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Biofuels strike back

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Letter to the Editor
Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The editorial “Biofuels, exposed again” unfortunately drew its conclusions from a flawed experiment.

The University of Nebraska study cited by the editorial flies in the face of established research. A 2012 study by Argonne National Laboratory found a 90 percent to 103 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of cellulosic biofuels compared to gasoline.

Likewise, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found a 60 percent reduction when looking at the very same issue in 2010.

So, what's the reason for this discrepancy?

The University of Nebraska study removed over 75 percent of corn residue from farmland being experimented on. In reality, no farmer removes nearly that much residue, because it would quickly render the soil barren and destroy the farmland's viability.

According to biofuels producer POET, most farmers remove only around 30 percent of corn remains. Since retaining a higher percentage of leftover corn on farmland reduces the carbon footprint for advanced biofuels, the University of Nebraska findings are clearly inapplicable to modern cellulosic biofuels production.

The Trib is correct to consider how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the transportation sector, since transportation contributes to 30 percent of total U.S. emissions.

Research shows that cellulosic biofuels are the solution, not the problem.

Jeramy Shays

Washington, D.C.

The writer is director of transportation for the American Council on Renewable Energy (

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