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January 16, 2008

University of Minnesota study finds turning leftover biomass into fuel boosts overall ethanol efficiency

ST. PAUL, MINN.

A University of Minnesota study has found that turning the leftover biomass from ethanol production into fuel reduces fossil-fuel use by two-thirds and, if corncobs were used as a fuel source for production, it could eliminate altogether the need to use fossil to produce ethanol.

This change would double ethanol’s energy ratio and cut ethanol greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent.

The study said financial payback depends on natural gas prices. An ethanol plant that uses biomass would have steadier economic returns and be more likely to remain viable during difficult economic periods.

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