Cellulosic ethanol: “Just around the corner” since 2007

July 23, 2013

In a House of Representatives Energy and Commerce committee hearing on July 23 on the Renewable Fuel Standard, representatives of the Ethanol Lobby said that cellulosic biofuels are “just around the corner.” RFA’s President and CEO Bob Dinneen has been saying this for years:

  • Center for Evergreen Energy reports: “Robert Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, host of the conference, said cellulosic ethanol will revolutionize the industry. ‘Five years from now, the ethanol industry will be unrecognizable from what it is today, because of cellulosic ethanol,’ Dinneen said. New crops could fuel new wave of ethanol – 26 February 2007
  • enerG reports: “Dinneen said that a number of companies are working to commercialize cellulosic ethanol. Iogen, Inc., a Canadian enzyme company, has been producing cellulosic ethanol from wheat straw since 2004 at a one million-gallon plant in Ontario. The company is planning to begin construction of a commercial facility in the U.S. during the summer of 2007. Abengoa Bioenergy Corp. has begun construction of a grain and cellulose ethanol plant in Spain. The company plans to bring that technology to the U.S. as soon as the technology is proven successful. ‘Numerous other companies are moving toward commercialization, and I am confident cellulosic ethanol will be a reality quite soon,’ said Dinneen.” Putting energy into ethanol production – January/February 2007
  • Agriculture.com reports on the availability of biofuels: “When Bob Dinneen started working for the Renewable Fuels Association 20 years ago, the Department of Energy was saying that cellulosic ethanol would be commercially viable in five years. Today, the estimate is still just five more years to ethanol that isn't made from grain alone. ‘With the resources that are being thrown at it now, it's inconceivable to me that we're not able to crack the code in a matter of years,’ said Dinneen, who is now president of the trade group that lobbies for the ethanol industry in Washington, D.C.” Cellulosic ethanol could be just around the corner this time – 7 February 2007
  • ISIS reports: “Most importantly, Dinnen said, one of the new plants coming this year would be the first commercial plant using the cellulosic process, which can convert ordinary plant matter into fuel, rather than using corn. ‘Cellulosic ethanol is no longer around the corner or on the horizon,’ he said. ‘Cellulosic ethanol is here today.’” ICIS – 24 February 2009
  • Bob Dinneen said in his testimony before the House Agriculture Committee: “Without a doubt, the commercial success of the second generation of biofuels will be contingent upon the continued success of first generation biofuels. It is important to understand that cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels are no longer ‘just around the corner’ or ‘just over the horizon’ — they are here today. Several pilot and demonstration-scale facilities are producing ethanol from cellulosic sources and waste products today. And nearly 30 cellulosic ethanol facilities — both pilot and commercial scale — are under construction or in various stages of development. The RFA's members have an intimate understanding of what is necessary to make advanced biofuel a commercial success.” LOW CARBON FUELS IN THE SPOTLIGHT ON CAPITOL HILL – 21 May 2009
  • Bob Dinneen said in his remarks during the World Ethanol 2009 Summit: “For almost 25 years, many of us have said that the development of cellulosic and other next generation ethanol technologies has been ‘just around the corner.’ Well, now, we’re turning the corner.Working Together – June 2009
  • Bob Dinneen said in the interview with Monica Trauzzi in OnPoint: “If we're going to continue to grow the ethanol industry and evolve the ethanol industry and have markets there for cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels, without the tax incentive that doesn't happen. So we are very committed to making sure the industry is able to continue to grow and evolve these marketplaces that are opening up. And that's why extending the tax incentive needs to occur.” RFA's Dinneen discusses industry’s mixed response to E15 decision – 2 November 2010
  • Bob Dinneen wrote in a letter to the President: “Advanced biofuel technologies are rapidly being developed and proven at pilot and demonstration-scale facilities all across the country. A wide range of feedstocks and technologies for next generation biofuels are proving effective replacements for finite supplies of fossil fuels in our transportation fuel mix. The technologies work.” Letter to the President – 8 November 2010
  • Governors’ Biofuels Coalition reports: “‘You know it’s never been a question of will this technology work, will we be able to produce ethanol from new feedstocks,’ Dinneen said. ‘It’s always been a question of where is the financing going to come from. You’re beginning to see investment dollars flow to that sector and I do think you’re going to see commercial production of cellulosic ethanol soon, but don’t ask me to define soon.’” Governor’s Biofuels Coalition – 4 January 2012
  • Ethanol Producer Magazine reports: “‘We’re all disappointed that cellulosic hasn’t come on as rapidly as anybody anticipated, but no one anticipated the economic collapse in 2008 either, and it is that situation and the devastating impact that it had on the financial sector that made it so difficult to secure funding for new projects like cellulosic ethanol,’ he [Bob Dinneen] says. ‘That’s beginning to turn around,’ [Dinneen added].” The Battle for the RFS – 12 June 2012
  • Bob Dinneen said in his testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee: “These are not “phantom fuels,” as some would have us believe. In fact, it was reported just last week that the first cellulosic biofuel RINs were generated by an ethanol facility in Upton, Wyoming, a small town in the heart of the state’s oil patch.” Hearing on The American Energy Initiative: A Focus on Alternative Fuels and Vehicles, Both the Challenges and Opportunities – 10 July 2012
  • Bob Dinneen writes in The E-Xchange (Renewable Fuels Association Blog): “The cellulosic biofuels sector now has facilities under development in more than 20 states. Over the last decade, enzyme costs have been reduced by 80 percent, and now cellulosic biofuels are being produced for $2.00 per gallon or less. This progress has been possible because federal incentives have been flexible, targeted, and somewhat successful in leveling a playing field that is still heavily tilted to fossil fuels.” Bob Dinneen Responds to WSJ Factually Tortured Ethanol Editorial – 29 January 2013
  • Brian McBournie, energy editor at SmartBrief, writes: “Cellulosic ethanol saw significant milestones in 2012, Dinneen noted. The first commercial cellulosic-ethanol plant began operations, and there are more under construction.” Live from #NEC13: RFA CEO Bob Dinneen discusses ethanol’s challenges – 6 February 2013
  • Brian McBournie, energy editor at SmartBrief, writes: “Dinneen pointed out that a commercial-scale cellulosic-ethanol plant is online and others are in construction…Live from #NEC13: Ethanol supporters and opponents debate policy – 7 February 2013
  • Biofuels Digest reports: “The nay-sayers keep writing obituaries for cellulosic ethanol. But the real news is that, in 2012, the first commercial cellulose plant was completed and several others began construction. Ineos in Florida is producing cellulosic ethanol today. From Abengoa in Kansas to ZeaChem in Oregon, the future of the ethanol industry can now be seen, [said Bob Dinneen].” Battle for the Barrel: Ethanol strikes back as industry is “under siege but fighting back.” – 7 February 2013