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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Study Shows Bioelectricty Better Than Ethanol

A new study concluded that vehicles powered by bioelectricity provided 80 percent more miles of transporation per crop acre than vehicles running on ethanol made from corn or switchgrass. Conducted by researchers from Stanford University and the University of California, Merced, the study looked at the lifecycle of bioelectricity and ethanol technologies. 

In miles per acre, bioelectricity powered vehicles performed better. The output of bioelectricity powered vehicles is on average 112 percent greater than ethanol, and can prevent or offset the release of up to 10 tons of carbon dioxide per acre. 

In one example, a small truck powered by bioelectricity could travel almost 15,000 miles while the internal combustion equivalent only traveled 8,000 miles. In another example, a small SUV with an internal combustion engine traveled about 9,000 highway miles, while the bioelectricity powered one traveled 14,000 highway miles.

"The internal combustion engine just isn't very efficient, especially when compared to electric vehicles," said co-author Eliott Campbell of U.C. Merced "Even the best ethanol-producing technologies with hybrid vehicles aren't enough to overcome this." 

"We found that converting biomass to electricity rather than ethanol makes the most sense for two policy-relevant issues: transportation and climate," said co-author David Lobell of Stanford. "

Obama estabishes the Biofuels Interagency Working Group

Earlier this month, the Obama administration establish the Biofuels Interagency Working Group to advance biofuels research. President signed a Presidential Directive to established it, and announced that it would receive $786.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). 

"We must invest in a clean energy economy that will lead to new jobs, new businesses and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said President Obama. "The steps I am announcing today help bring us closer to that goal. If we are to be a leader in the 21st century global economy, then we must lead the world in clean energy technology. Through American ingenuity and determination, we can and will succeed."

According to a White House press release, the group will deveop a comprehensive biofuel market development program, coordinate infrastructure policies impacting the biofuel supply, and identify new policy options to promote the environmental sustainability of biofuels.

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