Friday, March 4, 2016
USDA: Ethanol Industry Continues to Improve it's Energy Balance
(RFA) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the release of a new USDA study on the energy balance of corn ethanol. USDA found that ethanol produced at a typical dry grind plant provides more than twice as much energy as was required to produce the fuel, with the energy balance ratio ranging from 2.1-2.3 BTU of ethanol for 1 BTU of energy inputs. However, this range is generally the same as USDA's last report published in 2010, which found an energy balance of 1.9-2.3. When investigating the reasons for the apparent lack of improvement suggested by the new USDA report, RFA found that the same 2008 survey of just 18 dry mills was used for both the 2010 USDA report and the new USDA report released. The new USDA report also examined an optimally situated plant producing wet DG, finding that it could potentially achieve an energy balance of 4.0.