Study supports ethanol
WASHINGTON, DC -- A new study to be published in the journal Science Jan. 27 reports that ethanol yields more energy that it takes produce. The study is by Professors Daniel Kammen and Alex Farrell, and their associates at University of Californi...
WASHINGTON, DC -- A new study to be published in the journal Science Jan. 27 reports that ethanol yields more energy that it takes produce.
The study is by Professors Daniel Kammen and Alex Farrell, and their associates at University of California-Berkeley's Energy and Resources Group and the Goldman School of Public Policy.
It also determined that ethanol decreases dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.
The study sought to analyze the conflicting reports that exist about the energy balance of ethanol. According to the results, producing ethanol from corn uses much less petroleum than producing gasoline.
"While this report is not news to those who are familiar with the ethanol industry, it is significant in that it provides a comprehensive review of all the ethanol energy studies out there and concludes that ethanol is a net energy positive," said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association.
The study found that the production and use of ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emission by 15 percent compared to oil and gasoline use. These findings are consistent with those of the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, which estimates that the use of 10 percent ethanol blends would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 19 percent.
"A 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is significant and puts ethanol at the forefront in the effort to address global warming," said Dinneen. "No other liquid fuel in widespread use today can make that claim."
The study also noted that new technology to convert cellulosic material, such as corn stalks, switchgrass and woody material, to ethanol holds even more potential.
"There isn't an ethanol producer in the country that isn't actively pursuing a cellulose-to-ethanol research program," said Dinneen. "While corn will continue to be the major feedstock for U.S. ethanol production, the development of cellulosic ethanol technology offers a promising compliment and a new era for the U.S. ethanol industry."
Currently, 95 ethanol plants have a combined production capacity of more than 4.3 billion gallons a year. There are 31 ethanol plants and nine expansions under construction with a combined annual capacity of more than 1.5 billion gallons.
More information on the report is available at rael.berkeley.edu/EBAMM/.
RFA congratulated President George Bush for embracing a renewable fuels policy in last week's State of the Union speech before Congress.
In his remarks, the President emphasized the important role ethanol can play in America's energy future, while helping reduce dependence on foreign oil.