Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ethanol Facts

Instead of a news article, I thought I'd educate a little bit on some of the facts of ethanol in the United States as it currently stands for corn-based ethanol:

1) One bushel of corn produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol and 17-18 pounds of DDGS (dried distillers grains).

2) One acre of corn produces approx. 500 gallons of ethanol -- enough to fuel six cars for a year on E10.

3) As of 2006, approximately 30% of all motor fuels in the US had some ethanol blended into it.

4) Argonne National Laboratory concluded a study last year that found ethanol reduces greenhouse gases 35% - 46% over gasoline derived fuels.

5) Every 100 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of energy used to produce ethanol becomes 167 BTUs of energy in the form of ethanol.
(The reason this can occur is that the light energy gained from the sun during the growth of the plant is not included in the calculation -- an ethanol plant is approximately 38% efficient in recovering chemical energy).

6) Although an ethanol plant may be 38% efficient, our power plants generate electricity at an amazing 30% efficiency.

7) The United States is composed of 1.9 billion acres of land; 450 million is categorized as crop land and 580 million acres is pasture.

8) Hardware needed to make a vehicle into a flex-fuel capable car is $100-$200.

9) As of 2006 there were 4-5 million E85 capable cars in the United States (which is 2-3% of US car fleet).

10) An E85 blend of gasoline will decrease VOCs (volatile organic compounds) by 15%, carbon monoxide by 40%, nitrous oxide by 10%, and sulfate emissions by 80%. All of these compounds are greenhouse gases or smog related compounds. (This information from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality).


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