The real biofuel cycles

Jul 2006

This paper analyzes energy efficiency of the industrial corn-ethanol cycle and brackets energy efficiency of the switchgrass-cellulosic ethanol cycle. In particular, it critically reviews the Report by Farrell et al., Ethanol Can Contribute to Energy and Environmental Goals.
Farrell et al. should be commended for attempting to bring together the different studies in the area of biofuel production. They acknowledge that environmental effects of large-scale of biofuel production are poorly understood and need to be studied, and they indicate that large-scale use of ethanol will require lignocellulosic conversion.

By: T. W. Patzek (University of California)

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