Cellulosic Ethanol's Big Number

Its energy balance is about 10 times greater than corn ethanol, oil or diesel.

Published on: Aug 22, 2008

Why all the enthusiasm among the global warming crowd about cellulosic ethanol?

It's because cellulosic ethanol has an energy balance factor of 10, says Cole Gustafson, NDSU Extension biofuels economist, who is writing a series of reports about renewable fuels.

The figure for corn ethanol is 1.3, he says. U.S. gasoline's energy balance is .80. Diesel's is .83.

This accounting of energy consumed to produce a fuel not only includes energy utilized in the ethanol plant or refinery, but all of the fossil fuel required to produce corn or extract oil. The fossil fuel needed to produce fertilizer, pesticides and even the rubber on tractor tires is considered.

Read more from Gustafson about what's behind the drive for cellulosic ethanol production at www.ag.ndsu.edu/news/columns/biofuels-economics/biofuel-economics-will-ethanol-wean-the-u-s-from-oil-imports.