The Current Status of Cellulosic Biofuel Commercialization


Paul Winters
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) signed into law in December 2007 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) created aggressive mandates for the production and use of advanced and cellulosic biofuels. The benefits anticipated from mandated use of biofuels include energy security through domestic production of transportation fuel and environmental improvement through the reduction of greenhouse gas and other particulate emissions associated with fuel combustion. Additional benefits include creating new markets for agricultural products, keeping productive farm land in use, and improving trade balances. Through the first 12 months of the program (July 2010 - June 2011), however, no cellulosic biofuel production was registered for sale and use under the RFS. The shortfall has led to skepticism of the commercial viability of the technology.