KiOR has left the development stage and entered scaled-up production of its biofuel based on non-food biomass, prepared at its commercial, advanced biofuel facility in Columbus, Miss.
(Source: Ken Childress)
Greg I can't say whether KiOR is receiving tax credits, or any other form of funding assistance. But even if they were, I'm not sure I see what the point is. As we've discussed in comments to several different posts about alternative energy, it's not reasonable to expect a new energy source, without the same huge, established, existing infrastructure as the current energy source, to be competitive with it price-wise. It will take time, and outside funding assistance will help speed that process.
Ann, I may have mistakenly assumed that this company was receiving government funding and grants to keep its operations profitable during the initial phase of operations. However, from your post, it sounds to me that maybe this type of process can be profitable without government assistance, (correct?). Perhaps the only extra assistance they are receiving would be in the form of special 'green' tax credits? If so, this would be a nice step forward.
I am really happy to see biofuel being generated from waste products rather than from primary sources.
Ann, did you get a sense if this business is profitable by itself or if government subsidies are still needed to keep this business in the black?
Biofuels derived from food crops have contributed to, not caused single-handedly, food shortages in some parts of the globe, although the bigger problem has been not shortages but prices shooting up. That's the reality. The reality is also that many countries and regions, for example Europe, are moving away from the use of food crops for biofuels, and focusing on wastes of various kinds instead (municipal garbage or food crop wastes), or growing non-food crops that don't compete. Regarding fuels, there's no reason to modify an engine: this isn't already used cooking oil going into your converted VW bug (which on its own is a perfectly good idea--we've got them around here). Previously, they were blended with various proportions of petro-based fuel, for reasons of performance only. But the 100% non-blended stuff is quite new--not available widely yet.
I agree, reusing garbage may be the best way to go for alternative fuels. More and more biofuels are being developed that don't interfere with food sources, as DN has covered lately: those links are given at the end of this article.
Biofuels have been a really popular government sink hole lately with $1+ per gallon subsidy. It has caused food shortages worldwide and the farms around my home are filled with this worthless corn and soybean. The GMO aspect destroys our bee population and polutes our gardens with the blowover.
But garbage fuel I like! Keep thinking of ways to utilize our fantastic garbage resource!