Ethanol from Corn Much Better than Expected
The study’s ethanol-to-petroleum output/input ratios ranged from 10:1 to 13:1 but could be increased to 19:1 if farmers adopted high-yield progressive crop and soil management practices, according to the study. Using advanced closed-loop ethanol production technology with anaerobic digestion reduced GHG emissions by 67% and increased the net energy ratio to 2.2, from 1.5 to 1.8 for the most common systems. These numbers are much better than the 1.5:1 so often seen and discounted to below 1:1 by non expert pundits. _NewEnergyAnd FuelCorn ethanol production did not reduce food production, since the total corn production increase more than compensated for the diversion of maize to ethanol. In fact, since dried distiller's grains (DDGs) byproduct from the corn ethanol process is used as healthy livestock feed, available food corn (for animals and people) has gone up. Apparently, virtually everything we have read about corn ethanol from pundits, academics, and mainstream journalists is wrong -- because the academics and intellectuals were using outdated data -- they cannot seem to catch up to the nitty-gritty reality of the cutting edge present.
The implications of this new study suggest that the transition to biomass (once cellulosic conversion to sugars is perfected) will be much smoother and productive than anyone predicted. Since cellulosic crops grow on marginal lands, with minimal watering and cultivation, the energy return from biomass alcohol production should be even greater than for corn.
Read Brian's article and try to understand the growing sophistication of the corn ethanol industry. People in the industry have to make a profit -- unlike politicians, journalists, and thumb-sucking professors. And in the age of Obama - Pelosi, making a profit is becoming ever more difficult.
Cross-posted to Al Fin Energy