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You are here: FreeEnergyNews.com > Directory > Ethanol

Ethanol as Fuel

Some argue that it consumes more energy to make than is derived from its burning.  When derived from what would otherwise be waste, then we have a net gain.

DIY • Cellulosic Ethanol • Applications • R&D • Sources • Awards • Pro Ethanol • Skeptics • Directories • See also


  • Electronic Bi-Fuel Converter - 'The Fuel Man' site provides instruction on how to make your own ethanol and convert your fuel-injected or carbureted car to run on homemade fuel.

Cellulosic Ethanol

  • America's First Cellulosic Ethanol Plant - The cellulosic ethanol process produces ethanol from cellulose, which all plants have, instead of from sugar, which is only abundant in food crops. Corn ethanol only produces 1.3 units of energy for every unit of energy that goes into growing the crop and converting the sugar to ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol can produce as much as 16 units of energy for every one unit of energy put into the process. (EcoGeek; July 12, 2007) (See Slashdot discussion)
  • Major Breakthrough in Biofuels - A new method developed by Honda and the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE) allows large volumes of cellulosic ethanol to be produced from widely available waste wood, rice straw, leaves and other so-called soft biomass that is currently discarded. A microorganism developed by RITE helps reduce interference in the fermentation process, allowing for far more efficient ethanol production. (Impact Lab; Sept. 15, 2006)
  • Ethanol more efficient than we think - Researchers say ethanol fuel is more energy-efficient than some experts had realized. Better methods now being investigated would use the woody parts of plants, using what is known as cellulosic technology to break down the tough fibers. (ABC.net.au; Jan. 27, 2006) (Also PhysOrg; Feb. 1, 2006)
  • Bush Says US Addicted to Oil, Must Make Changes - "The best way to break this addiction is through technology."  Sets target of reducing US oil imports from the Middle East 75% by 2025.  Plan focuses on cellulosic ethanol as fuel alternative. (FinFacts; Feb. 1, 2006) (Also Reuters)
State of the Union Address; Jan. 31, 2006



  • Four-fuel Fiat Sienna - Fiat has produced the world's first commercial four-fuel vehicle.  It runs on ethanol, gasoline, natural gas/CNG, or gasahol.  Made possible by an engine control unit (ECU) that manages the different fuels equally well. (TreeHugger; Aug. 27, 2006)

  • Ford's Hybrid: Now With Ethanol - Ford Motor Company has created the first hybrid vehicle that runs on an ethanol mix, the experimental Escape Hybrid E85. The hybrid is able to run on a mix of gasoline and up to 85 percent ethanol, a clean-burning, corn-based additive. (e-Magazine; Feb. 8, 2006) (Ford)
  • Argentinean Scientists Get Pure Hydrogen Through Ethanol - Scientists from the Catalytic Processes Laboratory in Buenos Aires have improved the chemical process of obtaining hydrogen from ethanol. (TreeHugger; May 16, 2005)
  • Biomass Plant to Convert Rice Straw to Ethanol - Colusa Biomass Energy, a biomass-to-ethanol company, has engaged technical assistance consultants for a production plant in the Sacramento Valley that will convert rice straw to chemical products and ethanol. (Renewable Energy Access; Aug. 5, 2005)


  • Turning Corn Fiber Into Ethanol - Iowa State University researchers have used mold to convert corn fiber into ethanol. The discovery could turn byproducts of corn milling into another source of fuel. (ISU; May 31, 2006)


  • Rivers of unwanted wine to turn into biofuel - European vehicles will be running on distilled French and Italian wine again this summer as the upcoming season's surplus production from European vineyards is turned into biofuel. (Edie News Center; June 8, 2006)


  • Indy 500 Goes From Gas to Green (video) - The Indy 500 is hardly the place you'd expect to find anything "green," outside the starting flag. The cars in the race average 220 mph and 2-3 miles per gallon. But this year, they'll be burning rubber on ethanol. (CBS News; May 25, 2007)
  • Ethanol Car Beats Fuel Cells to Win European Eco-marathon - French High School students achieved the best fuel efficiency at the European Shell Eco-marathon, with an energy consumption equivalent to traveling 2,885 kilometers on a single liter of gasoline (6,788 mpg). (Environment News Service; May 22, 2006)

Pro Ethanol

  • Ethanol and Brazil - In Brazil, ethanol fuel is produced from sugar cane which is a more efficient source of fermentable carbohydrates than corn as well as much easier to grow and process. (Energy Business Daily; June 19, 2007)
  • Methanol -- Ethanol's Sister Product - Ethanol can be an even more effective energy alternative to petroleum if the unused portion of the crop are used to create methanol. (PESWiki; Feb. 26, 2006)
  • Ethanol produces more energy than it takes to produce - Ethanol generates 35% more energy than it takes to produce, due to the use of solar energy to grow the corn, according to a study by Argonne National Laboratory. (Refocus Weekly; April 20, 2005)
    • Argonne National Laboratory Ethanol Study (2005)
      [Assumes EtOH has same energy output at gasoline]
    • "There is nothing I can add to the Argonne Lab report. It is essentially the same as the 2002 and 2004 USDA reports. I have already addressed these reports in my Corn Ethanol report." -- Tad Patzek
  • Congress asked to up ethanol production - "An energy bill Republicans are pushing through the House this week does not go far enough to replace foreign oil with homegrown ethanol." (Pioneer Press, Minnesota; April 19, 2005)
  • Ethanol Starting to Trade Like a World Commodity - Ethanol export contracts from Brazil are looking more like contracts for other goods, such as sugar, soy and oil -- a sign that the renewable fuel may be on its way to becoming a world commodity. (Reuters; Sept. 29, 2005)


  • Ethanol-blend auto emissions no greener than gasoline - An unpublished federal report appears to undermine the belief that commercially available ethanol-blended fuel produces cleaner emissions than regular gasoline. The study found no statistical difference between the greenhouse gas emissions of regular unleaded fuel and 10 per cent ethanol blended fuel. (CBC.ca; Mar. 30, 2007)
  • Ethanol won't solve energy problems - Ethanol is far from a cure-all for the nation's energy problems. It's not as environmentally friendly as some supporters claim and would supply only 12 percent of U.S. motoring fuel - even if every acre of corn were used. (AP / PhysOrg; July 11)
  • Green Fuel's Dirty Secret - Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is the largest U.S. producer of ethanol, which plants, ironically, have received numerous EPA crack-downs for excessive levels of carbon monoxide, methanol, toluene, and volatile organic compounds, some of which are known to cause cancer. (CorpWatch; June 1, 2006)
  • Carbon Cloud over a Green Fuel - A plant in Goldfield, Iowa is burning 300 tons of coal a day to turn corn into ethanol -- the first US plant of its kind to use coal instead of cleaner natural gas. At least three other such refineries are being built in Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota. (Christian Science Monitor; Mar. 23, 2006) (Thanks Renewable Energy Access)
  • Pumpago.com - America dependent on domestic fuel - New activist site considers how America can reduce gasoline prices, gain independence from OPEC, create a new energy industry based on the gassification of coal. Considers the costs and benefits of biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, and hybrid cars.


From: <Investment Program Management >
Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2005 5:50 PM
Subject: Contact PES Network Inc. Executive Director

I want to point out that those articles that indicate the use of biomass to make fuels (ethanol) cost more in energy than they return in product.

It should be made obvious to every one that the data proposed only uses one technology that is outdated.

Perhaps it is wise for people to know that there are other viable technologies that do provide substantially more energy than they take to produce.

Generally speaking this misinformation tends to confuse the issue or promotes the products offered by the announcer of these dynamic outcomes.

Best regards,

Quentin Thornton


See also

  • Biofuel
  • Alternative Fuels - Bio fuels, gas, alcohol, hydrogen, vegetable oil, alternative methods of powering vehicles. Make your own fuel or fill up at bio-diesel or E85 stations listed. (PESWiki)
  • Biomass - Organic waste to energy.  (Let's not grow it to burn, but let's do make use of what would otherwise go to waste.)

Page posted by Sterling D. Allan, April 3, 2004
Last updated March 12, 2008



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