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OAK RIDGE STUDY REVEALS INCREASED ETHANOL ENERGY EFFICIENCY; ETHANOL GENERATES 20 PERCENT MORE ENERGY THAN ITS PRODUCTION REQUIRES

     OAK RIDGE STUDY REVEALS INCREASED ETHANOL ENERGY EFFICIENCY;  ETHANOL GENERATES 20 PERCENT MORE ENERGY THAN ITS PRODUCTION REQUIRES
    ST. LOUIS, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- A new scientific study by an independent research laboratory reveals that fuel ethanol, which is refined from fermented corn, generates at least 20 percent more usable energy than its production requires and that ethanol production costs will continue to decrease over the next three years, reducing reliance on traditional fuel resources, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced today.
    The study, completed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory of Oak Ridge, Tenn., asserts that corn-based ethanol is a "low-cost pathway for deriving liquid fuel" and that "the entire energy cycle from corn production to combustion in the gas tank is extremely energy positive."
    "The Oak Ridge study provides additional proof that corn-based ethanol maximizes energy efficiency and can satisfy our nation's need for reliable fuel alternatives," said Mike Bryan, NCGA ethanol program manager.
    According to the study, about 56,000 BTUs are required to produce one gallon of fuel ethanol.  However, one gallon of ethanol produces at least 76,000 BTUs, resulting in a 20 percent net increase of usable energy, Bryan noted.
    Oak Ridge researchers analyzed the total energy used to grow and harvest corn, transport feedstock and process fuel ethanol by the coal- fired cogeneration methods typically in use today.
    The study noted that efforts to reduce the energy required to refine fuel ethanol are continuing in the industry and processing costs will be "substantially" reduced in the next three to five years because of: Improved corn fermentation processes; Improved ethanol processing yields; Greater economies of scale achieved through ethanol plant upgrades and expansions; Increasing use of low-cost materials in the ethanol cogeneration process, including used tires and garbage, rather than coal.
    "NCGA is very enthusiastic about the Oak Ridge study," said Bill Northey, chairman of the NCGA ethanol subcommittee and corn farmer from Spirit Lake, Iowa.  "It's good news for corn growers and ethanol producers who rely on corn feedstocks.  We believe the study will have a positive impact industry wide and, ultimately, on consumers who utilize ethanol blended fuels to reduce air pollution and improve vehicle performance."
    Ethanol, which has a high oxygen content, is blended with gasoline in 10 percent quantities to reduce emissions of carbon monoxide and other pollutants and to boost octane.  It currently is blended in about 8 percent of motor vehicle fuels sold in the U.S.
    Fuel ethanol demand is expected to increase dramatically when the nation's Clean Air Act standards take effect in November, 1992, requiring 39 U.S. cities with high carbon monoxide levels to maintain 2.7 percent oxygen content in all gasoline sold for at least four months a year.
    Since ethanol is the most cost-efficient method of adding oxygen to gasoline, ethanol demand may reach two billion gallons by 1995, up from 940 million gallons in 1990.  "Corn for annual ethanol production may jump to 1.25 billion bushels by the year 2000, up from 400 million bushels today," Northey said.
    "Ethanol has been endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and many other entities as a reliable, environmentally friendly and domestically available fuel resource," he added.  "The Oak Ridge study will help advance awareness of corn-based ethanol's advantages and productive energy efficiencies."
    NCGA, based in St. Louis has more than 26,000 members in 45 states and 23 affiliated state corn grower associations.  NCGA is a catalyst in developing new industrial markets for corn.
    -0-       12/17/91
    /CONTACT:  Mike Bryan or Debbie Rudin of National Corn Growers Association, 314-275-9915/ CO:  National Corn Growers Association ST:  Missouri, Tennessee IN:  FOD SU: SH -- NY067 -- 3034 12/17/91 14:44 EST
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Date:Dec 17, 1991
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