There, in the high desert of the Antelope Valley, Klann’s company, BlueFire Ethanol Fuels, plans to build a $100-million plant to convert raw trash into an alcohol-based fuel that will help power the cars and trucks of the future.
It’s just the sort of improbable concoction that California is now demanding. On Thursday, the state is expected to adopt the world’s first regulation to reduce the carbon footprint of fuel. And, just as California created the first market for catalytic converters decades ago, this rule, a likely model for national and even global calculations, could jump-start a huge demand for new technologies.
Under California’s proposal, producers, refineries and importers would be forced to reduce the “carbon intensity” of their fuel by 10% by 2020, and by increasing percentages after that. Currently, California gasoline contains 10% corn-based ethanol, most of it from coal-powered Midwestern plants. Its carbon footprint is as high as gasoline’s.
But by measuring the “cradle-to-grave” effect of various fuels, the new rule would favor ethanol such as Klann’s, made from non-food sources. Even “low-carbon” corn ethanol — such as the kind produced in California using gas-fired electricity and efficient machinery — has a far higher carbon footprint than so-called cellulosic fuel from landfill waste, trees, switchgrass or sugar cane.
“Carbon intensity”… Sounds like a Cajun food evaluation metric.
I’m not sure where JR’s run off to. Somehow… he’s figured out how to jam my omniscience fruit set. I think he said something about personally lobbying the IOC to institute Energy Accounting as a new Olympic sport. How’s the weather in Lausanne?