Setbacks could probably be the best way to sum up the advance of the next generation biofuel production, but these things take time.
Ethanol is a major biofuel used here in the US, and is produced from corn. Of course, there could be better uses for agricultural land used to produce corn simply for use as a fuel. Plant waste, on the other hand, wouldn’t waste any valuable crop lands, and development of the next generation biofuels is focused on using this other plentiful natural resource.
According to a recent study by New Energy Finance, cellulosic biofuels currently cost about $3.56/gal to produce, but could cost as little as corn-based biofuels by 2016, about $2.54/gal.
Development of cellulosic biofuels though, hasn’t gone as fast as planned. KIOR in Columbus, MO, is producing biodiesel made from wood chips could be making three to five million gallons this year.
DuPont’s new plant in Nevada, IA, could be completed next year and produce thirty million gallons of ethanol made from cast-off corn stalks and leaves. This is just a, pardon the pun, drop in the bucket when compared to the 134 billion gallons of fuel consumed in 2011 alone.