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Thirsty ethanol? An insider's view.

An exec from an energy company has repliedc to my earlier blog on a study of ethanol production and its water requirements. Here are some comments from Growth Energy’s CEO, Tom Buis.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor on

An exec from an energy company has repliedc to my earlier blog on a study of ethanol production and its water requirements. Here are some comments from Growth Energy’s CEO, Tom Buis.

“America’s ethanol producers recognize that water is a precious natural resource that must be conserved. Through technology improvements, they are continuously decreasing water usage in their plants; from a high of eight gallons of water per gallon of ethanol 20 years ago to around 3.5 gallons today. Just in the last five years it has decreased another 26.6 percent. Today, the production of ethanol takes a very small amount of water that is similar to the amount it takes to refine gasoline.

“The ACS water use study misses several points, chief among them is that according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, only four percent of the corn used to produce ethanol in the United States is on irrigated land. And 86 percent of the entire corn crop is rain-fed. In addition, seed biotech companies are developing hybrid seeds that will drastically decrease the amount of water needed to grow crops.

“Ethanol continues to get cleaner and greener as scientists employ the latest innovations to the production of this high-tech, homegrown renewable fuel. Ethanol can boost our economy, create jobs and bolster our energy independence, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions nearly 60 percent compared to gasoline. Ethanol production is the only existing alternative that will displace foreign oil, create American jobs, stimulate domestic investment, and improve our environment and national security.” "As ethanol production becomes more efficient in its use of water, oil production is going the opposite direction...extracting oil from the Canadian Tar Sands is extremely water intensive and area natural water resources are fully if not over allocated."

Growth Energy is an alliance of ethanol producers.

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