Ethanol produces feed and fuel while lowering the price of gasoline
Feb 07, 2012, 16:46 ET
Facts about Ethanol
TORONTO, Feb. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - A report, paid for by the beef and hog producers of Canada and written by an organization that goes by the name of George Morris Centre, misrepresents the facts. The author, who works for the Centre, wrote a report saying that the corn demand for ethanol production is driving up the cost of animal feed. According to Ken Field, a member of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA) Board, the huge increase in corn production has prevented a negative impact on the livestock industry and feed prices.
The North American corn crop has almost doubled because farmers plant more prolific seeds for industrial corn and have improved agricultural practices. The increase in corn crop yields over the past several years is roughly equal to the annual demand for corn by the ethanol industry. Further, ethanol production uses only the starch from the corn kernel, returning all the healthy protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins back into the feed market as Dried Distillers Grains (DDGs). "With more than a million tons of DDGs produced in Canada every year, our industry produces both animal feed and fuel," said Field.
The CRFA's findings were corroborated in a major independent study on ethanol published last November by the Conference Board of Canada. This study found that the rapid increase in North American ethanol production since 2004 has been met through surplus and higher yields of corn. It shows there is no evidence of land use changes in Canada or the U.S. due to ethanol production, and that the main cause of higher agricultural prices is the rising cost of crude oil.
"Without the ethanol industry, there would be a huge glut in the Canadian corn market," said Tim Haig, Acting President, CRFA. "Considering that about 70 per cent of Canada's corn crop is grown in Ontario, 28,000 Ontario grain farmers would suffer a significant drop in their income. Instead, the ethanol industry has been an economic boon to the agricultural sector by providing a robust and steady market for rural communities across the country." Haig added
In addition to these benefits for farmers, ethanol has a huge environmental payoff. According to both Canada's Ministry of Natural Resources and the United States Department of Energy, using ethanol as an automobile fuel produces 62 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline. As well, ethanol reduces every type of tailpipe emission, including NOx and SOx, and is an important factor in reducing smog over large cities.
A lesser known fact is that the smaller, lighter car engines with high horsepower coming onto the market today require a higher-level octane gasoline. The traditional way to increase octane is to boost the level of aromatics in the fuel, specifically benzene, toluene and xylene. All three of these compounds are carcinogenic. The alternative method of increasing octane is to add ethanol, which has an octane of 114 and delivers plenty of extra power. That's why Indy and NASCAR racers use ethanol.
Connecting the dots, when these lighter and stronger engines consume gasoline with ethanol, they not only consume less gasoline, they burn a less toxic, renewable fuel.
The use of domestically grown ethanol as a fuel source also reduces Canada's dependency on foreign energy imports, curtailing demand for foreign-sourced gasoline in Ontario by almost 10 per cent, and nationwide by 5 per cent.
The North American ethanol industry produces over 50 billion litres of ethanol each year, and when added to the gasoline pool, lowers the price of gasoline at the pump by about 10 cents a litre. An important benefit in an era of rising prices at the pump.
"Canada's governments and governments around the world support ethanol because it is clear that ethanol is good for the environment, for Canadian farmers and consumers, and for the economy. These governments know the facts." concludes Field.
About Canadian Renewable Fuels Association
Founded in 1984, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA) is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the use of renewable fuels for transportation through consumer awareness and government liaison activities. www.greenfuels.org
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