Hearing Panelists

Cindy Zimmerman

Finally got around to editing some of the audio from the Senate Ag Committee hearing on biofuels yesterday. Separate sound files from each of the panelists, linked on their names, all around 5:00 in length.

Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen talks about importance of ethanol in today’s market. “Today’s industry consists of 97 biorefineries… blended in 40 percent of the nation’s fuel….no longer just a niche market in the midwest…4 billion gallons of ethanol produced last year has provided tremendous economic benefits for the country … added 153,000 jobs… some have questioned if there will be enough ethanol to meet demand and absolutely there will be.”

National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe focused comments on growth factors for biodiesel. “Amount of growth has been substantial … from 25 million gallons in ’04 to 75 million in ’05…. approximately 40 biodiesel plants … another 40 more under construction… majority of diesel is used in … trucking industry… average diesel prices have doubled in past four years… trucking association has endorsed use of B-5…. biodiesel contains oxygen so it burns cleaner… three federal policy measures effective in stimulating biodiesel development…all scheduled to expire … extension of biodiesel tax credit, extension of bioenergy program and extension of biodiesel fuel education program.”

CHS Inc. Executive Vice President Jay Debertin discussed CHS’s role in biorefining. “Largest fuel supplier, including diesel, for on-farm use… one of few refiners that have an equally strong committment to renewable fuels… marketed under CENEX brand … marketing fuels since late 1970s … took step of investing in U.S. Bioenergy … renewable fuels industry is still very young … challenges … include making sure the renewable fuels program is a true national program.”

Finally, Iowa State University professor Robert Brown, Ph.D compared U.S. ethanol industry growth to 1990s internet boom and talked about goals of bioeconomy. “Both internet and renewable fuels industry started from small basis, are dependent upon technological innovation for growth, and both were underinvested…converting corn to ethanol is not a goal of the bioeconomy, but rather a pathway … four goals for bioeconomy … reduce reliance on imported petroleum … improve environmental economy … expand markets for US agricultural products … provide economic development opportunities for rural economy.”

Biodiesel, Cellulosic, Ethanol