Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Car of the Future Open Content Car of the Future Open Content Watch the Program Online

interview > lynd > clip: lynd 16

Lynd 16 (1:36)
Topic(s): Biofuels
User Comments

Lynd

© WGBH Educational Foundation

Please watch the clip first. If you plan to use it, review the Rules of Use, then click on the download button.

WatchDownload

This clip is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Creative Commons license: BY-NC

Video Transcript

There's this notion that it takes more fossil fuel energy to put into making ethanol than you end up using, and therefore, why this may line some people's pockets, the argument often goes: how beneficial can it really be to providing a large-scale energy source, if it takes more than it yields? As currently practiced, almost all evaluations of corn ethanol show that it is somewhat— has a somewhat favorable energy balance. That is, you get on the order of, for one part of liquid fuel produced, you would put in some, depending on who does the calculation, maybe 3/4 of a part of liquid fuel in. And that is a pretty marginal benefit, especially because you need a great deal of land if you only have a 25 percent net return.

For cellulose, or cellulosic biomass, that ratio is more like 10:1 of energy out to energy in. And in fact, for petroleum refining today, it's about 7:1 and that's a pretty mature industry. And so if you get 10 energy units out for every energy unit in, that's a pretty good deal. And, you know, it's funny how the perception of uncertainty or disagreement persists, but in my opinion, there simply is no informed disagreement on the subject of the net energy balance of cellulosic ethanol being profoundly favorable.

SEARCH CLIPS

BROWSE CLIPS BY

Topic | Interview | Scene

Car of the Future Home | Send Feedback | Image Credits | Support NOVA

© | Created April 2008


Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site