Guide to Biofuels: Glossary

Guide to Biofuels: Glossary

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Agrofuels another term for biofuels. Fuels made from plants.

Biodiesel a blend of diesel and a fuel made from plants.

Biofuels – see agrofuels.

Biomass – the material used to make biofuels… in the US, the dominant biomass used is corn and in Brazil, it is sugar cane. Other materials can be used, such as switchgrass, beets, sorghum, etc.

Blend wall – the amount of ethanol that can be blended into a gallon of gasoline, currently set at 10 percent. The ethanol lobby is trying to raise this number to 15 percent, because production is outpacing demand.

Cellulosic biofuels – biofuels based on woody, dense biomass (such as switchgrass)

Corn ethanol – ethanol made from corn. This is the dominant source of ethanol in the U.S., and receives 75 percent of federal subsidy money earmarked for renewable energy.

Corn Refiners Association – a powerful corn lobby.

Energy Independence Security Act

Greenhouse gas emissions – the term for the gases that create global warming and climate change

Growth Energy – an ethanol lobbying group with lots of cash

Nitrogen fertilizer – fertilizer derived from petroleum products. It is spread rampantly on many industrial agriculture fields, and then gets washed off by rain and erosion into our water supply, causing pollution, deadly algae blooms and dead zones.

VEETC – the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, otherwise known as the blender’s tax credit.  This $0.45 cents/gallon tax credit is given to oil companies who purchase ethanol to blend with conventional gasoline.  It is due to expire at the end of 2010, and it costs more than $5 billion a year. The corn ethanol lobby is trying to get this tax credit extended.

Pomeroy Bill – the bill introduced by Rep. Earl Pomeroy to extend the VEETC tax credits.

Performance Standards – standards that industries meet before they can receive subsidy money. The ethanol industry has none.

Renewable Fuel Standard Mandate – the guaranteed market which requires that oil companies buy a certain amount of ethanol to blend in with their gasoline.

Renewable Fuel – fuel that is from a regenerating source

Tax Credits — Tax credits are specific allotments of money from the government that go to individuals or industries.