Energy Policy Act Will Boost Biofuels Industry and Enhance U.S. Energy Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 29, 2005) – The Energy Policy Act cleared today by Congress for President Bush’s signature will improve domestic energy security by setting goals for production of renewable fuels made from U.S. agricultural resources. “The measures that President Bush is about to sign into law are a big step toward enhancing our national security by providing incentives for energy produced from renewable agricultural feedstocks,” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

“The application of biotechnology in the industrial setting is affecting a paradigm shift in how we produce energy, and this legislation will provide incentives to hurry the future of biofuels. Soon, we will be producing up to 25 percent of our transportation fuel needs by using industrial biotechnology to produce bioethanol, while adding $5 billion to the farm economy,” Greenwood continued.

In addition to requiring that the amount of renewable fuels – such as ethanol – blended with gasoline increase from 4 billion gallons in 2006 to 7.5 billion gallons in 2012, the act provides credit for ethanol made from non-traditional feedstocks like wheat straw and corn stover. The bill provides $200 million yearly until 2015 to update the Biomass Research and Development Act with the goal of rapidly boosting the production of biobased fuels at competitive prices and developing a broad range of biobased products that replace petroleum-based products. In addition, the act establishes a reverse auction to spur production of the first billion gallons of ethanol from cellulosic biomass and creation of a bioethanol industry. The bill also expands the Federal Agency Biobased Procurement Program to all federal contractors and the U.S. Capitol complex and provides loan guarantees for construction of biorefineries that convert cellulose to transportation fuel and biobased products.

“Enzymes and other life science tools developed by industrial biotechnology companies can now convert crop residues – such as corn stover and wheat straw – to sugars that can in turn be made into bioethanol, bioplastics and other renewable chemicals. New biotech processes are essential to reaching the alternative fuel production targets needed to enhance domestic energy security” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial Environmental Section.

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.