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View Diary: Welcome to the Wonderful World Of Commodity Inflation (175 comments)

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  •  The Water makes it worse (2+ / 0-)
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    sravaka, strobusguy

    It takes 3 to 6 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol at the ethanol plant, which is a big deal because that comes out of either stressed aquifers or stressed surface sources (rivers).

    Add to that the water required to grow the corn, which in the east is not such a big deal - that's rain - but west of the 100th meridian it's a very big deal because irrigation is about the only way to grow thirsty corn in the dry great plains or intermountain west.

    While the amount of water required varies by variety and weather, a rough calculation can be made
    as follows: Nebraska corn (as an example) requires 21 to 28 inches of water during the growing
    season. One acre foot = 325,851 gallons. An acre-foot is the amount of water that would cover an
    acre one foot deep. Assume corn needs 24 inches of water or two acre feet, which is 651,702
    gallons. The high side of corn yield in the US averages 145 bushels per acre.
    So the water requirement for corn is about 4,500 gallons per bushel. Ethanol production is 2.5
    gallons per bushel, which translates into 1.67 gasoline-gallon equivalent. Therefore, to grow the corn
    necessary to produce one gasoline-gallon-equivalent of ethanol requires about 2,700 gallons of
    water.
    -Source: Natural Gas Vehicles for America
    .Natural Gas Vehicles for America Fact Sheet

    Granted NGV for A is not exactly an impartial source, but even if they are off by 50 percent, the issue remains.

    As much as I hate to say it, as a good midwesterner with farming in-laws, but using corn for fuel just doesn't make any sense in the long term

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