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Published on April 9th, 2008 | by Clayton

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2015: 30% of US Corn Harvest Will Be Gasoline

April 9th, 2008 by  
 

corn, farm, harvest, ethanolAs Green Car Congress reported earlier this week, ethanol production is up 37% for the first quarter of 2008.

Ethanol plants in the US are now pumping out approximately 21.4 million gallons of corn-based ethanol every day, which has already amounted to 1.9 billion gallons for the year.

The upshot of all this production is progress toward the ethanol quotas required by the new Renewable Fuels Standard, which mandates 15 billion gallons of ethanol be produced from corn in the US by 2015.

But check this out: the Renewable Fuels Association estimates that in 2015 it will take 1/3 of the total US corn harvest to meet those quotas. The estimation is based on producing 3 gallons of ethanol from one bushel of corn, and a total corn harvest of 15 billion bushels.

That’s a big increase in ethanol production: The US produced about 13 billion bushels of corn in 2007, but only produced about 6.4 billion gallons of ethanol. That means that a 16% increase in corn production will have to support a 234% increase in the amount of corn being turned into vehicle fuel.

If the food vs. fuel debate is hot now, just wait until 2015. What seems ludicrous about this situation is that we have better options going online already, like cellulosic ethanol and algae biofuel facilities. Let’s just hope they can start ramping up production before this really gets out of control.

Source: Green Car Congress (Apr. 6, 08) Report: US Ethanol Production up 37% in Q1

Related Posts:

World’s First Commercially Viable Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Online 2009

GMO Corn-Stover Eats Itself, Makes Ethanol Processing A Breeze

Which is Worse: Exporting $1 Billion Per Week or Growing Fuel?

Is Ethanol Production Fueling the Size of the Dead Zone?

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About the Author

In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.



  • Aron

    The waistlines of the USA could do with less of our food being made from corn. The problem isn’t that we won’t have enough corn to eat it’s that cropland used for other crops will be converted to corn to feed our desire for junk food *AND* our desire to drive and get it.

  • Aron

    The waistlines of the USA could do with less of our food being made from corn. The problem isn’t that we won’t have enough corn to eat it’s that cropland used for other crops will be converted to corn to feed our desire for junk food *AND* our desire to drive and get it.

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  • Uncle B

    Off the American back-side and into America’s gas-tanks! Great!

  • Uncle B

    Off the American back-side and into America’s gas-tanks! Great!

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  • Clean_Burning

    In a 2005 study addressing ethanol’s potential as a fuel alternative, David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agricultural sciences at Cornell University stated that, “Ethanol production in the United States does not benefit the nation’s energy security, its agriculture, the economy or the environment.”

    Natural gas is the practical bridge to sustainable energy because 98% of it is in North America RIGHT NOW. What’s more, according to the Natural Gas Supply Association, reserves point to at least a 60-year supply. As the cleanest burning fuel available, Natural Gas emits little to no particulate matter. However, large-scale production of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel requires a considerable amount of cropland, which leads to soil erosion on a massive scale.

  • Clean_Burning

    In a 2005 study addressing ethanol’s potential as a fuel alternative, David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agricultural sciences at Cornell University stated that, “Ethanol production in the United States does not benefit the nation’s energy security, its agriculture, the economy or the environment.”

    Natural gas is the practical bridge to sustainable energy because 98% of it is in North America RIGHT NOW. What’s more, according to the Natural Gas Supply Association, reserves point to at least a 60-year supply. As the cleanest burning fuel available, Natural Gas emits little to no particulate matter. However, large-scale production of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel requires a considerable amount of cropland, which leads to soil erosion on a massive scale.

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