In a very well-written opinion piece for the Omaha World-Herald, a Nebraska ethanol producer defends his product, the industry and American agriculture.
Chuck Woodside, chief executive officer of KAAPA Ethanol in Minden, NE and secretary of the Renewable Fuels Association, says attacks upon corn ethanol are becoming more frequent and fanciful – but “there’s scarcely a kernel of truth in any of them.”
“Their fundamental flaw is underestimating the ingenuity of the American ethanol industry — and American agriculture as well. Both are becoming more technologically advanced and more efficient in every way, including their use of energy, water and land,” writes Woodside.
Because of efficiency improvements at American ethanol plants, there have been dramatic reductions in the use of water and energy. While production increased at ethanol facilities in the United States from 2001 to 2006, their water consumption decreased by 27 percent, electricity usage declined by 16 percent and total energy use went down by 22 percent.
Not only is ethanol a clean-burning energy source, but its production is also increasingly efficient in its use of resources.
Similarly, producing increased amounts of grain ethanol requires remarkably little land in this country and exerts a negligible impact on land use throughout the world. The total amount of cropland dedicated to American ethanol production in 2007 was only 0.6 percent of the worldwide total.
Moreover, the total amount of agricultural land required to produce 15 billion gallons of grain ethanol in the United States by 2015, as required by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, would most likely be less than 1 percent of world cropland.
Read the entire op-ed here.