Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Friday, May 11, 2012

Speaker: Market should dictate crops used to produce biofuels
By KEVIN ABOUREZK / Lincoln Journal Star
Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 8:00 am

A renowned bioenergy pioneer said Tuesday that production of corn-based ethanol doesn't result in as much net energy as production of other biofuels.

Jay Keasling, CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville, Calif., spoke as part of the Heuermann Lecture series at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"You get just barely more energy out of the ethanol than you put into making it," said Keasling, who grew up on his family's corn and soybean farm outside of the small Nebraska town of Harvard. "That's a problem right now, a problem we need to fix."

Nearly half of the energy used to produce corn goes to making nitrogen-based fertilizer. Energy also is used to haul the corn to biorefineries, turn it into ethanol and then distill the ethanol. And, Keasling said, using corn as a biofuel competes with using it as food.

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