Not everyone in favor of $510M for drop-ins

While a majority of the biorefining community are in favor of the recent $510 million federal gov't commitment to build drop-in biofuel plants, not all of them are.
By Ron Kotrba | August 18, 2011

The big news this week of course is that the Navy, DOE and USDA are committing up to $510 million for construction or retrofitting of “several” drop-in biofuel plants.

The difference in opinion on this, depending on where your position in the world of renewable fuels lies, is striking.

U.S. Rep. Colin Peterson of Minnesota has come out publicly against the measure stating that it creates competition for the 21 corn ethanol plants in his state. Competition? Not really. Fostering a drop-in—or advanced, or next-generation, or whatever words you prefer to use—biofuel industry does not mean corn ethanol plants in Minnesota would stop producing, mainly because there is a mandated demand for it in RFS2 to satisfy the 15 billion gallon conventional biofuel carve-out.

For Peterson, the top democrat on the house ag committee, it’s a shame he cannot see the real value of this development. One of those new drop-in biofuel plant projects may end up in his state, would he support the measure then?

For different reasons, perhaps more sound than Peterson’s, the Advanced Biofuels USA organization—not to be confused with the Advanced Biofuels Association—is against the $510 million commitment because of the one-to-one private industry matching fund minimum requirement.

It stated: “This is the same private capital market that is reeling from the downgrade of the US Federal debt and turmoil in the European government debt market. This leads to the primary question about this White House initiative. Are they serious? Do the people who approved this proposal really think that $510 million over three years is really enough money to build the infrastructure needed to meet a significant portion of the Navy’s demand for drop-in jet and diesel biofuels?”  

Where do you stand on the issue?