On September 11, 2007 Jacques Beaudry-Losique, the manager of the Office of the Biomass Program for the DOE was on campus talking with facility and students. I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a lunch seminar with about 10 other students of varying backgrounds. Jacques presented the goals of his office and where he saw the biofuels industry heading in the next 15-20 years. He did a great job of keeping the talk more of a discussion and did his best to answer the wide range of questions from all of the students.
It was great to see that MIT's finest didn't hold back, asking direct questions about the program one of which I really liked....Why other biofuels beyond ethanol largely being looked at? His reponse to this was that the US needed something readily available and easily scaleable in a short period of time, and that was ethanol. Which definitely makes sense depending on what your goals are. But I was surprized to still see so much of the programs budget devoted to ethanol, though at least cellulosic ethanol. Who then is looking at alternatives? And at what point does the government additionally support those activities?