Alternative Fuels Australia

US, Australia to consider cellulosic ethanol partnership

Posted by Car Geek on August 31, 2007

Bush and Howard at the 2005 APEC summit. Photo from http://flickr.com/photos/epacris/1167944913/, licensed under CC 2.0.While most of the energy news regarding the upcoming APEC summit in Sydney is concerned with nuclear power, the topic of cellulosic ethanol production is also expected to come up during the forum next week, with potentially huge implications for Australia’s ethanol industry.

US President George W. Bush is expected to invite Australia to be part of a plan to produce ethanol from wild grasses, a process also known as cellulosic ethanol production. If cellulosic ethanol becomes economically viable in Australia, it would allow ethanol to be produced from land that is not currently being used for feedstock, currently a major hurdle in the widespread acceptance and use of the fuel.

Recent advances in the United States have proven the ability to produce ethanol from the cellulose in plant matter, such as switchgrass, however the production capacity remains at a small scale due to cost prohibitions. President Bush is allegedly very interested in expanding US ethanol production using these methods, and is expected to brief Howard on recent developments during the APEC summit.

(Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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