U.S. Biofuel Future Could Cost Upwards Of $168 Billion

Biofuel production is seen by many as a cornerstone of clean energy development for the United States. It will cost to get to that goal though, in terms of building out infrastructure to support greater biofuel production. That is but one of many interesting tidbits of information available in a new report recently put out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that sets a roadmap to future biofuel production around the country.

The USDA said in its Renwewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) report that to get to a goal of 36 billion gallons of biofuel per year in America’s fuel supply by 2022, we will have to build out at least 527 biorefinieries. How much will this cost? Try a whopping $168 billion. It is a lofty number indeed, but to develop an infrastructure which can replace our dependency on oil, it is seen as a must. Also figured into the market costs will be issues like transportation for feedstocks to these refineries as well as fuel distribution.

DOE Biofuels

image via DOE

It is also interesting to note in regards to various crops to be used as biofuel stock, as mentioned by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, that “while corn-based ethanol production will remain important to America’s producers, we are also gearing up research efforts to assist growers of advanced biofuels to produce energy from new feedstocks on a regional basis and in an environmentally sustainable manner.”

“The Obama Administration has made domestic production of renewable energy a national priority because it will create jobs, combat global warming, reduce fossil fuel dependence and lay a strong foundation for a strong 21st Century rural economy, and I am confident that we can meet the threshold of producing 36 billion gallons of biofuel annually by 2022,” Vilsack said in a statement. “The current ethanol industry provides a solid foundation to build upon and reach the 36 billion gallon goal. As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, we must reaffirm our commitment to bring our country closer to complete energy independence and this report provides a roadmap to achieve that goal.”

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I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.