SEPT by maclaren1




                                          EFFICIENTLY & ECONOMICALLY!!
We cannot & must not let the oil companies take control of our emerging Bio-fuels Industry &
thereby to control the price of our food & daily needs as they do with their fossil fuels! Driving us
into economic meltdown! TIME IS RUNNING OUT!


UPDATE(24) (10.3.09) My Sources: The American coalition for Ethanol,N.E.V.C (The U.S.A National
Ethanol Vehicle Coalition) Underwriters Laboratories (U.L) gasket & seal authority’s certifiers) Greenfuel Algae Bio-
diesel, Algae-Link, Bio King Inc. Bio-Diesel Reactor Manufacturing & suppliers. Also Celebrated NASA Aerospace
Engineer & President of Pioneer Astronautics research and development Robert Zubrin. Agriculture
Successful Farming Magazine, Poet energy, Alico Energy LLC. Coskata energy. Ethanol Producer Mag. Biodiesel
Mag. U.S.D.A (U.S.Dept. Agriculture, U.S.D.O.E (U.S.Dept.of Energy)
 This Issue features.          The first in Aust. & opening & coming on line of the foreign owned Dalby QLD Ethanol
Plant funded by NM Rothchild% Sons (Australia) & Suncorp Metway! With a projected yearly target of 9 million
litres of sorghum dry feed Ethanol! U.S. Congressional members urged to make of ethanol 15% a part of the
automakers' financial assistance package! Australian SOURGHUM storage stockpile! The SHOCKING ETHANOL
ENAHANCER? The process that’s squeezing more Ethanol from a bushel of corn using the OptiSwitch Technology !
The truth about indirect land use for ethanol! The Bio-fuels Industry pushes the big food companies back putting
them on notice! More proof that rising food prices are not caused by the ethanol Industry!

“ Fear always springs from ignorance ”
                                        Ralph Waldo Emerson


Just as I reported back in late 2005 the Dalby Bio-refinery limited & its banking partner NM Rothschild
& Sons (Australia) Limited who were appointed to arrange the finance of $54 Million for the
multinational plant! Have announced the plant will produce 9 million litres of Ethanol this year!

The following is what I wrote about it back in 2005: Chris Harrison, Director of Dalby Bio-Refinery
Limited, said back then Quote: “The first stage of the project would produce 40 million litres of ethanol
while the full project will have annual production of a minimum of 80 million litres.” Unquote!
The plant now however will produce just 90 million in this its first year! It is the first dry mill grain fed
plant in Australia & is the first move toward foreign owned dominance of our fledgling Ethanol Industry
that is aimed at locking out our Aussie farmers !

This is the move I feared would take place & it is now ever more urgent that we get through to our
Farmers the fact that they need to act NOW on moves to control this Industry themselves
Suncorp Metway Limited at the time offered to provide the plant’s working capital requirements.
“We are constructing the plant in two stages, to allow our project to grow with the market,” they said.
“We are using proven grain to ethanol technology from an industry leader in the US fuel ethanol
industry, Delta-T Corporation of Williamsburg, Virginia.”

Producing 90 million litres of ethanol a year, the Dalby ethanol plant means cleaner, more
efficient fuel with wideranging benefits for the country’s environment.

Sorghum storage
Giant grain heaps building at southern Queensland‘s major receival sites suggest producers will struggle to
get the State‘s bumper sorghum crop safely under wraps before the headers complete their hectic summer
crop schedule.

■  Two new 25,000t pads are planned to ease late SQ storage problems.
■ The 2008 Australian crop is tipped to reach 3mt.
■ Sorghum ‗glut‘ looms for growing crop with possible 1mt surplus.

GIANT grain heaps building at southern Queensland‘s major receival sites suggest producers will struggle to get the
State‘s bumper sorghum crop safely under wraps before the headers complete their hectic summer crop schedule.
Incredibly, if one industry analyst is correct, Australia‘s sorghum crop this year will top three million tonnes – an
unheard of figure since broadacre production got into its stride following

World War 2. And it took but a short tour of the Downs‘ major grain-handling sites on the weekend to appreciate the
2008 season‘s massive volumes, with many producers scratching their heads at the number of closed depots – the
result of former grain industry rationalization moves. Against this backdrop, Dalby Bio-Refinery commodities

manager Peter Wylie says plans are in hand to build two 25,000-tonne storage pads – operated by GrainCorp – in a
bid to alleviate Southern Queensland‘s late-crop storage problems. Key growing districts such as the Darling Downs
usually grow about 250,000 hectares of sorghum, averaging 3t/ha. ―But sorghum yields have broken records this
summer with dryland crops yielding as much as 13t/ha,‖ Mr Wylie said.

―The average yield for the Darling Downs is likely to exceed 5t/ha this year and the area is up around 350,000ha.‖
Sorghum marketers have been gradually coming to grips with the unprecedented size of the crop. Mr Wylie
suggested a harvest of 2mt in Southern Queensland would translate
to a truly bumper 3.3mt Australiawide tally by the time header engines start to cool down during the next few weeks.
―And a lot of it‘s already in the bin,‖ he said.
Now the talk is of a Southern Queensland sorghum ‗glut‘ – exacerbated by the reduced demand from beef cattle
feedlots which, reportedly, are utilising a little over half their capacity. Pig numbers too are also down and dairy
farmers are having a better season, requiring less grain.

The suggestion is that with production of 2mt in Southern Queensland will result in a 1mt surplus based on forecast
demand only being in the order of 1mt. ―That 1mt is either going to be exported or sitting here next February when
we harvest the next crop of sorghum,‖ Mr Wylie said. ―Some will go by boat from Brisbane but the shipping and
port cost is around $95/t, plus freight to Brisbane, and freight from Melbourne to customer.‖ Mr Wylie said that with
freight from Goondiwindi at $130/t ―wheat has to stay at $130/t more than sorghum for this transfer to continue‖.
With rumours persisting, the Japanese may buy sorghum out of Central Queensland between June and September,
mainly because exporting from Gladstone is cheaper.

This still leaves a big surplus in Southern Queensland. ―Unfortunately, for farmers, this potentially will result in a
weakness in prices as the year goes, on as there will be a lot of sorghum without a home,‖ Mr Wylie said. This raises
the question of what proportion of this year‘s crop is ‗warehoused‘, or still owned by producers, in the event of
prices easing later . AGA Dalby-based spokesman Brad Taylor continues to keep a close eye on pricing trends. ―At
the moment they are holding firm at around $248/t to $252/t Brisbane track,‖ he said. However, Mr Taylor said the
market had potential to go down – ―unless we get a big export sale‖.

Bulk handler AWB‘s Ken Hudson says the company‘s GrainFlow site at Jondaryan, for example, currently held
more than 130,000t of sorghum making it the ―best ever‖ for the complex which opened a few years ago. ―We‘ve
been very well supported by the growers and we‘re preparing another bunker – so there‘s still 30,000t to 40,000t of
space there, if required,‖ Mr Hudson said.

                                         Ethanol is emerging as the preferred oxygenate in the
                                         Australian hydrocarbon pool – given both its neutral ‗carbon
                                         footprint‘ coupled with its inherent chemical properties; it is
                                         possible, with modest blending proportions, to raise Research
                                         Octane Number (―RON‖) eg 10% ethanol added to 91RON
                                         unleaded will increase the RON to between 94 to 95. Most
                                         cars in production since 2000 can use 10% ethanol blends
                                         (generically called ―e10‖) without modification.

The ethanol market has been strengthened by government and industry support, together with growing
consumer acceptance. The Queensland Government has announced a 5% ethanol Mandate commencing
2010; it is actively promoting ethanol usage through various industry assistance programs and has required
the government fleet utilise 10% ethanol blend (e10) by 2010. The Commonwealth has recently announced
that ethanol may be blended into the hydrocarbon pool at up to 2.5% concentration without formal
declaration and is exploring other initiatives for its increased use. The NSW Government has recently
announced a 2% ethanol mandate for the State commencing October 2007. With the increasing offering by
the major oil companies and independents of an e10 blend and the continued support of both Federal and
State Governments ethanol is receiving an ever increasing acceptance by consumers in Australia.

The use of ethanol in Australian transportation fuel markets will produce the following benefits:
         Reduction in greenhouse gas and tailpipe emissions providing significant health benefits;

         Extension of finite resources of fossil fuels reducing reliance on imported crude oil (and in any
          event, ‗fresh‘ barrels of crude oil intake to the refinery);

         Cost-effective source of the octane that is required as a result of:

               o    Engine manufacturers requirement for higher octane fuel;

               o    Australia‘s adoption of the Euro 3 Fuel standards being more stringent emission control
                    standards from 1 January 20061 and Euro 4 standards from 1 January 2008;

         Reduction in the overall cost of Unleaded Motor Spirit (―UMS‖) to the consumer particularly while
          crude oil prices are at all-time highs;

         Regional development and employment; and

         Renewable energy resource.

POSTED: DEC 04, 2008

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) today wrote to Congressional leaders on behalf of its coalition
of more than 1500 members nationwide, asking that an approval of E15 be included in the financial
assistance package to the automakers.

The letter stated: "In order to continue current progress toward making cellulosic biofuel a commercial
reality, we recommend that the financial assistance package guarantee that fuel retailers can dispense 15
percent ethanol blends and require auto companies to stand by warranties for car owners that choose to use
such blends. Without expanding the current market to include 15 percent blends, no market will be
available for cellulosic ethanol, and investment in this new technology will grind to a halt while
automakers retool to produce more flexible fuel vehicles." Current law places an arbitrary limit of just 10
percent on the amount of ethanol permitted in a gallon of gasoline. In 2009, every gallon of motor fuel that
can contain 10 percent ethanol will contain 10 percent ethanol, running our nations use of ethanol-blended
fuel into the "E10 blend wall". View the full press release here.

Ethanol producer Mag. March 2009


A Shocking Ethanol Enhancer
Squeezing more ethanol from a bushel of corn is one way for an ethanol producer to stay on top of his
game. California-based OptiSwitch Technology has developed a process that could increase ethanol
production by 5 percent or more, using high-power silicon switches to apply voltage to the cell walls of the
corn kernel.
By Anna Austin

How does a company that makes high-performance semiconductor switches make an ethanol plant more
efficient? OptiSwitch Technology Corp. developed a reliable, solid-state switch (a component that can
break an electrical circuit) for critical military applications with the help of some internal funding and a
$10 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense. OptiSwitch‘s specialty is producing high-
power, short-duration electrical systems, or ―pulsed power,‖ which use high voltages—10,000 to more than
100,000 volts—and high currents—10,000 to more than 100,000 amperes—for durations of hundreds of
microseconds or less.

On the surface, the company‘s connection to biofuels isn‘t obvious, but its budding technology has the
potential to fit comfortably into the industry.

Interest in Ethanol
OptiSwitch became interested in ethanol about two years ago, according to David Giorgi, chief technology
officer and president of OptiSwitch. The technology the company has developed is based on
electroporation, or electropermeabilization, a process that is more familiar to those in the medical industry
or cancer patients who have received chemotherapy treatments than to ethanol producers.

During electroporation, high electrical pulses are briefly applied to the cell plasma membrane, or cell wall,
which permeate or poke holes in the cell. In the medical field, this is done to introduce effective amounts of
medicine into a cell or specific area. The holes serve a different purpose in ethanol production. Rather than

introducing a substance into the cell, the holes poked into corn kernels allow starch to effectively come out
of the cell and to gain more accessibility to enzymes.

Pictured is an artist’s rendering of an electroporation system for a 25 MMgy ethanol plant. A 100 MMgy
plant would require four of these systems.

The company‘s ethanol research process involved a visit to an institute in Karlsruhe, Germany, which was
using electroporation to increase the sugar yields in sugar beets, Giorgi says. ―The problem they had is that
they were using a switch called a spark gap, which consists of two electrodes that you over-volt and
develop a spark between to close the switch,‖ he explains. ―The process of forming the spark causes
erosion of the electrodes, which limits the life and reliability of the system. They weren‘t able to get the
system to operate for the duration of the sugar beet harvest—or three months.‖

After seeing that process, OptiSwitch decided to use a semiconductor instead of a spark gap, Giorgi says.
―These are everywhere—in your cell phone or camcorder—and they are very reliable,‖ he says. ―The
problem with these types of switches is that they are low power, and we needed high power.‖ To remedy
the situation, the company took silicon semiconductor switches and engineered them for high-power, high-
current applications.

During the company‘s experiments, which were conducted and evaluated at the National Corn-to-Ethanol
Research Center on the Southern Illinois University campus in Edwardsville, OptiSwitch ran corn mash,
which would normally be processed at an ethanol plant, through its system and found that a significantly
high amount of fermentable sugars were released, when measured and compared with control samples.

―On another project in which some of our team members were involved, a commercial-scale pulsed electric
field unit—very similar to the electroporation unit—was built and used in the food industry to replace heat
pasteurization,‖ says Tajchai Navapanich, director of operations at OptiSwitch. ―Pulsed electric fields are

effective in killing bacteria. We are currently involved with one of the largest ethanol producers in the
nation to determine the effectiveness and scalability of a system which could increase ethanol yield and at
the same time eliminate the use of antibiotics.‖

Despite all the research that‘s been conducted on this technology, no one was able to scale the
electroporation to work in something as large as an ethanol plant without constant repairs and maintenance
to the machinery, Navapanich says. ―[But] that‘s exactly what we‘ve done,‖ he says. ―Existing solid-state
switches, although highly reliable, are not capable of extremely high-power applications.‖

Installation Logistics
The high-power silicon switches can handle 100,000 amperes and volts to perform the electroporation
process on a large scale, Navapanich says. Installing the technology in an ethanol plant would not be
difficult, he adds.

As in every case where the technology seems too good to be true, the question of economic viability must
be asked. Would it put out more energy than it uses? ―We have calculated that it will only cost a few
pennies more per gallon to generate 5 [percent] to 10 percent more ethanol,‖ Navapanich says. ―At this
point, we haven‘t built a full-scale system but, based on the parameters from lab trials, the modular unit
would be able to process roughly 25 MMgy. If you had a 100 MMgy plant, you would need four units.‖

This artist’s rendering shows the electroporation cell retrofitted in line with the existing 8-inch pipe in an
ethanol plant.

he units would have the footprint of a compact car and could easily be retrofitted into any existing ethanol
plant. ―With that kind of footprint and some pipe rerouting, it could be done in a week,‖ Navapanich says.
Taking into account maintenance, equipment, cost and electricity, the estimated pay-back period would be
12 to 18 months—and would increase ethanol output by 3 percent to 5 percent a year, he says.
OptiSwitch is currently finalizing a research scale-up agreement with one of the largest ethanol producers
in the U.S., a project which could be completed before the summer of 2009.

Cellulosic Ethanol and Biodiesel
OptiSwitch is also looking into the use of electroporation as a pretreatment method for cellulosic ethanol
feedstocks. ―The advantage is that the process doesn‘t involve the use of steam explosion or acid
hydrolysis, which produces inhibitor compounds that render a portion of the cellulose-derived sugars
unusable for fermentation into ethanol,‖ he says.

This is an important development as ethanol producers are leaning towards using cellulosic feedstocks in
the future to lower their carbon footprints.
―We are looking at applying our technology as a pretreatment process to eliminate steam expulsions or acid
hydrolysis. That‘s something we‘re looking into doing, hopefully later this year.‖

Another area that looks promising using the same principle is algae-based biodiesel production,
Navapanich tells EPM. ―Two hurdles that must be cleared are algae dewatering and lipids extraction,‖ he
says. ―The current solvent extraction method uses hexane to extract lipids. This process, however, is
expensive, costing upwards of $1 or more per gallon of algal oil.‖
OptiSwitch recently presented the results of its experiments at the Algae Biomass Summit in Seattle, Wash.
―This work was a collaborative research effort between OptiSwitch and an Arizona State University team,‖
Navapanich says. ―It showed that electroporated samples required one-third the amount of solvents for
lipid extraction and was achieved in one-third the time.‖

Navapanich says OptiSwitch is beginning collaborative research with Washington State University on the
dewatering of algae using direct-current and sacrificial metal electrodes in a process called
electroflocculation (EF), or electrocoagulation (EC). ―Test results performed at WSU have shown that
greater than 99.9 percent of the algae was removed from test samples in about 20 minutes, and research
indicates that removing algae from solution using EF/EC could cost as little as fractions of a penny per
gallon of treated water, again significantly bringing down the cost of using algae as a biofuels feedstock,‖
he says.

Soon, OptiSwitch will venture into a joint collaborative research effort with a large algae company to
optimize and scale-up the technology. ―We anticipate that we can bring down the cost of dewatering and
lipid extraction to around 30 cents per gallon of algal oil within two years or less,‖ Navapanich says.

OptiSwitch‘s technology is yet another example of an older, commonly used process revamped, further
developed and uniquely applied to a completely different process. Seemingly well on its way to a smooth
transition from military applications into the ethanol and biodiesel industries, OptiSwitch may have the
potential to make significant impact on the advancement of renewable fuel technologies.

Anna Austin is an Ethanol Producer Magazine staff writer. Reach her at
or (701) 738-4968.


As one who does not deny that our planet is going through a change of climate! Albeit one we have been
experiencing now for billions of years!! One that WE are powerless to avoid! One that an ever growing
majority have proof that it is a natural evolution of nature that we must all learn to adapt & to & live
with! One that we as mere ant size mortals in the scheme of things, whose importance in this same
scheme of things is so un-consequential against the sheer magnitude & power of Mother nature!!

As one who is sick to death of hearing the words” CARBON FOOTPRINTS, GLOBAL WARMING &
GREENHOUSE GASES!” as millions make money from using them! All words that I find offending to my
intellect, sense of reasoning but most of all common sense logic!! We are bombarded by the media with it
& every time I hear it I could scream!! Knowing that the whole scam that is Global warming is & has
indeed been perpetrated by those who stand to become mega rich through their $100 Billion per year
Carbon trading con that rivals all the Bonds & Skases etc; in the world rolled into one! Indeed they were
rank amateurs compared to these guys! How & Why? They have even conned those who should be
protecting us from scams like these! But they have not fooled One Nation!

We & I will continue to bring the truth about the whole ETHANOL debate to all Australians & as their
false claims are also debunked as they have been over the past five years now, I will also bring you the
truth as in the following article as another of their pathetic attempts to fool the world are once more
blown out of the water!


                     Global Warming Skeptics Gather in New York City

Nearly 700 scientists, economists, and policy experts from around the world gathered in New York City
this evening for the opening dinner of the Second International Conference on Climate Change, hosted by
The Heartland Institute and 59 cosponsoring organizations.

Meeting at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel, the group heard opening remarks from Heartland
Institute President Joseph Bast and keynote addresses from Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic
and of the European Union, and Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the
world's leading experts in dynamic meteorology.

                                 2009 International Conference
                                 on Climate Change: Update #1
NEW YORK--Environmentalists--even mainstream environmentalists such as Al Gore--are less concerned
about any crisis posed by global warming than they are eager to command human behavior and restrict
economic activity, the president of the Czech Republic told the second International Conference on
Climate Change here Sunday. Vaclav Klaus, who also is serving a rotating term as president of the

European Union, triggered the approving applause of about 600 attendees as he said, "Their true plans and
ambitions: to stop economic development, and return mankind centuries back."

Klaus was one of three presenters Sunday evening as the largest-ever gathering of global warming skeptics
kicked off a 2 1/2 day conference confronting the issue, "Global warming: Was it ever really a crisis?'
Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, which produced the conference, and Richard Lindzen, a
leading meteorologic physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earned prolonged applause
with their presentations as well.

But Klaus was the hit of the evening as he declared that the global warming alarmists he has encountered
"are interested neither in temperature, carbon dioxide, competing scientific hypotheses and their testing,
nor in freedom or markets. They are interested in their businesses and their profits--made with the help of

While Klaus hit hard at what he called the political rent-seekers, he earned another round of applause as he
said alarmists are "not able to explain why the global temperature increased from 1918 to 1940, decreased
from 1940 to 1976, increased from 1976 to 1998, and decreased from 1998 to the present, irrespective of
the fact that the people have been adding increasing amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere."

Klaus scoffed at politicians who urge radical actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through various
schemes, such as taxing current to benefit future generations and being "generously altruistic" in restricting
the pace of business activity in their economies. He declared, "We could have made such far-reaching
decisions only on the absolutely unrealistic assumption that we know all relevant parameters of the future
economic system."

He concluded to a standing ovation by saying, "It is evident that the environmentalists don't want to change
the climate. They want to change our behavior ... to control and manipulate us."
MIT's Lindzen told the audience that global warming alarmists have been encouraged by some scientists
who in Lindzen's opinion do credible work on global warming, but who nevertheless endorse global
warming because in so doing, it "just make their lives easier."

He said, "The fact that they can make ambiguous or even meaningless statements that can be spun by
alarmists, and that the alarming spin leads politicians to increase funding, provides little incentive to
complain about the spin."
He cited three scientists by name who fall into this broad category--colleagues Kerry Emanuel and Carl
Wunsch, and Wally Broecker.

This politicizing of climatology, he said, "has had an extraordinarily corrupting influence" because the
science that attracts funding doesn't deal with climate "but rather with the alleged impact of arbitrarily
assumed climate change."
One practical way to counter this trend, he urged, "would be to undermine the authority of scientific
organizations" through mass resignations in which "thousands of scientists [would] resign from
professional societies that have taken unrepresentative stands on the global warming issue."

Heartland President Bast opened the conference on an optimistic note, declaring that the nearly 700
registrants at the conference and the 80 presenters "demonstrate ... the breadth and high quality of the
support that the 'skeptical perspective' on climate change enjoys." Bast said if the scientific community
were persuaded that the consequences of global warming were catastrophic, "perhaps no price would be too
high to pay to save the Earth."
But he added that several surveys of scientists show the majority don't believe the Earth is in a global
warming crisis or that what warming has occurred was caused by human activity.

"On the question that might matter most," he declared, "climate scientists are perfectly split over whether
they know enough about global warming to turn it over to policymakers to take action."

Even among global warming skeptics, agreement is far from conclusive on the severity and causes of
global warming, a situation Bast says demonstrates "that it is the skeptics, not the true believers, who are
more likely to discover and publicly discuss the true science and economics of climate change."

The Sunday evening keynote presentations are available online at That page will be updated throughout the
conference, which runs through Tuesday, March 10, as additional speaker presentations become available.

The full conference program, including speaker bios and cosponsor information, is available online at

Swedish blogger Maggie Thauerskold will broadcast portions of the International Conference on Climate
Change at her Web site,

For more information about the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, visit or call 312/377-4000.


Tackling Indirect Land Use
If a tree falls in the Amazon should American biofuels be held responsible?
By Susanne Retka Schill

For years, ethanol producers have endured the criticism about ethanol‘s energy balance—whether more
energy is produced than is used to produce the renewable fuel. Just as that discussion began to settle in
ethanol‘s favor, the food-versus-fuel debate erupted. The collapse of commodity markets and lack of a
corresponding drop in food prices have taken the steam out of that debate. In late 2008, just when it seemed
like the industry might get a much-deserved reprieve from negative publicity, a far more complex
challenge arose from an attempt to evaluate indirect land-use impacts of biofuels.

The indirect land-use concept goes far beyond estimating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through a life-
cycle analysis (LCA) of the supply chain. A supply-chain LCA includes such things as the carbon
emissions involved in raising the crop and transporting it to market, the energy used in the biofuel
conversion process and transporting the fuel to the end user. Some want to take that analysis further and
include estimated GHG emissions from indirect land-use change. For example, an increase in demand for
corn in Iowa to make ethanol leads to higher corn prices, which results in more acres of corn planted and a
reduction in soybean acres. The ripple effect concludes with new land being converted to take advantage of
the increased prices and to meet increased global demand. Some argue that the GHG impacts of that

conversion, whether it happens in the United States or in an equatorial rainforest on the other side of the
globe, should be assessed to that Iowa ethanol.

U.S. ethanol producers might be tempted to shrug off the debate as another wearisome public relations
problem or perhaps as an interesting, but not that relevant, academic debate. Unfortunately, this winter two
important regulatory agencies have indicated they will incorporate the impacts of indirect land-use change
into their standards. When Congress wrote the renewable fuels standard (RFS) section of the Energy
Independence & Security Act of 2007 new GHG reduction targets were set for different categories of
biofuels. The statute includes ―significant indirect emissions such as significant emissions from land use
changes‖ in its definition of life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. EPA is charged with using that
definition as it writes the rules for implementing the new RFS. Furthermore, the California Air Resources
Board has included a measurement of indirect land-use impact in its low-carbon plan.

For the biofuels industry, indirect land-use is no longer a debate being waged in academic journals and on
the editorial pages of major newspapers, but in precedent-setting public policy. The scientific community,
nonprofits and industry representatives have been marshalling their facts and sending volleys of letters to
the agencies involved and writing journal articles and white papers critiquing the indirect land-use
assessments models that are being developed. The criticisms center on the inadequacies of the models to
quantify indirect land use and underlying assumptions.

Faulty Models
The Renewable Fuels Association dug into the details of the data used in the models in a paper it released
in November titled ―Understanding Land Use Change and U.S. Ethanol Expansion.‖ The report discusses
historical agricultural land use and crop utilization trends, the role of increased productivity, the
contributions of ethanol feed coproducts, and global agricultural land-use projections. Bob Dinneen, RFA
president and chief executive officer, drew on the report to defend U.S. ethanol. ―The impressive
productivity advancements of American farmers have largely mitigated the need for additional arable acres
to be brought into production here in the U.S.,‖ he said. ―Land exists around the globe, should it be needed,
that can be responsibly and sustainably brought into agricultural production. … A team of researchers from
Stanford University estimates that an area of abandoned agricultural land half the size of the continental
U.S. could be brought into production with minimal impact on the environment.‖

RFA also probed the details of the model California is proposing to use. In a letter to CARB, the RFA
questioned the capacity of the Global Trade Analysis Project model to reliably predict land-use change
impacts. The RFA said the model underestimates the productivity of marginal lands in the U.S. that could
be converted to crops, as well as the gain in average grain yields over time, and the model does not account
for an incremental expansion of ethanol production. ―Because the model is ‗shocked‘ with 13.25 billion
gallons of new ethanol production instantaneously, and yield values do not take into account the
improvement in yields between 2000 and 2015, the model is converting too much land to crops as a result,‖
the letter stated. In addition, the RFA said the model underestimates the credit provided by distillers grains
and appears to omit Conservation Reserve Program land and idled cropland from its land inventory.

The American Coalition for Ethanol weighed in with its own white paper ―Lifecycle Analysis of
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Starch-Based Ethanol.‖ The ACE paper addressed other
problems with the model methodology, particularly that there was not enough ground-based verification of
land-use estimates based on satellite data in developing countries. It can be difficult to distinguish
deforested areas from fallow agricultural areas and pastures, the report said. It also pointed out that while
both EPA and CARB are proposing to assign indirect GHG emissions to corn ethanol, there appears to be
no such inclusion of indirect GHG emissions for petroleum. For example, the report cited a study by the
Congressional Research Service that estimated the indirect military costs associated with securing
petroleum from foreign regions, which in 1992 was estimated at $56 billion to $73 billion. However, there
were no estimates of the GHG emissions associated with that military support.

The ACE report also argued that the single GHG value assigned to petroleum is inadequate. GHG
reduction targets are expressed relative to the GHG emissions standards for fossil-based fuels. Thus, the
RFS requirement for ethanol is a 20 percent reduction in GHG emissions when compared with gasoline.
Cellulosic ethanol is required to meet a 60 percent reduction target. ACE suggested that the GHG
emissions from increased ethanol production be compared with the GHG contributions from new crude oil
sources. The lead author of the ACE report, John Kruse, director of agricultural services for IHS Global
Insight Inc., says while they weren‘t able to find data on deep-sea oil drilling, the GHG emissions
associated with tar sands production is well documented. Depending on the source of energy used in the
process, the mining of tar sands can increase GHG emissions over 300 percent compared with conventional
crude oil.

There are other problems with the models, according to Kruse, including the use of data from a period of
stable, low commodity prices, with predictable supply/demand relationships. The experience of the past
couple of years has been quite different. According to the models, the impact of last year‘s high prices
should have resulted in a reduction in exports, Kruse says. ―In 2007, we‘d have to say that didn‘t happen,‖
he says. ―We had record exports for corn, soybean exports were respectable and wheat exports were near
record.‖ Calculating indirect impacts is a reach, Kruse adds. ―There is not the scientific data, nor the
accuracy in measurements nor robustness in economic models.‖

Flaws in the Premise
There are two parts to the critique of the indirect land-use effect, says Bruce Dale, professor of chemical
engineering and developer of cellulosic ethanol technology at Michigan State University. One is the
technical—the science and the data used to make the assessment—and the other is philosophical. On the
technical side, Dale says a group of about 30 scientists and other interested parties from around the world
debated the issue while developing principles and criteria for the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels, for
which Dale chairs the technical committee on GHG emissions. ―After arguing among ourselves for six
months we came to the conclusion you can‘t reliably measure indirect impacts.‖

Dale‘s concerns go beyond the technical issues, however, to the philosophical. ―Is it a good idea to make
the U.S. responsible for indirect effects around the world?‖ he asks. The concept goes beyond supply-chain
analysis to market effects, he says. ―No one person is responsible for the market,‖ Dale adds. The logic
would hold U.S. biofuels producers responsible not only for their own GHG emissions, but for the GHG
emissions of their competitors. Bruce supports the efforts to encourage sustainability goals, but he cautions,
―We make progress by holding people responsible for their own actions. In holding people responsible for
actions of people elsewhere in the world, you can stifle innovation.‖

Furthermore, the argument doesn‘t hold up, Dale says. If it is indeed right to hold the U.S. responsible for
indirect effects around the world, ―we shouldn‘t be doing anything that would increase land use elsewhere
and we need to get CRP lands back in production,‖ he says. The CRP, which holds wide support from the
agricultural and environmental communities, was started decades ago to set aside crop land with the dual
goals of enhancing the environment and reducing price-depressing crop surpluses.

Another underlying assumption to the indirect land-use argument is that agricultural markets drive land-use
change. Critics wonder how much is attributable to biofuels demand. Dale points out that in many
developing countries, the building of roads stimulates land conversion to grow crops that can now be
transported to markets. Not to mention that the conversion of rain forests began long before biofuels
expansion by the logging industry to supply lumber to the construction industry, Kruse adds.

In each country where rainforest conversion has raised international concerns, there is a complex set of
factors involved. Kruse uses Indonesia as an example, where internal government policies have long
encouraged oil palm expansion as a means of raising the country out of poverty. Culturally, palm oil is seen
as a source of wealth and a hedge against inflation. ―It‘s not biofuels that have driven that expansion,‖
Kruse says. ―It‘s not as clean cut as to say we‘re going to assign the indirect land-use impacts to American
biofuels and we‘ll fix that problem in Indonesia. Indonesia is going to fix that policy in Indonesia.‖

The arguments critical of the science and philosophy behind measuring indirect land-use change presented
here highlight only a few of the many being brought forth by organizations and individuals who caution
policymakers not to put policy ahead of the science in the laudable goal of addressing climate change.

The arguments from those supporting the concept are equally complex, but are summarized in a letter to
the EPA from a coalition of environmental nonprofit
groups. ―Consideration of all of the science in an open and transparent comment process will be key to
ensuring that the regulations accomplish the emissions reductions Congress intended when they directed
that indirect emissions from land use changes be included,‖ the letter said. The group, consisting of the
Environmental Defense Fund, the National

Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, the Union of Concerned
Scientists and the Environmental Working Group, argued that indirect land-use change is the ―ripple
effect‖ resulting from converting land from food production to fuel production.

―There is no doubt that greenhouse gas emissions caused by land use change are substantial, and that those
associated with renewable fuel production can easily make the difference between reducing or increasing

GHG emissions relative to gasoline,‖ the letter stated. Rather than stunt the advanced biofuels industry by
including indirect land-use changes to the policy, the group asserted that the inclusion of such changes will
help determine which second-generation feedstocks will have the least impact. ―Properly done, accounting
for indirect land-use will improve the ability of investors and developers to distinguish promising
approaches from dead ends and drive investments and innovation towards these feedstocks and
technologies,‖ the group stated.

It remains to be seen which of the two sides will prevail, and as the world‘s economy worsens one wonders
whether the issue might be put on the back burner.

Susanne Retka Schill is an Ethanol Producer Magazine staff writer. Reach her at

Pushing Back: Biofuels Industry
Big Food‘s sustained assault on biofuels has spurred the industry to take a new, more assertive stance.
By Ron Kotrba

The clock on the left side of the Growth Energy Web site says it all. As the seconds, minutes and hours tick
by, accumulating in a devilish sort of fashion, the headline above the ticker reads, ―When Will Big Food
Lower Prices?‖ The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the voice of the food industry, all year had
blamed soaring food prices on ethanol, biodiesel and the government policies promoting them. The
question, when will big food lower prices, is a logical one. Months have passed since commodity prices,
along with the economy, tumbled from the near-record highs set in 2008. Energy prices have also
decreased, with gas consistently below $2 a gallon. Yet despite a return to ―normal‖ commodity prices and
the precipitous descent in fuel costs, grocery prices remain unduly high. The clock, a symbol for the
message, represents a new era in biofuels. The tables have turned. Many in the biofuels industry say they
believe time for aggressive action has arrived.

Growth Energy was formed toward the end of 2008, and Toni Nuernberg, the organization‘s executive
director, Midwest, tells EPM why. ―I think it‘s just that a lot of ethanol plants and members now of Growth
Energy believe we needed a fresh approach to things,‖ she says. ―The anti-ethanol campaigns that had gone
on all last summer, a lot of the research going on right now, which is very negative, those things need to be
addressed and they need to be addressed very quickly when they hit the press. We‘re trying to be proactive
and see what these issues are, and watch the horizon and know what the issues are, and address them very
proactively—and probably a bit more. I don‘t like to use the term aggressive, but we‘re going to address
these things in a different manner than the way the [Renewable Fuels Association] has done things in the

In late November, RFA released a three-page report titled, ―Why Aren‘t Food Companies Reducing
Prices?‖ In the report, the organization stated, ―In attempting to defend the rapid food price hikes that
began in early 2007, food makers pointed to then-rising costs for agricultural commodities such as corn,
wheat and vegetable oil. Further, Big Food deceptively attempted to single out expanded grain ethanol
production as the main driver of escalating grain and food prices.‖

―Big food and livestock processors, led by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, have spent many
months and countless dollars trying to convince Americans that ethanol is the reason their food bills are
higher,‖ says RFA vice president of research, Geoff Cooper, who authored the study. ―Despite their
elaborate ruse, they cannot hide the facts. Prices for virtually all inputs in food production have fallen
dramatically while U.S. ethanol production has risen. Yet, despite the drop in price for corn, wheat,
soybeans, oil, natural gas and other inputs, the retail price of food continues to rise. At a time when
Americans are counting every penny, the last thing they want is food companies trying desperately to shift
the blame while raking in higher profits.‖

And while the RFA points out the overt ―deception‖ on behalf of GMA and the food industry over the past
five months in shifting the blame, National Biodiesel Board Chief Executive Officer Joe Jobe, in late
December caught Kraft Foods Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld in a misstatement of epic
proportions. In a Q&A with USA Today, Rosenfeld said 40 percent of the food supply is being diverted for
use as fuel. Jobe responded in an editorial comment on that Rosenfeld‘s comments were
―fear-mongering‖ at its worst. ―While Kraft‘s income soars to new heights, the company‘s attempt to
spread misinformation to defend the doubling of its profits has reached a record low,‖ Jobe‘s posting states.
―Almost half of all grains, meats, dairy, vegetables and fruit in the world are being converted to fuel? This
is fear-mongering at its worst.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization found that of the 10.4 billion acres of available
farmland, only 3.7 billion acres are used. Of that, less than 1 percent is used for biofuels such as ethanol
and biodiesel. Food companies have blamed biofuels all year for higher prices. Rosenfeld‘s statement
shows how far companies will go to distract Americans as Kraft raked in $1.4 billion in earnings last
quarter. Adjusted for inflation, corn and wheat have dropped by 50 percent since spring, and soybean
prices are lower than at almost any other time since the Great Depression even as biofuels production
expands. This year, oil companies made more than ever in profits. The difference is, when oil prices
dropped, so did the price at the pump. Too bad Big Food isn‘t living up to Big Oil‘s standards.‖

Food Company Profits, Agenda
In his online comments, Jobe mentioned Kraft‘s record profits this year. An organization called pulled press releases from various food companies—press releases that speak to
boosted earnings as a result of the spike in food prices. Kellogg‘s second quarter 2008 net earnings were
$312 million, 4 percent higher than 2007‘s second quarter earnings of $301 million. A Kellogg‘s press
release states, ―These results were driven by innovation, recent price increases and effective brand building
and were achieved after absorbing significant cost inflation. ... Our business momentum, recent price
increases and focus on productivity give us confidence we will meet our goals.‖

In third quarter 2008, Sara Lee earned $242 million, a $150 million increase (61.2 percent) more than it
earned in the same quarter the previous year. Price increases were also listed by Sara Lee as one reason
why the company had such a good third quarter. Dean Foods‘ second quarter 2008 net income was nearly
$49 million compared with second quarter 2007 net income of $28.2 million. The list goes on. For more
information on food company profits, visit created this graph to show that rising commodity prices didn’t seem to adversely
impact the earnings of the major food companies.

The GMA, and the Food Before Fuel campaign, ignored repeated requests from EPM to take part in this
article. EPM is not the only one the GMA is ignoring. ―We here at Growth Energy posed the question very,
very vocally, and very publicly, to the GMA and to Big Food asking, with commodity prices dropping, and
with fuel prices down, why have we not seen the price of food go down?‖ Nuernberg says. ―All we‘re
seeing is these food companies with record profits. We‘ve asked that question, if ethanol‘s the only thing to
blame for the rising food prices, then why have food prices not come down? And we‘ve not had a response
from the GMA yet.‖

In March 2007, the GMA put out a request for proposal to hire a public relations firm to hammer home the
message of Big Food‘s then-burgeoning smear campaign against ethanol. ―Food prices are rising twice as
fast as inflation,‖ according to the GMA‘s request for proposal. ―Although there are several factors, a
mandate in the 2007 Energy Bill requiring gasoline refiners to blend 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol in
the nation‘s gasoline supply by 2015 is the primary reason. ...

GMA has concluded that rising food prices, global shortages of basic commodities, and new studies on the
environmental impacts of corn ethanol create a window to change perceptions about the benefits of
biofuels and the mandate and, ultimately, to build a groundswell in support of freezing or reversing some
provisions of the 2007 Energy Bill and for the elimination/reform of ethanol subsidies and import
restrictions ...‖

Additional Perspectives
Don Hofstrand, co-director of the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center at Iowa State University in
Ames, tells EPM that grain prices have ―a pretty small impact‖ on food prices. He says 10 percent of the
consumer dollar goes toward food, and of that, 20 percent goes to the farmer, so, essentially, 2 percent of
the American consumer dollar goes to the farmer.

He thinks the food-versus-fuel debate will continue to ―be an issue so long as the media still pay attention
to it.‖ He says everyone looks at this issue as a zero-sum gain. ―In other words, if we use some
commodities for biofuels, then we‘re going to cut back in the amount of food we have. But what these
higher prices are actually doing is giving incentive for the first time in a long time for farmers to increase
production, and that‘s never taken into account in this equation. People really underestimate the ability of
the ag sector to expand production due to higher prices for sure, but to expand production to serve both

Another aspect of this issue never mentioned in mainstream media is how much food is wasted in our
society. Hofstrand says 25 percent to 30 percent of food bought by consumers is thrown out as waste. ―We
wouldn‘t need to grow nearly as much if we didn‘t waste so much of it,‖ he says. ―That would free up more
grains to be used for biofuels. If we had that waste factor down to 10 percent, we wouldn‘t have the
problems we have now of shortages and so forth. But food has been so cheap that, instead of saving it, we
end up wasting it.‖

Congress held hearings on rising food prices in the spring of 2008 and Liz Friedlander, communications
director with the National Farmers Union, says in light of precipitously falling commodity prices, the NFU
has asked Congress to take another look at the causes of high food prices. She tells EPM the small business
committee has responded to the request and put the issue on its agenda for this session.

―We hope they hold hearings again,‖ Friedlander says. ―Conditions have definitely changed since the last
time they held these hearings—and so we see this as a vehicle to set the record straight on the true causes
of food price increases.‖ She tells of how media can play an influential role in the food and fuel debate.

 ―I think it was the day before they held the joint economic committee hearings, there was a story on the
front page of The Washington Post about how a bagel shop in Bethesda, Md., was going to raise their
prices because of ethanol,‖ she says. ―We did the math and there‘s like 8 cents worth of wheat in that bagel
and they raised their price 25 cents, blaming it all on ethanol. That sort of thing gets on the front page of
the paper, and we‘re trying to squash it.‖ How many of those Congressmen may have read The Washington
Post that morning?

To be fair, we have seen ethanol companies such as VeraSun Energy Corp. lock in high corn prices right
before the commodities markets began taking a downturn. Maybe some food companies found themselves
in the same position. Also, there is often a lag-time and the domino effect in commodity prices and its
effect on food prices. After all, if corn and soybean meal prices are high, this could cause livestock
producers to produce less beef, pork and poultry, which could drive up the price of meat long after
commodity prices dipped back down. ―There is a lag time,‖ Hofstrand says. ―Commodity prices can go up
very fast, or down very fast, but that does not automatically translate into higher or lower food prices.‖

Ron Kotrba is an Ethanol Producer Magazine senior writer. Reach him at
or (701) 738-4942.

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is the grassroots voice of the U.S. ethanol industry, a national advocacy association for
the ethanol industry with nearly 1,600 members nationwide, including farmers, ethanol producers, commodity organizations,
businesses supplying goods and services to the ethanol industry, rural electric cooperatives, and individuals supportive of
increased production and use of ethanol. For more information about ethanol or ACE, visit or call (605) 334-

Kevin Mitchell.
Coordinator One Nation NSW Farmer Ethanol Awareness Campaign.
Email Tel. 0249846358


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