Biofuels Bring Immediate and Long-Term Environmental Benefits

Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Executive Vice President, Industrial & Environmental Section, Brent Erickson today released the following statement:

“Increasing the availability and use of low-carbon fuels will bring immediate and long-term environmental benefits by lowering greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging sustainable agricultural practices that provide greater efficiencies and lower costs.

“As outlined in a recent BIO report, ‘Achieving Sustainable Production of Agricultural Biomass for Biorefinery Feedstock,’ farmers will be able to produce, harvest and deliver sufficient feedstock to the growing biorefinery industry in an economically and environmentally sustainable way through increased use of no-till agriculture. The report identifies available techniques for sustainable harvesting of agricultural residues – such as corn stover and cereal straws – for use as feedstocks for advance biofuel biorefineries. The report is available at http://bio.org/ind/biofuel/SustainableBiomassReport.pdf.

“With agricultural biotechnology, farmers can continue to increase yields of crops to meet the demands for both food and fuel. Over the past 10 years, agricultural biotechnology has helped U.S. farmers increase yields by 30 percent, a rate of yield increase that will be sufficient to meet the goals of the new renewable fuel standard. In addition, farmers can reduce operating costs, prevent soil erosion, maintain soil fertility, and harvest crop residues as raw materials for advanced biofuels through adoption of no-till agriculture. In many cases no-tell practices can even result in carbon sequestration.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard in the recently enacted Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 calls for 36 billion gallons of biofuel to be used by U.S. motorists by 2022. Of that, 21 billion gallons has to come from advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol. All new biofuel production is required to meet aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets.

“Industrial biotechnology has greatly enhanced the efficiency of current biofuel production and made it possible to produce advanced biofuels from a broader range of cellulosic feedstocks, including crop residues. As America and countries across the world convert to bio-based fuels, industry leaders and policymakers must ensure that native habitats are protected and that only sustainable agricultural practices are utilized.”

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