How much water is in that ethanol?
April 21, 2009

A study by researchers at the University of Minnesota concludes that the amount of water required to produce a single liter of ethanol varies by a factor of 400 times from one part of the country to another. Because Iowa and Ohio require virtually no irrigation to raise corn, a liter of ethanol from either state requires only five or six liters of water in the production process and irrigation combined. A liter of ethanol produced in California, by contrast, requires 400 times as much water -- 2138 liters of water after irrigation and production use for every liter of ethanol delivered. Ethanol production is very important in Iowa and Nebraska alike; Iowa produces twice as much ethanol as any other state, and Nebraska is also a major producer. But the difference in irrigation practices between the two states means that the average liter of Nebraska ethanol requires almost nine times as much water as the comparable liter of ethanol from Iowa.

April 2009
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30

last revised April 2009