Monday, July 18, 2005

Study slams economics of ethanol and biodiesel :: ScienceAGoGo
U.S. policy increases demand for Gulf oil

A new joint study from Cornell University and University of California-Berkeley says that fuels produced from biomass are uneconomical as they use much more energy in their creation than the resulting ethanol or biodiesel generates. "There is just no energy benefit to using plant biomass for liquid fuel," said study author and Cornell researcher David Pimentel. . . . The study, appearing in Natural Resources Research, entailed a detailed analysis of the energy input-yield ratios of producing ethanol from corn, switch grass and wood biomass as well as for producing biodiesel from soybean and sunflower plants. The researchers considered such factors as the energy used in producing the crop (production of pesticides and fertilizer, running farm machinery and irrigating, grinding and transporting the crop) and in fermenting/distilling the ethanol from the water mix.
So why does it exist at all? Because it is subsidized by the U.S. government. Why? Because political parties are buying votes, in this case from farm states. But in the end what does it do? It is so uneconomic that not it doesn't even displace some of the U.S. demand for fossil fuels, but instead increases that demand. A very stupid policy.


Anonymous dad said...

They didn't even mention the costs to our environment: degradation of rivers and seas by runoff of chemical fertilizers and insecticides, air pollution from the processing and transportution.

5:40 AM  

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