Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA)

Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA)

July 18, 2005 11:26 ET

Canadian Renewable Fuel Association: Ethanol Energy Balance-The Facts

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - July 18, 2005) - Over the past decade, only two studies, both of which were conducted by Cornell University entomologist David Pimentel, have found the net energy balance of ethanol to be negative. The overwhelming majority of scientists that have studied the energy balance of ethanol have found it to be positive and have argued Pimentel's studies use outdated data and a flawed methodology. Here are the facts.

ETHANOL CONTAINS TWICE THE ENERGY REQUIRED TO PRODUCE IT

"In terms of an energy balance, or on a "comprehensive life cycle basis," ethanol contains about twice the amount of energy required to produce it. This includes the energy used to produce the various inputs of production such as fertilizer and pesticides, the fuel costs associated with grain production, and the cost of transporting grain from the farm to the ethanol plant, and from the ethanol plant to the retailer."

Agriculture Canada


CORN ETHANOL REDUCES FOSSIL FUEL USE, PETROLEUM USE AND GHGS

"Since fuel ethanol was first used in the United States in the early 1980s, there have been debates about whether corn-based ethanol provides energy and emission benefits. Some critics of corn ethanol argue that it has a negative energy balance (the energy in ethanol itself minus fossil energy used for corn farming and ethanol production). Beginning in 1996, Argonne began to address the energy and emission effects of ethanol produced from corn and from cellulosic biomass. In 1997, Argonne completed a study for the State of Illinois evaluating the fuel-cycle energy and greenhouse gas effects of corn ethanol. The study concluded that corn ethanol did indeed reduce fossil energy use, petroleum use, and greenhouse gas emissions. The reason? Simple, really - in the last 30 years, corn yield per unit of chemical inputs has gone up significantly. At the same time, energy use by ethanol production plants has gone down significantly."

Michael Wang, Center for Transportation Research, Argonne National Laboratory, Unites States Department of Energy, July 17, 2005


167% POSITIVE FOSSIL ENERGY BALANCE

"The results indicate that corn ethanol has a positive energy balance....The study results suggest that corn ethanol is energy efficient, as indicated by an energy output/input ratio of 1.67."

Hosein Shapouri, United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the Chief Economist


10% ETHANOL BLENDS REDUCE GHGS BY 4%

"Almost all gasoline-engine vehicles can use low-level ethanol-blended gasoline (gasoline with up to 10 percent ethanol) year-round; check your owner's manual to confirm. Low-level ethanol-blended gasoline, available at over 1000 service stations across Canada, can reduce overall CO2 emissions by about 4 percent compared with regular gasoline."

Natural Resources Canada, Office of Energy Efficiency

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