Ethanol Production: Energy and Economic Issues Related to U.S. and Brazilian Sugarcane

  • David Pimentel
  • Tad W. Patzek


This analysis employs the most recent scientific data for the U.S. and for Brazil sugarcane production and the fermentation/distillation. These two countries were selected because they are the two largest countries in the world producing ethanol. All current fossil energy inputs used in the entire process of producing ethanol from sugarcane were included to determine the entire energy cost for ethanol production. Additional costs to consumers, including federal and state subsidies, plus costs of environmental pollution and/or degradation associated with the entire production system are discussed. The economic and the broad human food supply issues are evaluated. In addition, other studies are compared.


Converting biomass energy costs environmental costs subsidization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Pimentel
    • 1
  • Tad W. Patzek
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Agriculture and Life SciencesCornell UniversityIthaca
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeley

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