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Corn Ethanol Consuming Three Times More Water Than We Thought


cornethanolMore and more research studies show the fact that biofuels, ethanol, and other zero-carbon burning fuels do more damage than they do good in the long run. According to a recent study, it looks like ethanol, the petrol companies’ saving field, consumes up to three times more water than it was previously thought, as MIT’s Technology Review states.

Other environmental hazards, such as fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, soil erosion, greenhouse gas emissions from production, make corn delicious for humans, but bad for the environment, if put into the lion’s mouth to drive our cars. There was once a joke (or not) about how people in developing countries don’t have enough food to feed their children, but they talk at their cell phones and drive expensive (probably stolen) cars. I find it very similar to this situation.

The new study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, also found that as corn-based ethanol production has approximately doubled nationwide between 2005 and 2008, related water use has more than tripled.

“Ethanol consumes more water over time as corn production extends to regions that need extensive irrigation,” says Sangwon Suh, an assistant professor of biosystems engineering at the University of Minnesota and coauthor of the study. “That means more water is needed to produce a given unit of ethanol over time.”

So, having these facts presented, why should some follow the same old route towards something that’s going to disappear anyway? Why don’t we all focus on more renewable resources, that don’t affect our food chain, or at least don’t emit CO2 at the pipe or at the factory. And, just like a critic reader was saying yesterday here on this blog, we should focus not on sources to get more energy from, but to make what we have more clean and efficient than ever.

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  1. I don’t doubt that we are still in for many years of debate on the benefits and drawbacks of Alternative Fuels. The most important issue however, has to be conserving the world we live in. We know that the daily use of conventional fuel is contributing to destroying our planet and I’m sure that everyone would gladly consider an alternative to that.


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