Cellulosic Ethanol a Reality

Cellulosic ethanol - biofuel produced from non-edible plant material - has been 'five years out' for a long time. Obstacles remain to mass production, but a handful of producers are up and running.
February 16, 2009, 5am PST | Tim Halbur
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"Corn-based ethanol, which many critics argue does not do enough to slow climate change, is nearing US production limits. In Washington, cellulosic ethanol is gaining political traction. And cellulosic technology seems ready for prime time – at last.

The proof, Stowers says, lies inside a nearby windowless, high-roofed single-story metal building. Filled with a maze of pipes and vats, this $8 million test facility is a miniature cellulosic ethanol plant that pumps out 20,000 gallons a year of nearly clear alcohol extracted from cobs like the ones beneath his feet.

'This pilot plant shows cellulosic ethanol is real – that the technology is here,' Stowers says. 'Ultimately, cellulosic will allow us to make significant inroads to replacing oil for our nation's gasoline needs.'"

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Published on Friday, February 13, 2009 in The Christian Science Monitor
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