Advance biofuels research and development deserves more investment than Congress and the private sector seems prepared to provide, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

In an announcement of its detailed analysis of the advanced biofuels industry’s progress and need for support, the UCS suggested “there is a simple reason for the delay in commercial-scale cellulosic biofuel production: financing.”

The notice continued with its version of why more progress has not been made in cellulosic ethanol processes. “The advanced biofuel industry has failed to establish itself and ramp up production as quickly as many hoped. It is several years behind the ambitious schedule laid out by Congress in 2007. But the financial crisis dried up needed investment across many industries and advanced biofuels manufacturers simply couldn’t raise the money required to meet the aggressive timelines.”

The UCS sees the “oil industry” as dragging its feet while claiming to be interested in progressing advance biofuels. The claim is that the oil industry has “invested only sparingly in cellulosic technology.”

The scientists group contends the oil companies have not done what they should have done or promised to do in helping develop alternative fuels.  “Were oil companies to deliver on their much-publicized promise to move us ‘beyond’ fossil fuels, energy companies could meet federal biofuels quotas and bring clean fuel to the mainstream. With profits last year for the top three U.S. oil companies surpassing $9 million an hour, they certainly don’t lack the means.”    

The UCS further contends that the oil industry has received large financial support from the U.S. government over the years, which is much greater than what advanced biofuels investment has been. “After 100 years of support for the oil industry, and 30 years of supporting corn ethanol, it is premature to walk away from cellulosic biofuels,” the UCS noted.

The report/analysis of the ethanol industry starts out quite critical of the corn ethanol business as taking land out of food production and not sustainable for the future.

The UCS analysis of the present and possible future for advanced biofuels/cellulosic ethanol production with reference to the group's opinion of agriculture’s role can be read and downloaded by clicking here.