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Top Biofuel States Named

California is home to nearly 30 advanced biofuel companies, but dozens of other states from coast to coast also are beginning to realize the economic benefits of this emerging industry, according to analysis by green business policy group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

There are now more than 80 advanced biofuel companies, refineries and related operations located in at least 27 states. Beyond California, the top four states for biofuel companies are: Illinois, which has eight; Colorado, six; Texas, five; and Iowa, four.

The Bay Area has the highest concentration of California biofuels firms. Some 10 firms specializing in such things as ethanol, renewable diesel and aviation fuel call the Bay Area home. Illinois’ biofuels industry is focused around metropolitan Chicago, according to a map published by E2 (see above). All of the Chicago area-based firms specialize in ethanol, the map shows.

The biofuels plant with the largest capacity is Colorado’s Gevo Development facility. The metropolitan Denver site can produce 350 million gallons of butanol per year.

The biofuel market could be worth more than $60 billion within the next decade and more than 18,000 jobs could be created by the 26 biorefineries that are expected to open by 2015, according to E2 analysis. According to the organization, US and Canadian biofuel production capacity increased from 427 million gallons in 2011 to more than 685 million gallons in 2012. E2 expects capacity to increase to 2.6 billion gallons by 2015.

Biofuel mandates and growth in the biochemicals industry are expected to triple demand for biomass by 2030, placing pressure on available feedstocks, according to a report by Lux Research released this week. The report says that biofuels and biochemicals need more than a billion metric tons of biomass material each year to replace about three percent of total petroleum products. The report predicts that figure will skyrocket to 3.7 billion mt of biomass needed annually by 2030.

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