Biofuels Cleaner Than Earlier Studies Showed

New study shows advances in biofuel performance and energy balance.

Published on: Jan 26, 2009

A report released by the University of Nebraska shows that the advances in corn and ethanol production over the years have significantly improved biofuel's environmental performance and energy balance. The report shows that corn ethanol directly emits an average of 51% less greenhouse gas than gasoline. That is as much as three times the reduction reported in earlier research.

A Professor of Agronomy at the University of Nebraska, Ken Cassman said it is important to understand that ethanol also has a substantial net positive direct energy balance. The study notes that corn ethanol's net energy ratio, which averaged 1.2 to 1 in earlier studies, is 1.5-1.8 to 1 in the recent research. That means that for every unit of energy it takes to make ethanol, 1.5 to 1.8 units of energy are produced as ethanol.

"It is just tremendous to have this peer-reviewed report back up what corn growers have been saying for some time," said Kelly Brunkhorst, ag program manager for the Nebraska Corn Board. "When examining ethanol production it is important to look at modern production practices for both growing corn and producing ethanol. You simply can't look backwards."