Dave's Energy

Monday, February 13, 2006

Corn-based Ethanol still net energy balance negative

Continuing on the alternative energy theme, here is a report from David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agricultural science at Cornell University. Dr. Pimentel's thesis suggests that the energy cost of producing corn-based ethanol outweighs the benefit. Another concern he has is the amount of land required; from his research, it takes 7 times as much corn cropland to fuel one car than would be needed to feed one human.

Keep in mind that this article is from the Hubbert Center for Petroleum Supply Studies (Colorado School of Mines) and that it might be a bit biased. Also, it was published in 1998 so some of the cost structure included in the report is outdated. I think the gist, though, still holds true. On the flipside, the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (http://www.e85fuel.com/e85101/faqs/energy.php) maintains that this is a "common misconception."


  • I have un updated version, one that Pimentel and a collague from Berkeley (Tad Patzek) published in 2005 in Natural Resources Research, Vol 14, No.1 It is only available for purchase (not online), so I have a hard copy I'll pass on to you...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:23 PM  

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