E85 Boondoggle Of The Day: Second Generation Fraud

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Edmunds Inside Line reports that Alabama-based Cello Energy, which was supposed to produce 70 percent of the EPA’s 100m gallon/year cellulosic ethanol goal, has been convicted of fraud. A jury has awarded over $10m in damages to investors after witnesses testified that Cello’s supposedly biomass-derived fuel was actually petroleum based. Furthermore, it turns out that Cello only has the capability to produce 20m gallons of its putative biofuel per year. The EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) had banked on Cello to produce 70m gallons per annum. The downside? If (when) America’s cellulosic ethanol producers fail to meet the 100m gal/year mark inn 2010, the EPA could sell credits which would increase the biofuel’s price to $3/gallon. Current futures place the fuel’s value at $1.77/gallon. Alternatively, the EPA could postpone the ramp-up to 100m gal/year… but who’s expecting that to happen? Meanwhile, so-called “second-generation” biofuels continue to act as a subsidy magnet for an industry that is wholly addicted to feedstock-based fuels and government assistance.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Superbadd75 Superbadd75 on Jul 15, 2009

    I'd much rather have 100% alcohol free gas so I can actually get the fuel mileage I'm supposed to get. I know it's negligible, but a couple MPG is still a couple MPG!

  • Stein X Leikanger Stein X Leikanger on Jul 15, 2009

    "Growing" biofuels north of Mexico is a loss/loss proposition. You spend more energy than you are creating. Of course they resorted to fraud - just the water consumption and management related to cracking that much biofuel is cost prohibitive, and an environmental problem, to boot. This is one gargantuan, enormous, phenomenal con game, and it's not a solution, it's adding to the problem. And 2nd generation biomass is not any better, because of the problems associated with gathering it - to put it mildly, it's all over the place, compared to the first generation sources. The sentence "growing fuel for cars" should have started a ten alarm brainstorm somewhere ... clearly it didn't.

  • George B George B on Jul 15, 2009

    How has Coskata been doing? Their biomass to syngas, syngas to ethanol two step process allows for the potential "fraud" of substituting old dead plant carbon, coal, in the syngas step. Potential to launder politically incorrect coal into politically favored ethanol.

  • Paul_y Paul_y on Jul 15, 2009

    Biofuels aren't the problem. It's the corn industry that is. ...and shysters like these guys.