Advances in biofuel production provide increasing opportunities for this renewable fuel to replace liquid fossil fuels in our vehicles. Increased use of ethanol biofuels in our internal combustion engine vehicles will help reduce CO2 greenhouse gas pollution and help improve the sustainability of our transportation systems. Most gasoline sold in the US is now a blend containing 10% ethanol (E10 fuel), so all of our light-duty vehicles are already running on E10 fuel.
US EPA has approved use of gasoline with 15% ethanol (E15 fuel) in all light-duty motor vehicles sold in the US since 2001, <ref>E15 (a blend of gasoline and ethanol) | Fuels & Fuel Additives | US EPA "On October 13, 2010, EPA granted the first partial waiver (PDF) (58 pp; 4.6M; published November 4, 2010) for E15 for use in MY2007 and newer light-duty motor vehicles (i.e., cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). On January 21, 2011, EPA granted the second partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2001-2006 light-duty motor vehicles. These decisions were based on test results provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other test data and information regarding the potential effect of E15 on vehicle emissions."</ref> but this fuel is not yet widely available at fuel stations. <ref>E10, E15, E85 and Issues Surrounding the Ethanol Blend Wall – Biofuel Policy Watch blog 11jan2013 "... opposition to E15 has emerged from various entrenched interests, including the petroleum industry, certain auto and engine manufacturers, and others who are more broadly opposed to biofuels in general"</ref>
A smaller, but growing number of "flexfuel" vehicles are designed to use fuel blends with up to 85% ethanol (E85 fuel). Availablity of E85 biofuel is limited but growing, with websites and cellphone apps available to help drivers find nearby fuel stations that offer E85 biofuel.
Brazil has flexfuel vehicles designed to use any mixture of fuel from pure gasoline to pure ethanol (E100 fuel).
Carbon Footprint of Ethanol
US DOE reports that use of corn stover (crop wastes such as stems, leaves and cobs) as a feedstock for cellulosic ethanol biofuel provides a 130% reduction in carbon footprint compared to that of gasoline or diesel fuels. See the chart below. <ref>Bioenergy Sustainability - Biomass Program US DOE July 2011</ref> This was based on an extensive study published in 2010 on the environmental and economic impacts of replacing gasoline and diesel with renewable fuels, including indirect land use changes (ILUC) in the areas where biofuels are grown. <ref>Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS2) Regulatory Impact Analysis, epa.gov Feb 2010</ref>
Production of ethanol from corn grain provided only a modest 19% reduction in carbon footprint compared to that of gasoline based on the data from 2010, but data from 2013 showed recent improvements in efficiency of ethanol production and a 62% reduction in carbon footprint for corn grain ethanol biofuel vs. gasoline or diesel fuel.<ref>Re-thinking the Carbon Reduction Value of Corn Ethanol Fuel - cleanfuelsdc.org Winter 2015</ref> Thus, the first generation ethanol biofuel made from corn grain or sugarcane provides a significant improvement in carbon footprint and second generation biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol from corn stover or switchgrass are even better.
Additional Biofuels and Feedstocks
Many other biofuels are in various stages of research, government approval and production in commercial quantities: isobutanol, farnesene, dimethyl ether, and methanol. Feedstocks for production of these biofuels include: crop wastes, municipal wastes, livestock manure, and algae.
- 2015.01.00 - Contribution of Biomass to Emissions Mitigation under a Global Climate Policy - MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change
- Biofuels video playlist - Dr. Andrew A. Frank
- Video lists: #Biofuel, #SecondGenerationBiofuels, #EthanolFuel, #E85, #CellulosicEthanol
- Video lists: #ButanolFuel, #Biodiesel, #AlgaeFuel, #AviationBiofuel, #Biogas
Biofuels as Renewable Energy: Ethanol From Crop Residue - YouTube - mnagricualture 21march2014 "Tom Rothman, former Minnesota farm broadcaster and current Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation Board Chair, narrates a great story about how POET, a large renewable energy company, is using corn stover (plant parts) to create ethanol at a huge processing plant at Emmetsburg, Iowa."
Biofuel from cornfield residue - YouTube - ThisAmericanLand 03feb2014 "Farmers in Iowa are harvesting corn stover - stalks, leaves, husks and cobs - as biomass for production of cellulosic ethanol."
Bio-Fuel: Science Competes to Create 'Non-Food Ethanol' - YouTube - Bloomberg News 01may2013 "Harry Boyle, lead analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, discusses the future of renewable energy as scientists look to cheaply create a new, non-food ethanol bio-fuel."
Cellulosic Ethanol Biofuel - YouTube - GreenIsSexyTV's channel 14jan2013 Interview of Dr. Wes Marner, Univ Wisconsin-Madison discussing what makes biofuels a good alternative to gasoline.
- electric vehicles biofuel - Google News
- Biofuels Digest
- Biofuels - Greentech Media
- Biofuel - Green Fleet Magazine
- 2014.11.22 - The fight over the Renewable Fuel Standard, explained - Vox "In recent years, gasoline refiners and biofuels producers have been fighting over how much ethanol US cars can safely handle. Refiners say we've reached the limit." "Refiners and automakers call this the "blend wall" and argue that cars will get damaged if we go above this limit (because ethanol is more corrosive). Biofuels producers, for their part, say there are ways around the wall — oil companies are just blocking them."
- 2014.10.27 - The new frontier in ethanol production - Yahoo7 Finance Australia "After a decade of research and development, ethanol maker Poet Inc and its Dutch partner Royal DSM recently produced the first cellulosic ethanol at a $US275 million ($A297.54 million) plant next to a cornfield in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Two other companies are completing new cellulosic ethanol plants in Iowa and Kansas. By 2015, they expect to be producing millions of gallons of the advanced biofuel. Yet the goal of producing ethanol from non-food sources faces a murky future. Wavering US policy on renewable fuels and the North American oil boom cast a shadow over the commercial triumph."
- 2013.07.25 - Biofuel Makers Seek to Ease Mandates to Avert Congress - Bloomberg
- 2013.07.24 - Expert: What Farmers Need from Biofuels Policy in 2014 | Farm Journal Magazine
- 2013.07.25 - Clean, green high-performance biofuels from carbon dioxide
- 2013.07.25 - Biofuel Makers Seek to Ease Mandates to Head-Off Lawmakers - Businessweek
- 2013.07.22 - Biofuel groups swing back at oil industry, defend federal blending mandate - The Hill's E2-Wire
- 2013.07.24 - Alaska Airlines to buy biofuel from Hawaii company - Hawaii News - Honolulu Star-Advertiser
- Renewable biofuels replace fossil fuels to reduce climate change - Andy Frank at YouTube
- Fuels America
- Biofuels, Biodiesel and Ethanol - The New York Times
- Biofuels - Solid, liquid, or gas fuels made from biomass - alternative-energy-news.info
- Biofuels | Environment | The Guardian
- Biofuels | Energy Sources | Chevron
- IEA - Biofuels - International Energy Agency
- BP Biofuels
- Biofuels Center of NC
- Biofuels - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
- Biofuels - American Council On Renewable Energy
- Advanced BioFuels USA
- Biofuels and alternative transport fuels - Shell Global