Berkeley: Ethanol has positive energy balance

By | March 01, 2006
A new study from the University of California-Berkeley has concluded that ethanol yields more energy than it takes to produce, and that ethanol decreases dangerous greenhouse gas emissions. Published in the journal Science on Jan. 27, the study found that the production and use of ethanol reduces greenhouse gases (GHG) by 15 percent compared to oil and gasoline use. The conclusion is consistent with findings by the U.S. DOE's Argonne National Laboratory, which estimates that the use of 10 percent ethanol blends reduce GHG by up to 19 percent. "While this report is not news to those who are familiar with the ethanol industry, it is significant in that it provides a comprehensive review of all the ethanol energy studies out there and concludes that ethanol is a net energy positive," Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen said. The study also noted that new technology to convert cellulosic material, such as corn stover, switchgrass and wood chips, to ethanol holds even more potential.