Feds Promise $571 Million in Biofuel Loan Guarantees

Biofuel production nationwide has been woefully behind schedule as would-be producers struggle to just get their first commercial plants rolling. The U.S. government wants to help and on Thursday announced loan guarantee commitments totaling $571 million for Coskata, Enerkem, and a JV from Valero.

Today in Cleantech

Green technology supporters who want to fight back against attacks on greentech government support might want to study up on the Washington Monthly magazine piece, “Get the Energy Sector off the Dole.” The article cites a raft of subsidies to the oil, natural gas and coal industries that cost U.S. taxpayers about $20 billion a year, including often-misused tax breaks for oil exploration and tax incentives for the problematic support of the U.S. corn-to-ethanol industry. About 70 percent of all federal energy subsidies go to fossil fuel industries, 15 percent go to ethanol, and 10 percent go to federal power entities like the Bonneville Power Administration and the Tennessee Valley Authority, the article states, leaving only about 5 percent for all other clean energy subsidies put together. According to one study, subsidies to mature fossil fuel companies added up to $76 billion from 2002 to 2008 alone. Kinda helps put the $36 billion or so in Department of Energy stimulus-package backing for green energy projects in perspective, doesn’t it?

4Loko Recycled Into Ethanol, Seriously

It’s a good place for the banned caffeinated malt liquor to die. 4Loko is being recycled into ethanol by recycling company MXI Environmental Services and others. While the next-generation of biofuels won’t come from 4Loko, they will partly come from waste.

Today in Cleantech

It’s Friday — do you know what your Congress is doing? Here’s the latest out of Washington D.C. on greentech issues facing a Dec. 31 deadline amidst a frantic lame duck session. Good news for ethanol makers, as a one-year renewal of a 49 cent-per-gallon tax incentive has been included in a Senate tax bill. As for those stimulus-era grants in lieu of tax credits for wind and solar power projects, after a round of intense industry lobbying pressure, they’ve been included in the Senate tax bill as well. Not every greentech wish list item made it in, though — clean energy manufacturing credits seem to be left out. As for greentech research, a House bill would keep all science funding flat for next year, a figure that includes the $300 million the Obama Administration requested for its ARPA-E greentech research grant program. But it doesn’t come anywhere close to adding the $16 billion a year or so called for by high-profile greentech investors and supported by Energy Secretary Steven Chu to boost the United States’ competitiveness against countries like China.

Seaweed-Powered Cars Coming Your Way?

Seaweed: great for sushi, skin care and … powering cars? Bio Architecture Lab (BAL) thinks so, and it announced Wednesday that it has lined up a Norwegian oil heavy weight, Statoil, to help it bring its technology to market.

Propel to Build 75 Biofuel Stations in Cali

Propel Fuels, a startup trying to create a brand around alternative fuels, held a grand opening at a biofuel station in Oakland, Calif. on Tuesday and announced a plan to add 75 new stations in California by the end of 2011.

Video Interview: Why Hardware Support for WebM Matters

MIPS is one of more than a dozen hardware companies that was mentioned during Google’s announcement of its open source WebM video project. MIPS Director of Strategic Marketing Kevin Kitagawa told us why his company is supporting WebM and its open source video codec VP8.