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Study: Development of Alternative Fuels Surpassing Expectations

Jun 13, 2013

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Credit Flickr user swanksalot / Creative Commons License /

California’s low carbon fuel standard may be driving the development of alternative fuels more quickly than expected. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, a new report shows significant progress in fuels that can replace or blend with gasoline and diesel.

The report is produced by a coalition of utilities and alternative fuel makers. It looks at different ways companies can comply with the regulation that requires a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 2020.  

Oil companies want to kill the regulation in part because they say there won’t be enough cellulosic ethanol to comply. Philip Sheehy is with ICF International, which conducted the study.  He says the rule has sparked more alternative fuels than expected.

“We’re seeing that from things like corn oil, animal fats, there was a recently approved application using molasses, to turn molasses, which is a byproduct of sugar cane production, into ethanol which has also a very low carbon intensity so we’re seeing innovation,” says Sheehy.

Apart from biofuels, the study showed that natural gas will play a significant role in helping companies meet the low carbon fuel standard.