The maturation of biofuels is at a "turning point", the New York Times writes.
A Spanish company, Abengoa Bioenergy, is building a large plant in Kansas to produce cellulosic ethanol from corn stalks and wheat straw, but at the same time, the Times notes that "the appetite for such fuels seems to be diminishing."
The US Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, is considering lowering the amount of advanced biofuels that have to be incorporated into vehicle fuel this year, an amount set by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, by more than 40 percent, it says.
Other goals of the act may also be unrealistic, the Times says. It calls for 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels to be reached by 2022. “It would take an enormous effort of deploying capital and labor and engineering,” Paul Winters, a spokesman for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, tells the Times.
So far, BIO says more than $5.7 billion has been invested in developing advanced biofuels, but $95 billion or more in private investment would be needed over the next decade to meet the long-term congressional targets.
Still companies like Abengoa are hopeful. It plans to produce 25 million gallons of biofuel a year at the Kansas plant, the Times notes.