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The Morning Briefing: The biofuel industry

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Credit: BP

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-reads from the web. This morning we're reading about the biofuel industry.

1.) Biofuel production threatens air quality and crop yields, study finds. Fighting climate change by producing more biofuels could actually worsen a little-known type of air pollution and cause almost 1,400 premature deaths a year in Europe by 2020, according to a new study.

2.) A look at DuPont biofuel's work on cellulosic ethanol and butanol. "During the recent Total Energy USA Conference in Houston, I had a chance to interview Mr. Jan Koninckx. Mr. Koninckx is the global director of biofuels for DuPont Industrial Biosciences – an arm of DuPont that has a strong focus on biofuels."

3.) Tax credits are a valuable tool in the biofuels policy toolbox. There are a number of policy tools to help the biofuels industry compete with entrenched incumbents and foreign petroleum. The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is certainly the most important policy tool but others do also provide support for advanced biofuels technology commercialization efforts.

4.) As biofuel demand grows, so do Guatemala's hunger pangs. In the tiny tortillerias of this city, people complain ceaselessly about the high price of corn. Just three years ago, one quetzal -- about 15 cents -- bought eight tortillas; today it buys only four. And eggs have tripled in price because chickens eat corn feed.

5.) 5 biofuel trends for 2013. Despite a relatively down year with respect to investment and production capacity expansion, the biofuels industry grew modestly in 2012, continuing a shift from first generation facilities to next generation, advanced biorefineries.

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— By on January 7, 2013, 4:58 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure