In the world of alternative fuels and transport, there are two types of technologies
that are highly controversial:
1. Specifically to biofuels, fuels made (exclusively) from feedstocks that are also
used for food production.
2. In every alt transport sector, infrastructure-incompatible fuels or engine
While fuel or vehicle cost impact is a huge factor in adoption, much of the squabble
over the US Renewable Fuel Standard, for example, has to do with how ethanol
matches up with the existing vehicle fleet and fuel transport infrastructure.
The fact that Brazil solved a lot of those challenges, years ago, is one of the reasons
why major petroleum producers like BP, Shell and Petrobras are diving into Brazilian
ethanol while refiners in the US have been, by and large, tepid in their support.
Meanwhile, in the US producers have reached the distribution wall imposed by E10
blend limits; E15 blending is early-stage and controversial; for higher blends, there’s
an acute shortage of pumps, and E85 prices aren’t tempting many customers.
But the controversy over infrastructure extends well beyond ethanol. Biodiesel
producers have worked hard to move accepted blend ratios beyond B5 towards B20
and eventually B100. For compressed natural gas (CNG), there are only around 500
pumps in the country; for liquified natural gas (LNG), there are only around 40, and
most of those in one state (California). Battery-electric vehicles struggle with recharge
facility availabilities and charge-time.