A new analysis of America’s ethanol industry shows dramatic efficiency gains in ethanol production have been made in the last five years.
According to an analysis conducted by the Argonne National Laboratory, American ethanol facilities are using less energy and water than just five years ago while producing more ethanol. Water consumption is down 26.6 percent, grid electricity use down almost 16 percent and total energy use almost 22 percent lower.
The Argonne analysis compares ethanol industry data from 2001 to 2006. In 2001, U.S. ethanol production was 1.77 billion gallons. In 2006, U.S. ethanol production was 4.9 billion gallons, an increase of 276%.
“This is not your father’s ethanol industry anymore,” said Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen. “As the industry has grown over the past several years, we have adopted new technologies, we are looking at new feedstocks, we are becoming more efficient every day. The ethanol industry takes its responsibility as stewards of the environment very seriously.”
The Argonne analysis also found key trends that are making ethanol more efficient and environmentally friendly. Nearly 25% of ethanol producers today are capturing their carbon dioxide emissions for use in dry ice production and carbonated beverage bottling. In addition, 37% of distillers grains – the high protein livestock feed co-product of ethanol production – are now sold in the wet form, reducing the energy needed to dry and transport the product.