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JuLY 2007

American Biofuels Council founded to encourage use of biofuels

In the first major initiative to build a grassroots communications network for the advancement of biofuels adoption, a new national association called The American Biofuels Council (ABC) has been formed.

ABC's mission is to advance the uses of alternative fuels and other products derived from biomass derivatives, by promoting research, development and education on the use of biofuels. It will bring information to consumers, enterprises and local governments, and, in turn, represent the grassroots at the national level.

"As a nation, we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by producing fuel domestically," said Sean O'Hanlon, ABC's founder and executive director. "In addition, biofuels are virtually carbon neutral, contributing little in the way of greenhouse gases to global warming, unlike fossil fuels," he said. "Last but not least, producing our own fuel creates jobs and helps reduce our trade deficit, and since biofuels are produced from various sources of biomass, the supply is almost limitless."

"We want to remove every barrier that stands between the average consumer, local enterprises and government in adopting biofuels for their fleets, cars, homes and businesses," said Jim Lane, ABC chairman and CEO of Miami-based Eos Biofuel.

Biofuels are solid, liquid or gas fuels derived from biomass, recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts such as manure. Some countries use such products as flaxseed, grapeseed, sugar cane and palm oil.

Biodegradable outputs from industry, agriculture, forestry and households can also be used, such as straw, timber, manure, rice husks, sewage, biodegradable waste and food leftovers. Unlike non-renewable natural resources like petroleum, coal and nuclear fuels, biofuel derived from biomass is a renewable energy source based on the carbon cycle.

Biobutanol, which can be used as a replacement for gasoline, is another alcohol fuel similar to ethanol, and can be produced from sugar cane, switchgrass or other biomass stocks. Biodiesel is the most common biofuel in Europe.

"ABC is the first organization," said O'Hanlon, "dedicated to moving information from local and state levels up to the national level and across the country. In turn, the Council will take information from the national level and move it quickly down to the grassroots local level. That is the key to turning goodwill and high hopes into actual adoption."

O'Hanlon and Lane said that ABC already has members in every state. A Board of Governors has been appointed, including Dr. Amar Mohanty, associate professor, Michigan State University, editor-in-chief, Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy; Les Branning, CEO of govstreet.org; Gary Lipsky, director of operations of Ecron; Kevin Hull, co-founder, Nearbio.com; and Julie Mikalson, member of the (Oregon) Governor's Renewable Energy Working Group.