E85 Boondoggle of the Day: Wherever The People Are As Green As The Money

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

As bailout after bailout sucks the federal teat dry, the ethanol lobby is finally doing the patriotic thing by taking its insatiable greed for public money to China. Green Car Congress reports that General Motors and its cellulosic ethanol partner Coskata are making the pitch for US-style ethanol subsidies in the Happy Shiny Peoples Republic Of China. At the World Biofuel Symposium hosted by Beijing’s Tsinghua University, GM and Coskata announced that China could produce 45-49 billion gallons per year (BGPY) of cellulosic biofuels by 2030… with the proper subsidies. And though the 45-49 BGPY would be 60% derived from agricultural residue, 20% from grasses, 10% from forest residue and 10% from “other,” China’s capacity is estimated (by GM and Coskata) at only half that amount without government incentives. E10 mandates in several of China’s largest provinces have already increased grain-based ethanol production from 100 million gallons in 2004 to about 500 million in 2008, but the Chinese government is also trying to limit grain-based production for all of the obvious reasons. Hence GM and Coskata’s attempts to hype their cellulosic ethanol approach, despite not having plans to open a commercial demonstrator plant before 2011. Meanwhile, “GM will continue to advance its strategy of ‘in China, with China, for China‘ to help China develop diverse automotive energy solutions and commercialize such energy solutions, according to GM China VP David Chen. All we can say to China is, beware of Americans bearing biofuels and patriotism. Then again, better you than us. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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