- Ethanol Production Using Corn, Switchgrass, and Wood; Biodiesel Production Using Soybean and Sunflower (2005 study by Dr. Pimental and Dr. Patzek)
Abstract: Energy outputs from ethanol produced using corn, switchgrass, and wood biomass were each less than the respective fossil energy inputs. The same was true for producing biodiesel using soybeans and sunflower, however, the energy cost for producing soybean biodiesel was only slightly negative compared with ethanol production. Findings in terms of energy outputs compared with the energy inputs were:
- Ethanol production using corn grain required 29% more fossil energy than the ethanol fuel produced.
- Ethanol production using switchgrass required 50% more fossil energy than the ethanol fuel produced.
- Ethanol production using wood biomass required 57% more fossil energy than the ethanol fuel produced.
- Biodiesel production using soybean required 27% more fossil energy than the biodiesel fuel produced (Note, the energy yield from soy oil per hectare is far lower than the ethanol yield from corn).
- Biodiesel production using sunflower required 118% more fossil energy than the biodiesel fuel produced.
- Dr. Tad Patzek, University of California at Berkeley (argues that ethanol represents a net energy loss)
- Thermodynamics of the Corn-Ethanol Biofuel Cycle (7/2006) (see abstract) "inefficient solar cells produce ~100 times more electricity than corn ethanol"
- Biofuels Papers
- Science Letters: Rebuttals to the biofuels articles in Jan. 27, 2006, Science
- The real biofuel cycles, Tad W. Patzek, Supporting Online Material to the Letter in Science, Vol. 312, p. 1747, 26 June 2006
- The Earth, Energy, and Agriculture, Tad W. Patzek, Paper presented at the Climate Change and the Future of the American West - Exploring the Legal and Policy Dimensions, June 7-9, 2006, Boulder, Colorado
- Ethanol Production Using Corn, Switchgrass, and Wood; Biodiesel Production Using Soybean and Sunflower, David Pimentel and Tad W. Patzek, Natural Resources Research, Vol. 14, No. 1, March 2005
- Thermodynamics of energy production from biomass, Tad W. Patzek and David Pimentel, Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 24(5-6), 327-364, 2005
- Thermodynamics of the corn-ethanol biofuel cycle, Tad W. Patzek, Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 23(6), 519-567, 2004
- UC scientist says ethanol uses more energy than it makes A lot of fossil fuels go into producing the gas substitute - Elizabeth Svoboda, Special to The Chronicle Monday, June 27, 2005, Page A-4
- Proceedings of the Energy Analysis Workshop on Methodology and Conventions, 25-30 August 1974, International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study, The Nobel House, Stockholm, Sweden
- Proceedings of the Workshop on Energy Analysis and Economics, 22-27 June 1975, International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study, Lidingö, Sweden
- Sheehan, J., Camobreco, V., Duffield, J., Graboski, M., and Shapouri, H. 1998, Life Cycle Inventory of Biodiesel and Petroleum Diesel for Use in an Urban Bus, Final Report NREL/SR-580-24089, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado 80401
- Ethanol from Corn: Just How Sustainable Is It?
- Ethanol from Corn: Clean Renewable Fuel for the Future, or Drain on our Resources and Pockets?
- Dr. David Pimentel, Cornell University
- Biofuel Skeptic Extraordinaire
By Tom Philpott, 08 Dec 2006
An interview with David Pimentel
"No. I don't care what kind of imagination you have, it won't work."
- Ethanol Fuels: Energy Balance, Economics, and Environmental Impacts are Negative (Natural Resources Research, June 2003)
- Limits of Biomass Utilization (Encyclopedia of Physical Science and Technology, Mar 2001)
- Ethanol fuel from corn faulted as 'unsustainable subsidized food burning' in analysis by Cornell scientist
- Biofuel Skeptic Extraordinaire By Tom Philpott, 08 Dec 2006
- The Ethanol Myth by Consumer Reports, October 2006
"CR determined that E85 will cost consumers more money than gasoline and that there are concerns about whether the government’s support of FFVs is really helping the U.S. achieve energy independence"