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Abstract

Studies conducted since the late 1970s have estimated the net energy value (NEV) of corn ethanol. However, variations in data and assumptions used among the studies have resulted in a wide range of estimates. This study identifies the factors causing this wide variation and develops a more consistent estimate. We conclude that the NEV of corn ethanol has been rising over time due to technological advances in ethanol conversion and increased efficiency in farm production. We show that corn ethanol is energy efficient as indicated by an energy output:input ratio of 1.34.

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