Louisiana Enacts Law to Create Non-Corn Biofuel Industry; Pilot Programs for Mid-Range Ethanol Blends and Hydrous Ethanol
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law the Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative (HB 1270), an act intended to support the development of a statewide advanced biofuel industry.
Louisiana is now the first state to enact alternative transportation fuel legislation that includes a variable blending pump pilot program with mid-range blends (blends of E10, E20, E30 and E85) and a pilot program for the use of hydrous ethanol.
Supported feedstock in the program is to be other than corn, derived from Louisiana-harvested crops, and be capable of an annual yield of at least 600 gallons per acre. The biofuel crop must:
Require no more than one-half of the water required by corn;
Be tolerant to high temperature and waterlogging;
Be resistant to drought and saline-alkaline soils;
Be capable of being grown in marginal soils, ranging from heavy clay to light sand;
Require no more than one-third of the nitrogen required to grow corn, thereby reducing the risk of contamination of the waters of the state; and
Require no more than one-half of the energy necessary to convert corn into ethanol.
The law supports a decentralized network of small advanced biofuel manufacturing facilities of between 5-15 million gallons per year.
In a trial program that runs until 1 January 2012, variable blending pumps, directly installed and operated at local gas stations by a qualified small advanced biofuel manufacturing facility, will offer the consumer a less expensive substitute for unleaded gasoline in the form of E10, E20, E30 and E85 blends of conventional fuel-grade anhydrous ethanol.
The state is also testing the use of hydrous ethanol blends of E10, E20, E30 and E85 in motor vehicles specifically selected for test purposes until 1 January 2012. During this period the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Division of Weights & Measures will monitor the performance of the motor vehicles. The hydrous blends will be tested for blend optimization with respect to fuel consumption and engine emissions.
Preliminary tests conducted in Europe have proven that the use of hydrous ethanol, which eliminates the need for the hydrous-to-anhydrous dehydration processing step, results in an energy savings of between ten percent and forty-five percent during processing, a four percent product volume increase, higher mileage per gallon, a cleaner engine interior, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative was drafted by Renergie, Inc. and was co-authored by 27 members of the Legislature. Renergie was formed in March 2006 to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol. Renergie’s field-to-pump strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally.
In February, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program. (Earlier post.) Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice.