Simple. Have you heard that a National Biofuels Action Plan (NBAP) was released on 7 October 2008 in the midst of comparisons being made of the presidential-candidate positions on energy?

The NBAP was developed by the Biomass Research and Development Board (the Board)—co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)— to accelerate the development of a sustainable biofuels industry.*

The Board establishes that enhanced inter-agency collaboration is required among the senior decision makers from ten federal agencies and the White House. The NBAP identified key research challenges and critical inter-agency actions to make next-generation, cellulosic biofuels cost-effective.

Seven action areas include:

Sustainability: A working group led by USDA, DOE, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is defining science-based national criteria, which will be established by November 2008, and indicators to assess the sustainability of biofuels production coordinated with ongoing international activities.

Feedstock Production: A Board-commissioned inter-agency working group conducted a feedstock availability and cost study using the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) production targets. A separate Board working group is developing a long-term integrated feedstock research and development plan across the federal government, which will reach completion by December 2008.

Feedstock Logistics: A working group led by USDA will facilitate collaboration to develop and deploy logistics systems that can supply cellulosic feedstocks to demonstration facilities.

Conversion Science and Technology: A working group composed of DOE, USDA, EPA, National Science Foundation (NSF), and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is collaborating to develop a 10-year federal science and technology research plan by December 2008 for developing cost-effective means of biomass conversion and production of cellulosic biofuels.

Distribution Infrastructure: A U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-led group is studying the feasibility of transporting ethanol in pipelines and assessing the availability of geographic information system (GIS) capabilities across agencies.

Blending: The Board has approved a statement on blending ethanol with gasoline in amounts greater than 10 percent (E10) and will review results of an inter-agency testing program to evaluate the impact of intermediate blends on vehicle emissions and material compatibility by fall 2008.

Environment, Health and Safety: An EPA-led working group is inventorying federal activities and areas of jurisdiction with respect to public health, safety, and environmental protection.