The take-off of the biofuels industry over recent years has settled the question of whether biofuels could gain traction in a market dominated by petroleum giants. A combination of favorable public policies and ballooning oil prices has given biofuels a strong foothold which will almost certainly grow over coming years. Now the key questions center on what kind of biofuels industry will develop, and whether it will deliver on its promises for climate, rural development and energy security.
While growing biofuels feedstocks on farms is becoming a commonplace, actually making biofuels on the farm is fairly rare. Two Pacific Northwest efforts to develop advanced technologies for farm-scale production illustrate significant potential to produce fuels from local feedstocks for local use.