Ethanol As An Environmentally Friendly Fuel Essay

1910 WordsDec 16, 20168 Pages
The United States is the world’s largest producer of ethanol fuel, producing over 60% of the world’s ethanol in 2011, which correlates to the creation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2005. The RFS originated with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was expanded and extended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The RFS requires renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuel more so every year until it is set to reach 36 billion gallons in 2022 (Renewable). The purpose of this has widely been seen as an effort to combat environmental damage such as climate change and oil spills in addition to being a political move to be independent in creating our means of energy production. Currently, ethanol is societally regarded as an environmentally friendly fuel, being that it is produced from plant material through a series of chemical reactions. One of the most controversial issues relating to ethanol is the "net energy" of ethanol production. In sum, more energy is used to grow and process raw material into ethanol than is can be released by the ethanol itself. The agricultural practices that are necessary to produce the biomaterials that are converted to ethanol include planting, fertilization, tilling, watering, and harvesting, while processing the biomaterials involve transportation, fermentation, and distillation (Energy). While these processes require more energy than is able to be harvested from the resulted ethanol, and thus ethanol fuel is
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