Ethanol is a fuel which is created from biodegradable products. The global leader in ethanol production is the United States, who uses corn products to create this fuel. Sugarcane is used in other markets to create it as well.
Here are some of the pros and cons of ethanol use to consider.
List of the Pros of Ethanol
1. It improves the energy balance in our economies.
By reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are consumed in our transportation networks, we’re able to provide a greater balance of energy to meet our overall needs. Some countries use fuels which contain up to 27% ethanol in all their vehicles. E-85 fuels (85% ethanol) are becoming regularly available too.
2. It reduces carbon emissions.
Ethanol can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 29% at the current formulation levels in the United States (15% or less). Even a small addition of ethanol to the fuel supply can cut over 15% of the emissions that are produced when non-ethanol fuel is used.
3. It can be created from non-food stocks.
Any type of corn, sugarcane, or similar agricultural product can be used to produce ethanol. Instead of robbing food resources from the market to create this fuel, it is possible to grow new ones to support a stronger economy.
List of the Cons of Ethanol
1. It requires more fuel to create results.
Some vehicles receive up to 30% fewer miles per gallon when using ethanol fuels compared to traditional fuels. That inefficiency causes consumers to pay more in fuel costs to meet their needs over the course of a year.
2. It is more difficult to transport.
When compared to traditional fuels that are sent from a refinery, the acidity level of ethanol is much higher. This causes it to corrode the shipping pipes and storage tanks that are used to deliver this fuel to the market. Existing infrastructures cannot be used, which means new products must be built to support this fuel.
3. It offers cropland questions.
If croplands are being used to grow agricultural products for fuel, they could also be used to grow food products. Is it ethical to grow cash crops instead of food crops?
These ethanol pros and cons are the beginning of a conversation. Is it beneficial to use this fuel? Are there other alternatives that could be used?