U.S. and China Work on Non-Grain Biofuels Agreement

The two countries are reportedly close to signing an agreement to jointly develop biofuels from non-grain sources such as sweet potatoes, cassava and sweet sorghum.

Published on: Jun 4, 2007

China and the U.S. are "about to sign" an agreement to jointly develop non-grain based biofuels, the head of China's top economic planning agency said Monday.

The pact is part of China's efforts to develop alternative energy sources to fossil fuels to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

Vice-Premier Wu Yi discussed the pact with U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator during a strategic economic dialogue in Washington, DC last month, Ma Kai, chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission, told reporters at a press conference China plans to promote ethanol production from non-grain crops such as sweet potatoes, cassava and sweet sorghum.

Ethanol can be blended with gasoline as auto fuel. China is discouraging corn-based ethanol development because of food security concerns, as corn is a staple food for people and livestock.

Apart from developing biofuels, China will adjust prices of resources to reflect their scarcity and influence on the environment, Ma said. China will use economic, legal and administrative methods to limit energy use and emissions, he said. "We prefer to use economic tools to encourage energy production but limit energy waste," he said.

Source: Dow Jones newswires