Reports Find Increasing Ethanol Efficiency

Joanna Schroeder

Two recent reports have found that ethanol production continues to become even more efficient. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Chief Economist and titled, “2015 Energy Balance for the Corn Ethanol Industry“. The second report titled, “Literature Review of Estimated Market Effects of U.S. Corn Starch Ethanol,” was published by the University of Missouri, Food and Agricultural Policy Institute (FAPRI).

Corn field on BJ and Bob Funke's Iowa farm.  Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Corn field on BJ and Bob Funke’s Iowa farm. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Both studies reported that ethanol production continues to be increasingly energy efficient, and that increased production would continue to benefit the farm economy by increasing corn prices. Both reports also find that even with increased corn ethanol production, there would be more than enough corn to meet the needs of animal producers such as livestock.

USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement regarding the report findings, “Between 1991 and 2010, direct energy use in corn production has dropped by 46 percent per bushel of corn produced and total energy use per bushel of corn by 35 percent. Moreover, between 2005 and 2010, direct energy use fell by 25 percent and the total energy use by 8.2 percent per bushel—meaning that between 2005 and 2010, the energy required per bushel of corn produced dropped by about 5 percent. The bottom line is, today, more energy is being produced from ethanol than is used to produce it, by factors of 2 to 1 nationally and by factors of 4 to 1 in the Midwest. ”

In response to the reports, Growth Energy Co-Chair Tom Buis stated, “The USDA report confirms several things the ethanol industry has been saying for years – efficiency in ethanol production is on the rise.” Buis continued by noting for years Big Oil and special interests have been attempting to drive a narrative that is false and an effort to maintain their fuel transportation fuel monopoly. He also pointed out that the FAPRI study found there was no definitive impact on global land use.

“These reports definitively prove that the misinformation and lies being spread by Big Oil and special interests hold absolutely no merit. Ethanol production has become, and continues to be more efficient,” Buis added, “Furthermore, Secretary Vilsack was spot on when he noted that, ‘there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of the bio-economy and the role biofuels and advanced biofuels will play in the future.’”

biofuels, corn, Ethanol, Growth Energy