More Info on Ethanol and Biofuels, Courtesy of St. Olaf

There’s a fascinating article in Biodiesel Magazine which summarizes a recently published study by researchers at St. Olaf College and the University of MN. The joint study, “The Environmental, Economic and Energetic Costs and Benefits of Biodiesel and Ethanol Biofuels” has many interesting components, including addressing details of the net-energy argument I’ve mentioned in previous posts.

The thesis of the study: “To be a viable substitute for a fossil fuel, an alternative fuel should not only have superior environmental benefits over the fossil fuel it displaces, be economically competitive with it and be producible to make a meaningful impact on energy demands, but it should also provide a net energy gain over the energy sources used to produce it.”

The study concludes that biodiesel is superior to corn-based ethanol according to most criteria, stating that ethanol provides 25% more energy a gallon than is required for its production, while soybean based biodiesel generates 93% more energy. The production and consumption of biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 41% compared to fossil fuels, while ethanol reduces emissions by 12%. The production of biodiesel is also much less likely to compromise food production.

The abstract of the study can be seen here.


  1. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Jason Hill was among about a dozen presenters at the ethanol information meeting put on by Bridgewater Township at Little Prairie Church on Dec. 4, which drew about 200 people from the area.

    Bridgewater Township has been studying the prospect of taking on township planning and zoning for about 6 months. They will vote on Dec. 11 (see David Kamis short letter to editor in Wed. Nov. 29 NNews). It takes 2 votes to pass and right now only Leif Knecht has said he will vote “yes.” If it does pass, the board and committees will start work on an ordinance which may or may not include heavy industry on this scale in our township of about 2000 residents. The township is six miles square, bordering on Dundas and Northfield.

    Stephanie Henriksen

    November 30, 2006
  2. […] Presentation: The Basics of Biofuels, January 18th, 7 p.m. By Tracy Davis Following up on my Nov. 27 post regarding ethanol and biofuels, it appears we now have a chance to hear directly from the authors of the joint St. Olaf/U of M study, “The Environmental, Economic and Energetic Costs and Benefits of Biodiesel and Ethanol Biofuels.” […]

    January 7, 2007
  3. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Still searching for more recent comments on ethanol topic on this blog. For anyone who may see this, the Bridgewater Township public hearing on our proposed comp plan is Wednesday night, May 16, 7 pm at our township hall in Dundas.

    May 14, 2007

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