Stabenow asked the panel when large-scale quantities of biofuels from a wide variety of feedstocks will reach consumers. Secondly, “under a 2007 USDA/Department of Energy (DOE) study, it was stated we have the potential to produce 1.3 billion tons of cellulosic biomass per year, which would displace about 65 percent of our oil consumption. … This would make a big difference. What do we need to do?”

“Actually, I think the USDA/DOE estimate is conservative,” replied Bruce Dale, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University.“We could have more than that.

“As to when we will do this: we’ll do it when we choose. … The technology is coming along. We’ll do it when we choose to open our fuel markets, when we provide stable policies to allow alternatives to petroleum to go up, and when we can key on the support the necessary research and development to make this industry happen. It’s more a matter of what we choose – I really believe that.”

Almost every state can become a net fuel exporter, said Dale. “We have the land resources, the agriculture knowledge. … Any state with an ag or forestry base can produce its own fuel.”