Production decline, cloudy export outlook fail to dent industry zeal

Source: Amanda Peterka • E&E • Posted: Monday, February 27th, 2012

Ethanol production has dipped slightly with the expiration of a key federal tax credit and import protections, but the industry is still waxing enthusiastic about the corn-based fuel.

Military’s alt energy programs draw Republicans’ ire

Source: Annie Snider • E&E • Posted: Friday, February 24th, 2012

Suspicion is growing among Republican lawmakers that the Defense Department’s efforts to move to renewable energy are more about politics than they are about saving lives and boosting security, as officials claim. The Pentagon’s green push — including outfitting Marines and soldiers with solar gear, testing aircraft and ships on biofuels and building renewable power plants at bases — won supporters from both sides of the aisle over the past year as leaders drew a clear line between the technologies and military might.

Nebraska hitting end of road on ethanol incentive

Source: ART HOVEY • Lincoln Journal Star • Posted: Friday, February 24th, 2012

Nebraska is closing the books on EPIC, its Ethanol Production Incentive Cash fund, after two decades of carving out a sizable presence in corn-based renewable fuel.

In a Nod to Gas Prices, Obama Talks About Energy

Source: MARK LANDLER • New York Times • Posted: Friday, February 24th, 2012

resident Obama, confronted by the political perils of surging gas prices in an election year, on Thursday defended his efforts to wean the United States off imported oil, even as he conceded there was little he could do in the short run to ease the pain at the pump. Speaking to students at the University of Miami, in a swing state where gas averages $3.69 a gallon, Mr. Obama said: “Just like last year, gas prices are climbing across the country; this time, it’s happening even earlier. And when gas prices go up, it hurts everybody.

New Enzyme Could Make Cellulosic Ethanol Competitive With Fossil Fuels

Source: Todd Woody • Forbes • Posted: Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Efforts to create a market for cellulosic ethanol in the U.S. veered into the realm of the absurd last month when companies faced fines of $6.8 million for failing to meet a 2011 federal quota to blend 6.6 million gallons of the renewable fuel into oil and diesel supplies.

Industries gird for battle over Obama’s proposed tax overhaul

Source: John McArdle and Gabriel Nelson, E&E reporters • Posted: Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The Obama administration today proposed overhauling the corporate tax code and lowering the top corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent as long as the effort is paid for by slashing tax credits and closing loopholes — including many of the oil and gas industry breaks that the White House has targeted in the past. The proposal — which would also set the top tax rate for domestic manufacturers at 25 percent and preserve tax credits for research and development and clean energy — would be the first major reform of the corporate tax code in decades.

Ethanol Follows Gasoline Higher After Iran Blocks Base Access

Source: Ksenia Galouchko • Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Ethanol rose as gasoline rallied to the highest level since July after officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency were denied access to an Iranian military base.

Company touts new enzyme as key to lowering cellulosic costs

Source: Amanda Peterka • E&E • Posted: Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The Danish enzyme manufacturer Novozymes unveiled a new enzyme today that the company says will make cellulosic biofuel cost-competitive with corn ethanol and gasoline.

Ethanol industry aims to cut glut as subsidy ends

Source: Ben Lefebvre • Wall Street Journal • Posted: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

A surge in U.S. ethanol production and falling export demand are driving down prices for the corn-based fuel, curbing producer profits and causing some plants to shut. Ethanol inventories ballooned late last year as producers rushed to take advantage of a government subsidy that expired Dec. 31. Around the same time, exports started to slide and domestic demand weakened for gasoline, with which ethanol is blended.

New Enzyme Could Cut Cost of Ethanol Made From Waste

Source: DIANE CARDWELL • New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

It is one of the holy grails of clean energy production: finding a way to make ethanol from the cellulose in biowaste like corn husks and household trash. Although several pilot projects are up and running — with many more in the pipeline — commercial production has remained elusive, with the costs remaining much higher than for producing ethanol from corn, or gasoline. But in what may come as welcome news to oil companies that are paying penalties for failing to use cellulosic ethanol — a biofuel that, commercially speaking, does not yet exist — a big producer of industrial enzymes has developed an enzyme that can help wring more ethanol out of cellulose at a lower cost.