Gulf oil, the magnitude of this value is difficult to determine. Analysts’ estimates for the cost of maintaining an uninterrupted flow of oil from the Gulf region vary widely, from less than $0.5 billion to $70 billion annually. Producing ethanol from renewable, domestically supplied biomass presents an opportunity for the nation to reduce the costs associated with protecting Persian Gulf oil interests. • Oil Supply Disruptions and the Economy The Arab oil embargo, Iranian Revolution, Persian Gulf War, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait resulted in oil supply disruptions and subsequent oil price hikes followed by economic recessions. Over the last 30 years, oil dependence — including price hikes during supply disruptions and the transfer of wealth — has cost the nation $3.4 trillion, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Biofuels production cannot eliminate dependence on foreign oil, but the greater the biofuels production, the less the dependence and the better the nation can respond to oil supply disruptions.
Gonzaga Debate Institute 2008
88 Cellulosic Ethanol Aff
AT “CP: Renewable Fuel Standard”
Perm: Do both. It solves Governors Ethanol Coalition, Bipart group of US and international members, 05
(Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, “Ethanol from biomass,” April, http://www.ethanol-gec.org/GEC_biomass_rept_412-05.pdf, Date accessed: 6/26/08) With needed research and incentives to make significant production of biomass derived ethanol possible over time, the adoption of a renewable fuels standard is essential to ensure that the nation reduces its dependence on imported oil. A National Security Renewable Fuels Act would enhance economic development in rural areas, reduce our vulnerability to oil price spikes or potential supply disruptions, reduce the “energy” trade deficit, enhance environmental quality, and set a clear path to expand domestic production of ethanol and other biofuels from a range of agricultural and non-agricultural domestic resources in all regions of the nation. The Coalition recommends enacting a National Security Renewable Fuels Act requiring the use of at least 8 billion gallons a year of ethanol and biodiesel by 2012. As soon as practical thereafter, the nation should move toward production of at least 10 percent of its transportation fuel from ethanol and biodiesel relying on a growing share of that production from biomassderived ethanol. This standard, in conjunction with a significant increase in applied research and production incentives, will make the goal of reducing our dependency on imported oil a reality. It also offers the potential for the industry to provide even greater production in all regions of the nation over time.