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Study Says Economics of Ethanol, Biodiesel Doesn't Add Up

July 7, 2005

A study from Cornell University and University of California-Berkley says ethanol and biodiesel – fuels produced from biomass – aren’t economical because they require more fuel to create than they ultimately generate.The study found that corn requires 29 percent more fossil energy than ethanol produced from it, while switch grass and wood biomass require 45 and 57 percent more fossil energy, respectively, than fuel produced.Biodiesel production also shows a disparate relationship between creation and generation. Soybean plants require 27 percent more fossil energy than fuel, and sunflower plants need a whopping 118 percent more fossil energy.Researchers acknowledged the need for alternative fuel sources, but said bio-fuels are not the way to go.
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