Monday, July 2, 2012

New Investments in the Bio-fuel Industry - by Lauren Campbell


The Obama administration announced today a new initiative for the bio-fuel industry; new investments will be available to help advance technology, innovation, and the commercialization of bio-fuel. This initiative is also supposed to enhance America’s energy security. 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Navy, and the Department of Energy are publicizing $30 billion in federal funding; used to match private investments in commercial-scale advanced 'drop-in' bio-fuels. The Energy Department is also announcing $32 million in new investments for research that is currently in its early stages. It is hoped that these investments will continue to drive technological innovation and to aid in reducing costs in the industry.

Back in March of 2011, President Obama set a goal of reducing dependency on foreign oil by one-third by 2025. In the process he developed an energy plan that utilizes domestic oil and gas energy resources, increases energy efficiency, and speeds the development of biofuels and other energy alternatives. Since President Obama has been in office, domestic oil and gas production has increased each year and other steps have been taken to reduce foreign oil dependency. This announcement fosters the commitment that Obama made concerning decreasing reliance on foreign energy.

Funding was made possible through the Defense Production Act (DPA) and is thought to help aid in national security by supporting the creation and commercial use of defense-critical domestic biofuels. The DPA dates back to 1950 and has been used to boost several industries, including, steel, aluminum, and titanium.

U.N. Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, was quoted stating

“Our reliance on foreign oil is a significant military vulnerability and it would be irresponsible not to address it. Pursuing a viable, domestic alternative is the best way to preserve the budget for operational necessities like training and shipbuilding, and this funding opportunity is an important step in accelerating an economically self-sufficient alternative fuels market.”
This investment into the bio-fuel industry is just another step toward strengthening domestic energy use and helping develop a more sustainable energy infrastructure. 

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