Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Quick facts: biodiesel vs. ethanol

41%  Total percentage energy gain (how much more total energy is produced than the total amount invested) for corn-distilled ethanol.

93%  Total percentage energy gain for soybean-derived biodiesel.

12%  Percentage fewer greenhouse gas emissions for corn-distilled ethanol, compared with fossil fuels.

41%  Percentage fewer greenhouse gas emissions for soybean-derived biodiesel, compared with fossil fuels.

Note that these figures compare normal ethanol with biodiesel. I'd like to see how cellulosic ethanol stacks up. It has the advantage of not competing with food sources, and may have greater overall environmental benefits.

Source: Scientific American, September 2006. Just got this (excellent) issue in the mail; it's not yet available online.



Galli Galli Sim Sim said...

Nice, clear stats. Alternative energy technologies are a complex topic made more complex by lobbyists and pork barrel politics. We all need to learn more.

Jonathan said...

I agree. I'm really enjoying the latest issue of Scientific American. The cover story is "Energy's Future Beyond Carbon" and does a great job of breaking alternative energy concepts down -- and laying out realistic plans for how we can comprehensively reduce carbon emissions.

CyberCelt said...

If you want more information on biodiesel (and other alternative energy), please visit my website:

Jonathan said...

I checked it out, Cyber Celt -- it's a great reference, thanks!