Ethanol's energy contribution: real or imagined?

The average of 19 attempts to quantify the net energy value (NEV) of making ethanol from corn over its full life cycle indicates a net energy loss of 8%. But the US Congress acts as if ethanol will provide energy security to America. Let's examine two recent attempts to see if ethanol's energy contribution is real or imagined.The variations in NEVs stem from the assumptions used to calculate them. The assumptions are a function of the analyst's biases. In an unbiased analysis, errors will tend to offset each other. Energy balance calculationsEven though it is comparing apples and oranges, consider the 2002 US Department of Agriculture's dry mill ethanol energy balance calc...

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