The world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which is located in the tiny Italian town of Crescentino, is expected to begin production this year. That’s according to the Financial Times.
The plant, which is part of Beta Renewables, marks a new trend of second-generation biofuel companies that use feedstocks like agricultural waste, energy grasses and algae, the FT says.
For its part, Beta Renewables will use a giant reed, rice husks, parts of corn and wheat stalks to produce bioethanol. It is the first of several plants slated to open in 2012. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance research, 20 plants should open in the next 2 years. Most of these plants are located in the U.S.
However, with banks cutting lending to big projects, the pace of commercialization could be slow, the FT notes. At the same time, government policy is helping to move the industry forward. In the U.S., for example, biofuels are seen as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil, the FT adds.
To read the full Financial Times article cited in this story, click here