Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Midwestern Ethanol Industrial Processes Use Much Less Water Than That Used In Western Plants

Date:
April 15, 2009
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
Ethanol production in Minnesota and Iowa uses far less water overall than similar processes in states where water is less plentiful, a new study shows. Iowa uses 6 gallons of water to make one gallon of ethanol -- California uses 2,100 gallons.

Ethanol production in Minnesota and Iowa uses far less water overall than similar processes in states where water is less plentiful, a new University of Minnesota study shows.

The study, which will be published in the April 15 edition of the journal Environmental Science and Technology, is the first to compare water use in corn-ethanol production on a state-by-state basis. The authors used agricultural and geologic data from 2006-2008 to develop a ratio showing how much irrigated water was used to grow and harvest the corn and to process it at ethanol plants.

Among the major ethanol-producing states, Iowa uses the least water, with about six gallons of water used for each gallon of ethanol. Minnesota, which in 2007 produced roughly a third as much ethanol as Iowa, uses about 19 gallons of water per ethanol gallon.

States where irrigation is needed to grow corn fared far worse than those where almost no corn is irrigated. California, which produces only a tiny fraction of the nation's ethanol but irrigates most of its corn, is the largest water consumer, at about 2,100 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol. South Dakota, with total production roughly equal to Minnesota's, uses about 96 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol.

Water usage could be an important factor in policy decisions about where ethanol plants are built. The study "highlights the need to strategically promote ethanol development in states with lower irrigation rates and less groundwater use," the authors say. All the states with high water usage ratios are classified by the federal government as likely to experience water shortages in coming years.

"Both energy security and water security are too important; improvement of one of them should not be made at the expense of another," said Sangwon Suh, an assistant professor in the university's department of bioproducts and biosystems engineering and the study's lead author. "Understanding the dependence of biofuel on water and its spatial disparity will be critical in implementing the biofuel policy in the United States."

The study was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy and by the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "Midwestern Ethanol Industrial Processes Use Much Less Water Than That Used In Western Plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090415075051.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2009, April 15). Midwestern Ethanol Industrial Processes Use Much Less Water Than That Used In Western Plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090415075051.htm
University of Minnesota. "Midwestern Ethanol Industrial Processes Use Much Less Water Than That Used In Western Plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090415075051.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Organic Fertilizer Helps Reforestation of Monarch Butterflies’ Winter Retreat

New Organic Fertilizer Helps Reforestation of Monarch Butterflies’ Winter Retreat

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Using an organic fertiliser, a conservationist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), leads an award-winning project to reforest the sanctuary of monarch butterflies. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins