Alternative Fuels: Ethanol. What is ethanol?. GM Commercial CH 3 CH 2 OH Ethanol is a clean-burning, high-octane fuel that is produced from renewable sources. At its most basic, ethanol is grain alcohol, produced from crops such as corn.
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Although CO2 is released during ethanol production and combustion, it is recaptured as a nutrient to the crops that are used in its production.
Unlike fossil fuel combustion, which unlocks carbon that has been stored for millions of years, use of ethanol results in comparatively lower increases to the carbon cycle.
Ethanol also degrades quickly in water and, therefore, poses a smaller risk to the environment than an oil or gasoline spill.
Research studies from a variety of sources have found ethanol to have a positive net energy balance. The most recent, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shows that ethanol provides an average net energy gain of at least 77%.
It takes less than 35,000 BTUs of energy to turn corn into ethanol, while the ethanol offers at least 77,000 BTUs of energy. Thus ethanol has a positive energy balance—meaning the ethanol yields more energy than it takes to produce it.Energy Balance
have begun programs to install
E85 pumps at more stations.