City Council News

Chicago Urged to Become Hub for Emerging Biofuel Industry Job Growth

(May 12, 2010)  Chicago would seek to become the epicenter of a breakthrough technology hailed as the future of alternative biofuels under a resolution introduced today by Aldermen Margaret Laurino (39th), Edward M. Burke (14th), and Virginia Rugai (19th).
The measure calls for city officials to examine ways for Chicago to create incentives to lure companies that would produce biofuels made from a host of "agricultural left-overs," such as grass and the inedible parts of plants.
The so-called "grassoline" biofuel is being touted as the newest alternative to corn-based ethanol.  In addition, major companies such as BP, Verenium, DuPont and Iogen have already pledged millions of dollars to joint ventures committed to the emerging product's development and commercialization. 
Locating such emerging "green movement" companies in Chicago would create jobs for local residents.  The success of the new biofuel would also reduce America's reliance on corn and soybeans to produce ethanol, a practice which competes with the food supply and raises consumer prices.
"Grassoline appears to be the future of biofuel technology and acting now to develop incentives to convince such companies to locate in Chicago could pay big dividends in the long term for our city's employment base," Alderman Laurino said.
"The City of Chicago's geographic location as a transportation hub in the heart of the U. S. agricultural belt makes it an attractive setting for this next generation of biofuels which rely upon plant waste," Alderman Burke added.
"Chicago is well positioned to court such companies and if we are successful, it would also enhance Chicago's reputation as a City which prided itself on exploring green initiatives," Alderman Rugai said.
The measure calls for hearings to be held on the proposal before a Joint Committee of Energy, Environmental Protection & Public Utilities and the Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development.