Friday, March 21, 2008

Pimentel Pumps Up Ethanol

Monarch butterfly David PimentelDavid Pimentel, a Professor of Insect Ecology at Cornell and a long time critic of ethanol, appears to have finally admitted that ethanol has a positive return of fossil fuel investment.

In a widely published commentary this week, Pimentel brought out his tired and dated laundry list of reasons why he thinks ethanol will never work. His usual argument is that it takes more energy to make ethanol than it produces.

But surprisingly, in this new piece he came to a new conclusion.

As first noted by Nathanael Greene at the NRDC, his latest diatribe contained this gem:

"Cornell University's up-to-date analysis of the 14 energy inputs that go into corn production, plus the nine energy inputs invested in ethanol fermentation and distillation, confirms that more than 40 percent of the energy contained in one gallon of corn ethanol is expended to produce it."

As Nathanael rightly points out: That implies that the return on fossil fuel investment is about 2.5 (100%/40%).

Pimentel's usual out-of-date data, flawed analysis and politically-driven conclusions have been soundly debunked and are widely dismissed.

But we're certainly interested to see how this new admission plays out with his anti-ethanol friends.

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