Agricultural Economic Report No. (AER-721) 18 pp

July 1995

Estimating the Net Energy Balance of Corn Ethanol

Studies conducted since the late 1970's have estimated the net energy value of corn ethanol. However, variations in data and assumptions used among the studies have resulted in a wide range of estimates. This study identifies the factors causing this wide variation and develops a more consistent estimate. We conclude that the net energy value of corn ethanol has become positive in recent years due to technological advances in ethanol conversion and increased efficiency in farm production. We show that corn ethanol is energy efficient as indicated by an energy ratio of 1.24.

Keywords: ethanol, net energy balance, corn production, energy security

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