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Oil Companies Fined For Not Using Biofuel That Doesn’t Exist

oil companies fined for biofuel that doesn't exist
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

This is a story that seemingly would only appear on April 1st, but it’s real. Oil company refineries are being fined millions of dollars for not mixing a certain biofuel with gasoline and other products. One problem:  the biofuel doesn’t exist!

Outside of labs and chemical test rooms, the new cellulosic biofuel does not exist.  It is made from wood chips and corn cobs, and has been manufactured in test labs.  According to the Advanced Biofuels Association, one of the chief groups in overseeing and helping create organic additives to petroleum, researchers have to find a way to feasibly generate fuel from these organic materials. It’s one thing to discover an organic material that can be used as fuel; it’s another thing to create the process that will allow it to be mass produced and economically feasible. When the oil companies close their 2011 books, they will have paid over six million dollars in fines because current biofuels do not contain the cellulosic component. Researchers and oil companies are finding many of the so-called biofuel sources have turned out to be too difficult to mass produce, and if they are feasible, facilities have to be built to refine the bio products. The biofuel industry is running the risk of becoming like the Obama pet project on solar panel green industry: bankrupt.

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