Ethanol and environment

In his letter, "Ethanol's Net Energy Balance" (OGJ, Nov. 10, 2003, p. 10), Steve Plotkin seems to have some misconceptions not only of energy balances, but more importantly, of environmental costs and benefits. He argues that ethanol's negative net energy balance means very little and that petroleum fuels also have negative net energy balances.As Gavin Longmuir succinctly explained in his letter (OGJ, Sept. 22, 2003, p. 10), in the case of fossil fuels we invest some energy in development, extraction, transportation, and processing in order to obtain more energy than we expended in these processes.1 In the case of ethanol, even with the input of "free" solar energy, the energy con...

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