Aquatic cost of bioethanol

Production of bioethanol as an alternative to fossil fuels could have a much greater detrimental impact on the environment than previously thought, according to a new study from Sangwon Suh and colleagues in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, at the University of Minnesota. Writing in Environmental Science & Technology, the team explain how bioethanol production may consume up to three times more water than earlier estimates suggested. Previous studies estimated that a gallon of corn-based bioethanol used between 263 and 784 gallons of water from farm to fuel pump. Suh's team determined that these estimates do not take into account the significant variation in regional irrigation practices.