Ethanol production: Energy and economic issues related to U.S. and Brazilian sugarcane

David Pimentel*, Tad W. Patzek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

38 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiofuels, Solar and Wind as Renewable Energy Systems
Subtitle of host publicationBenefits and Risks
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781402086533
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Converting biomass
  • energy costs
  • environmental costs
  • subsidization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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