Today in Cleantech

The New York Times’s Matthew Wald is dubbing the arguments between the EPA and the auto industry over how much ethanol is safe to blend into gasoline “The Ethanol Wars.” The auto and oil industries are releasing a report today that says that engines fed with E15 (15 percent ethanol blended into standard gasoline) suffered damage. The EPA counters that the study is flawed and that its own tests of 86 vehicles over more than 6 million miles show that there is no discernable difference between fuels running on E15 and those on other blends. The cap on ethanol is a major problem for corn ethanol production, putting an effective cap on the addressable market for ethanol producers. It’s this very fact that drop in biofuels companies like Kior, Solazyme, Gevo, and Amyris point to as their major selling point. You can use as much as the stuff as you want. The auto industry is squarely against more ethanol, so much so that companies like Toyota have started printing big red “E15” lettering with a line through it on their fuel caps. Whatever the effective cap for ethanol, it’s becoming clear that ethanol isn’t much of a long term solution to the transportation fuel issue.