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Publication Details

Title : Consumptive Water Use in the Production of Ethanol and Petroleum Gasoline
Publication Date : January 1, 2009
Revision Date : November 8, 2012
Authors : M. Wu, M. Mintz, M. Wang, S. Arora, Y. Chiu
Abstract : This report (updated in 2011 to include 2008 USDA FRIS irrigation survey results and 2008 crop production data, new ethanol yield, and co-product water allocation) examines the growing issue of water use in energy production by characterizing current consumptive water use in liquid fuel production. As used throughout this report, "consumptive water use" is the sum total of water input less water output that is recycled and reused for the process. The estimate applies to surface and groundwater sources for irrigation but does not include precipitation. Water requirements are evaluated for five fuel pathways: bioethanol from corn, ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks, gasoline from Canadian oil sands, Saudi Arabian crude, and U.S. conventional crude from onshore wells. Regional variations and historic trends are noted, as are opportunities to reduce water use.

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