WASHINGTON D.C. — The Institute for Energy Research released today a new study on the implications of producing ethanol from natural gas (EFNG), entitled “Should Ethanol Made from Natural Gas Be Added to the Federal Biofuel Mandate?” The study, conducted by Mr. Lindsay Leveen, a widely-recognized chemical engineer, analyzes the efficiency, economic, and ecological issues associated with EFNG. Leveen’s findings include:
- The production of EFNG offers no ecological, economic, or energy efficiency merits to substantiate expansion of federal biofuel mandates.
- Rather than reducing carbon dioxide emissions, as proponents of EFNG suggest, the process required to convert natural gas to ethanol will likely increase carbon emissions significantly.
- Fifty percent or more of the energy content of natural gas will be lost in the process of making EFNG, thus unnecessarily wasting a clean-burning hydrocarbon fuel source.
- If EFNG is deemed “renewable” and is able to meet the required CO2 reductions, it would only serve to expand and further entrench the Renewable Fuel Standards 2 (RFS2) mandate, a policy that requires consumers to use less efficient, more expensive fuel.
- Used in an identical vehicle, EFNG has carbon emissions that are at least 23 percent higher than the baseline for gasoline set in the RFS2, will approximately double the carbon emissions per mile traveled when compared with vehicles using compressed natural gas (CNG).
- EFNG is not a commercially viable product, as the estimated cost of EFNG is higher than the ethanol futures price has reached yet in 2013, thus requiring natural gas-based ethanol industries to receive long term government support in the form of additional mandates and regulations or monetary incentives and subsidies.
IER President Thomas Pyle released the following statement:
“Natural gas is a clean, abundant, and efficient energy source in and of itself. This effort to expand biofuel mandates to include ethanol from natural gas is a blatant misuse of our natural resources that will not only harm our economy but the environment as well. America’s natural gas boom will continue providing our nation with the affordable and reliable energy that it needs, unless senseless policies out of Washington squander the opportunity. Any effort to fix a federal market distortion by adding another market distortion is just a problem in search of a problem.”
To read the full study, click here.
About the Author
Lindsay Leveen is a chemical engineer who recently received a professional development award from the Northern California Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for his lifetime work in his field. With more than 30 years of experience, Leveen has worked for several major global chemical companies in both long term strategic planning and as a consultant.