President Bush talks biofuel in South America

Posted By on March 13, 2007

President Bush talks with Greta Van Susteren
By now anyone following world news knows that President Bush took a six day trip to South America talking with the leaders of countries like Brazil and Uruguay. (link) The primary purpose seemed to be a U.S.-Brazil ‘pact’ that calls for studies in regard to ethanol production and use in Latin America. This agreement puts the two top ethanol competitors and producers in the world on a path that will increase and improve production of ethanol decreasing reliance on oil. The President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), and President Bush also agreed that their two countries would also begin working on an international standard for biofuels. FoxNewsOn The Record‘ host Greta Van Susteren had a 30 minute ‘one on one’ with President Bush; an interesting interview. Sadly my questions in regard to algae biodiesel were not addressed; this was my fault as Greta informed me she didn’t receive them until after the interview — which was on Saturday. ( after watching the interview, I sense that this topic was going to focus on ‘ethanol’ anyway — but as busy a person as she is, I appreciated her actually getting back to me; very polite.)

Energy Balance of Biofuels
Let’s be clear, this trip and meeting was about ethanol and did not address ‘biodiesel,’ which is the more efficient renewable fuel choice in both production and use (graph above – PDF). I’m actually referring to current farm feedstock based biodiesel (see DOE PDF), not even commercially grown algae biodiesel which is a significantly more efficient choice, but then that’s another subject. Back to the trip and ethanol. Brazil grows sugarcane and turns it into ethanol and has refined it process in doing this since the 1970s. Sugarcane a fairly efficient feedstock for ethanol production, whereas the U.S. primarily grows corn, not so efficient. (energy in v. energy out) According some reports, the ethanol industry is “OK with the Brazilian pact,” although congressional representative from the farm states are concerned at exactly what the President would be offering. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) indicated that he does not want U.S. subsidies going to Latin America to build ethanol plants. The expanding U.S ethanol industry also wants to maintain their 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol something Brazil wants eliminated. This ‘tariff’ was not something on the table during the President’s visit, so according to the Renewable Fuels Association “the measures announced are fine with the U.S. industry.”

Greta Van Susteren talk biofuels with President Bush


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