The Argonne National Laboratory has released a report that shows the efficiency of ethanol production facilities continues to rise. Argonne analyzed industry data from 2001 to 2006 and found that in addition to the rapid growth of ethanol production, the industry has cut its use of resources, benefiting the environment.
In that five-year span ethanol production jumped 276% from 1.77 billion gallons to 4.9 billion gallons. At the same time water consumption, electricity and total energy used by ethanol facilities dropped dramatically. Facilities use 26.6% less water, 15.7% less grid electricity and 21.8% less total energy in manufacturing ethanol.
"America's ethanol industry has come a long way in a few short years, as has the efficiency and productivity of the corn farmers that provide the raw materials for this dynamic industry," says Illinois Corn Growers Association President Art Bunting. "There continues to be a lot of outdated or just plain wrong information circulating regarding the ethanol production chain, so this is a welcome study."
Argonne also found that in 2007 carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions from the nation's automobile fleet were reduced by 10 million tons due to the use of 6.5 billion gallons of ethanol. Additionally the analysis found that nearly 25% of ethanol facilities are capturing their carbon dioxide emissions for use dry ice production and carbonated beverage bottling, and over a third of distillers grain is being sold in wet form, therefore reducing energy needed to dry and transport the product. These trends are making ethanol more efficient and environmentally friendly.