Journal Gazette | 10/09/2005 | Growing more fuel: "Detractors of ethanol have argued that it is an inefficient energy source. A study by Cornell University Professor David Pimentel reports that ethanol takes 30 percent more energy to produce than it creates. But Michael Ladisch, Ph.D., director of the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering at the Energy Center, says, 'The numbers Pimentel is using are based on earlier technology.'
According to Ladisch, it takes 20 percent more energy to process petroleum into gasoline. 'When we transform one form of energy into another, it always takes more energy," Ladisch says. 'The question is how much more. The efficiency of processing corn into ethanol has dramatically increased over the last 20 years, and the bottom line is converting corn into ethanol produces more energy. That has been proven by the USDA.' A USDA study states ethanol produces 34 percent more energy than it takes to grow, harvest and distill the corn.
'You can't get more than you pay for,' says Ladisch. "But renewables put you pretty darn close."