August 22, 2011

The state of Arizona's biofuel industry

Posted: Aug 22, 2011 | 8 min 29 sec

The Obama Administration is planning a major investment of up to $510 million to produce biofuels. ASU renewable energy expert Milton Sommerfeld joins Dan Rees, the president of REV Biodiesel in Gilbert, Ariz., to discuss the particulars of how the investment will affect Arizona's biofuel industry, in a recent episode of "Horizon" on Eight, Arizona PBS.

In looking at the current state of Arizona's biofuel industry, according to Rees, what many people filling up at the pump don't realize is that, on average, 5 percent of diesel fuel is actually biodiesel. The federal government has allowed blending biodiesel with diesel fuel at a level of 5 percent or less without having to disclose it to customers, Rees said.

"Right now, we'd like to see more support from the state of Arizona," Rees said. "Biodiesel is not recognized as an alternative fuel in the state of Arizona."

In terms of biofuel research, Sommerfeld, co-director of ASU's Laboratory of Algae Research and Biotechnology, said ASU is looking good in its efforts to help industry develop new technologies.

"There is a lot of new technology. ... and it has moved very rapidly," said Sommerfeld, who added that the rapid progress is in part due to the considerable amount of funding ASU has received from the government as well as industry.

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