Advanced biofuels company warns oil lobbying may smother industry.

FT: “The US risks killing off its nascent advanced biofuels industry as soon as it is launched because of inadequate support from regulations, the chief executive of one of the sector’s leading companies has warned.”
Abengoa of Spain is on Friday celebrating the opening in Kansas of its first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, which will make fuel from agricultural waste such as corn cobs and straw.
However, Manuel Sánchez Ortega, Abengoa’s chief executive, told the Financial Times that the US government’s reluctance to mandate increased use of ethanol threatened to stifle the industry’s development.
“They can kill the [cellulosic ethanol] industry if they follow the argument of the oil companies,” he said
.
The Renewable Fuel Standard, first created in 2005, has mandated that a steadily increasing volume of ethanol and other biofuels should be used in US road fuels.
Last year, however, President Barack Obama’s administration moved to put a brake on the industry’s growth, cutting the mandated use of biofuels for the first time.
The oil industry and others have highlighted concerns about the “blend wall”: the maximum possible volume of biofuels that can be used, given that petrol with more than 10 per cent ethanol blended into it has not been approved for use in cars sold before 2001.
Mr Ortega said: “We have spent so much effort developing the technology, and now cellulosic ethanol is realistically available, it is difficult to understand the step they have taken.”
He added that Abengoa had committed to investing in the plant on the understanding that the renewable fuel standard would be there to support it.
….Its plant joins two similar facilities in Iowa: one opened by Poet of the US and Royal DSM of the Netherlands last month, and another from DuPont that is scheduled to open by the end of the year.
The cut in the RFS mandate announced last year for 2014 was only a proposal, and a final rule has still not yet been approved, giving ethanol producers hope that the final mandate could be higher.
“We have invested billions of dollars in this industry and it’s not the time to take that [support] away,” he said.”