The fervor over renewable fuels keeps building both here and abroad. For example, European Union (EU) leaders now have set a binding overall goal of 20% for renewable energy sources by 2020 in the 27-nation bloc. That's compared to their present use of 6.5%. The plan does, however, allow for flexibility in how each country contributes to the overall EU target.
They've also set an increase in the use of biofuels to 10% of all fuel used in transport. Plus, they've challenged the rest of the world to follow suit.
In the U.S., as you recall, we're already charging ahead after President Bush called for 35 billion gallons of alternative fuel by 2017.
Renewable energy talk is everywhere, from the country coffee house to the Washington Beltway. In fact, so far there have been over 35 ethanol-related bills introduced into the House and Senate, much of that spurred by the energy title in the new farm bill.
Besides that push, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) has sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging it to prepare for the production and use of a new blend of ethanol, E20 (20% ethanol and 80% gasoline). According to the Congressional Research Service, about 99% of domestically consumed ethanol is E10 or blends of gasoline with up to 10% ethanol; only 1% is consumed as E85. Thune is a ranking member of the Energy Subcommittee of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“By approving higher grades of ethanol-blended gasoline for use in non-flex-fuel vehicles, EPA can ensure a viable market for ethanol, give consumers greater choice of transportation motor fuels, and ensure that our ethanol industry does not hit the E10 wall,” Thune writes.
But what also needs to happen to make biofuels prosper is solid growth in infrastructure. We need more stations carrying E85, more flex-fuel vehicles and a pipeline system that can effectively accommodate ethanol.
Keep the pressure on your legislators to stay on top of renewable fuels issues — from field to pump — so the future remains bright.
Soy 2020, the visioning process that takes a look at all segments of the soybean industry, shared its process and scenario planning results at Commodity Classic in Tampa last month.
By the year 2020, the world population will likely exceed 8 billion people, with 93% of growth taking place in developing countries. To better position itself as a leader in the global marketplace for the future, the U.S. soybean industry has now developed a vision or roadmap.
Soy 2020 is not about predicting the future, but rather is an attempt to envision several plausible scenarios and make recommendations about how the U.S. soybean value chain may be successful in each of the environments.
Four potential scenarios were developed by Soy 2020 to look ahead so the industry could make sound, strategic decisions for the future. Those four scenarios are:
Details on these scenarios and the entire Soy 2020 process and visions can be found at www.soy2020vision.com.