Ethanol - 100 billion gallons by 2025?

Growing oil consumption in the U.S. and environmental consequences from fossil fuel emissions have compelled a search for alternatives to gasoline, and ethanol is "one that can make a very large difference in a relatively short time," according to a report from the Aspen Institute.

At the end of March 2006, the Institute convened a group of 34 participants from government, farm, environmental, energy, security, and academic sectors for a policy dialogue on ethanol. The group came up with "a very ambitious goal" for the U.S. to produce annually, by 2025, 100 billion gallons of ethanol, which is half the current U.S. gasoline consumption. Ethanol from corn starch, now the primary source, could produce 15-20% of the 100 billion gallons, and the remainder would have to come from cellulose. Cellulosic ethanol requires increased crop yields and the development of biorefineries but provides higher energy returns than corn ethanol. Five of the six appendices in the report discuss cellulosic ethanol.

To realize ethanol's potential, the Aspen group advocates a multi-pronged approach of increasing feedstock production, conversion of biomass to ethanol, and the availability of flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs) and E85 (pdf) pumps, and improving the fuel economy of vehicles.

The mission of the Aspen Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC,
is to foster enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values.
A High Growth Strategy for Ethanol (pdf, 1.6MB, 85p.)

Related FR post: Ethanol - background and policy issues

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