Ethanol Myths. Busssssted!

23 08 2011

To kick start my blogging career, I wanted to focus on a topic that most family, friends and everyday people I run into love to bring up, especially when they hear what I majored in for my undergraduate degree.

(‘Wait, renewable energy? What’s that?’… they ask.

‘The gas used in a tractor to plow the crops doesn’t outweigh the fuel produced from the corn.’)

This was even a hot topic of debate at my cousin’s baby shower over the weekend!

Well, I can only answer with what I’ve learned in the classroom. But people want credentials, right? They want hard, true facts. And I don’t blame ’em.

Now, finally something I can cite!





Thanks to the folks at Argonne National Laboratory and an article featured in Wired two months ago, the top five major false attacks against this clean, renewable fuel have met their match.

Go to the article to read through all of them. I want to extrapolate on the first, busted myth (also the topic of heated debate at my family’s house this past Saturday).

The Argonne folks have found that producing ethanol delivers a net energy GAIN of 8.8 megajoules per liter. Okay… so what does that really mean?? And how does it have a net gain in energy?

Compared to thirty years ago, corn yields have increased dramatically. Coupled with more efficiency gains in the dry milling process, compared to wet milling, the outputs (i.e. ethanol) far outweigh the inputs (i.e. fuel in the tractors).

So, next time your cousins or friends bring up the false claims against ethanol… you’ll have the proper source to back up this sustainable fuel.

…Even if you’re not at a baby shower!