Annual Energy Outlook Underestimates Production of Ethanol from Cellulose BIO Says

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 7, 2006) – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today said the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Annual Energy Outlook 2007,” released earlier this week, severely underestimates growth in production of ethanol from cellulose over the next few years. The EIA’s outlook projects very slow growth in production of ethanol from cellulose, reaching only 300 million gallons per year by 2030, just slightly higher than the 250 million gallons per year required beginning in 2013 under the Renewable Fuels Standard included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

“The Energy Information Administration’s calculations fail to take into account recent developments in the ethanol industry that will ramp up production of ethanol from cellulose,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section. “With industrial biotech processes ready for deployment and production -- by companies such as Abengoa, Iogen, Broin, and Mascoma -- and currently available feedstock from agricultural residues, ethanol production could reach three times current levels within three to five years as ethanol from cellulose is added to the current biofuel technology mix.”

The EIA’s Outlook report projects growth in production of ethanol from corn to reach 13.6 billion gallons per year by 2030, consistent with projections from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy (DOE). The USDA and DOE report “Biomass as Feedstock for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry” also projects production of 47 billion gallons of ethanol from cellulose by 2030.

Erickson continued, “Growth in production of ethanol from cellulose is based on proven biotech advances that could significantly increase the availability of our overall ethanol supply by 2030. Recent announcements by several companies indicate cellulosic biomass ethanol units will either be added to existing ethanol plants or will be built separately within the next two years. For example, Abengoa is building the world’s first commercial ethanol from cellulose facility in Spain and Broin has announced plans to add a cellulosic unit to its facility in Emmetsburg, Iowa. This is real evidence the EIA report does not adequately account for rapid growth in production of ethanol from cellulose we see coming.”

BIO supports the production of ethanol from all feedstocks. Agricultural biotechnology is helping to increase corn yields, while industrial biotechnology is helping to convert corn starch and crop residues into ethanol more efficiently. With ongoing advances in biotechnology, biofuels can help America meet nearly half its transportation-fuel needs by the middle of this century.

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.