Over the last couple of decades, fossil fuels are being replaces by renewable energy sources. One of these renewable energy sources is ethanol. Ethanol is also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol, a clear, colorless liquid. It can be created through the fermentation of starch or sugars, mainly grain crops such as corn, sugar cane, and wheat, which are all renewable sources (U.S. Department of Energy, 2011). Some think that ethanol uses more energy than it produces, and that there will be a shortage of corn causing the cost of food crops to skyrocket. Others think that ethanol will improve our agriculture, economy, and our environment. By increasing energy stability, creating more jobs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving cost-effective production, and several more benefits. In the end, ethanol is an efficient fuel that will provide power to the United States. Ethanol is the best fuel for the future.
Ethanol has numerous advantages that increase its potential as an alternative fuel for the future. Ethanol benefits agriculture by the demand for grain crops, which increases crop value and will help stabilize crop prices (U.S Department of Energy, 2011). This demand is created by the ethanol industry. If the market for ethanol did not exist, corn stocks would rise and net income to American corn farmers would be reduced by $6 billion over the next five years, or about 11 percent (Nebraska Ethanol Board, 2011, p. 8.1). Farming is huge for ethanol because one acre of corn can produce 300 gallons of ethanol (Nebraska Ethanol Board, 2011, p.8.1). This is enough to fuel four cars for one year using a 10 percent ethanol blend (Nebraska Ethanol Board, 2011, p. 8.1).
Second, ethanol improves the economy because it gives jobs to Americans where ethanol plants are opened. It offers more than 40000 jobs, creating more than $1.3 billion in increased household income annually and adding more than $6 billion to the American economy each year (Nebraska Ethanol Board, 2011, p. 8.1). Ethanol also gives enormous potential for economic growth in small rural communities. Ethanol can lower imports by replacing imported gasoline and crude oil. By lowing gasoline and crude oil imports, it lowers the American dependence on foreign oil. Third, ethanol is positive for the environment. Ethanol reduces carbon monoxide more than 25 percent (U.S Department of Energy, 2011). It reduces ozone pollution too, because ethanol is high in oxygen context. Ethanol is biodegradable, if it spills it is less harmful than petroleum to the surface and ground water. (U.S Department of Energy, 2011) Since ethanol is produced from renewable agricultural feed stock, ethanol also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Ethanol has some disadvantages. There is a scare that ethanol is causing a shortage of food. A shortage of food and meat causes food prices to rise. Since ethanol uses the nation's corn crop to make fuel, it might leave less corn for people or livestock. As the ethanol industry has grown, a larger and larger amount of the U.S. corn has gone to feed the ethanol mills (Johnson, 2007). When all the ethanol plants are completed, the ethanol capacity will reach an estimated 11.4 billion gallons per year by the end of 2008, requiring 35% of the total U.S. corn crop even with a good harvest (Johnson, 2007). The second negative is if the crop has spoiled in the ground. According to Biello (2011), earlier this year Range Fuels closed its newly built bio refinery without selling a drop of ethanol because the crops went bad.
Third, ethanol still gives off some greenhouse-gas. Fossil fuels are used to produce some tractors in the field, trucks on the road, and nitrogen-based fertilizer born of natural gas. Some say that ethanol actually uses more energy than it returns. Only one study that arrived proved that ethanol uses more gas then it returns by using obsolete data (Lavelle & Schulte, 2007).
After learning both the positives and negative of ethanol, I think that ethanol is the best fuel for the future. The advantages of ethanol out weigh the disadvantages. Ethanol will improve the United States agriculture, economy, and environment, in several positive ways. I agree with the article, Ethanol- Blended Fuels, that ethanol will increases crop value and help stabilize crop prices. This will give farmers more money that will help stimulate the economy. Ethanol is also great because it creates more jobs for Americans when ethanol plants are opened. It also gives enormous potential for economic growth in the small towns and rural communities.
I think that ethanol will help lower the United States dependence on foreign oil. By lowering the dependence of foreign oil, we will be better able to control oil and gasoline prices better. Oil and gasoline also let off a lot of emissions into the atmosphere. By using ethanol we can lower theses admissions. Corn extracts carbon monoxide from the environment when it grows. The more corn we produce the more carbon monoxide will be taken from the atmosphere. Along with more carbon monoxide being removed from the atmosphere, the burning of ethanol also produces 25% less emissions. So overall there will be less admissions being produced. I feel like this is just one of the ways we can become a more green society.
Ethanol is the best fuel for the future. Ethanol will help the United States agriculture, economy, and environment. By producing and using more ethanol the world will become a greener place. Today people are struggling to find jobs, but with more ethanol plants and production there will be thousand of new jobs available. In all there are so many advantages to ethanol. Why not start now?
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