Barack Obama announced during a Midwest tour recently that he wants $510 million to be invested to create refineries designed to produce biofuels with wood chips, grasses, corn cobs and other inedible parts of plants.
While corn ethanol has received 30 years of government support, officials are concerned with the impact it has on food prices, which is why alternatives such as this must be taken to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and avoid rapidly increasing food prices.
Rather than supporting continued production of corn ethanol, the US government will provide these funds to private companies building biofuel refineries, or altering existing plants to make biofuel changes and support this new system. The funds are not new, but are being redirected to new programs that can improve the high profile fuel issue in the US.
The US Navy has been working toward making greener changes in its fuel supply for several years, with a goal to power half of its operations with renewable and nuclear energy within the next ten years.
Biofuels still have a long way to go before there is intense competition with gasoline, but it is seen as important that companies realize that now is the time to jump into the market, while costs are down and funds are available.
Regardless of where it goes or whether or not this actually takes off sooner rather than later, government assistance in such a program seems like a good way to help next generation biofuels enter the mainstream.
What do you think could be the next big thing in alternative fuel sources?