Ethanol production has a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline, and production can grow substantially without diverting corn from food and animal feed, according to a pair of new studies.
The first study, by an economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, assesses the life-cycle global warming and land-use impact of corn ethanol produced at a modern, natural-gas-fueled facility. It concludes that the global-warming impact of ethanol produced at such a plant is 40-percent lower than gasoline and documents "significant net energy benefits" compared to gasoline.
The second study, by the economic-research firm ProExporter Network, analyzes the technology revolution in agriculture that is estimated to nearly double corn production over the next two decades from an average of 155 bushels an acre today to 289 bushels.
The study says that even as demand increases for exports and livestock feed, there will be enough corn to increase ethanol production from last year's 7.1 billion gallons to 33 billion gallons by 2030.
The Illinois Corn Marketing Board paid for the studies.
Follow the links below for more details.
Illinois Corn Growers Association. "Modern Ethanol Industry Has Superior Environmental And Economic Profile Versus Gasoline." October 28, 2008. http://www.ilcorn.org/internal.php?q=vprofile&id=215&date=October%2028,%202008&banner=news 
Illinois Corn Marketing Board. "The Global Warming and Land Use Impact of Corn Ethanol Produced at the Illinois River Energy Center." October 28, 2008. http://www.ilcorn.org/internal.php?q=vprofile&id=213&date=&banner=resources 
Illinois Corn Marketing Board. "The Potential Role for Corn Ethanol in Meeting the Energy Needs of the United States in 2016-2030." October 28, 2008. http://www.ilcorn.org/internal.php?q=vprofile&id=211&date=&banner=resources 
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