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Ethanol: Literature Review - page 11 / 17





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inhalation exposure, which keep internal doses extremely low except in unusual situations, such as heavy exercise in the presence of concentrated vapors.

A report written by Sarah R. Armstrong concludes the following: It is highly unlikely that exposure to airborne ethanol associated with gasoline use could produce toxic effects. The reasons for this are (a) the tiny doses that might be received, which might not be observable in light of endogenous levels of ethanol in blood, (b) the body's rapid elimination of ethanol, and (c) the relatively large doses of ethanol and high blood levels of ethanol associated with toxic effects in people. No data in the scientific literature support the hypothesis that chronic exposure to non- irritating levels of ethanol in air could cause significant elevation of blood ethanol concentrations (unless exposed individuals are exercising at the time), or that a risk of cancer or birth defects would be created. A recent survey of the literature regarding the inhalation toxicity of ethanol by the Swedish Institute for Environmental Medicine reached similar conclusions, namely that "a high blood concentration of ethanol is needed for the development of adverse effects" and "ethanol at low air concentrations should not constitute a risk for the general population". (http://www.ethanolrfa.org/544 er 1999.html)

For further information on this topic visit Environmental Benefits of Ethanol at http://www.greenfuels.org/envirobenefits.html, Emission Impact of Ethanol at http://www.greenfuels.org/emissionsimpact.html, and Positive Findings Regarding Ethanol’s Environmental Benefits http://www.ethanolrfa.org/er052099.html.


Energy Value

Many have wondered whether ethanol makes sense, from an energy use perspective. In fact, each litre of ethanol contains at least 2-4 times as much energy as is required for inputs for crop production (fuel, machinery, fertilizers, etc.), and ethanol manufacture. Although petroleum-derived energy is used in the manufacture and transportation of inputs, this is more than offset by the solar energy captured through photosynthesis. This positive energy balance is predicted to improve, by up to 25%, as more energy efficient crop and ethanol production becomes common over the next decade. (http://www.greenfuels.org/ethafood.html)

When evaluating the energy value many areas need to be researches including Carbon Monoxide, Ozone, Octane Enhancement, Carbon Dioxide, and Aldehydes. These and other benefits can be found on the Canadian Greeenfuels web page at http://www.greenfuels.org/ethaenv2.html.

An example of the reductions that can be observed when using ethanol blends in your engine is the following (per vehicle mile) Current Corn and Ethanol Production Case for Corn-Based Ethanol Use of E10 (10% ethanol and 90% gasoline by volume) achieves:

  • 6% reduction in petroleum use,

  • 1% reduction in GHG emissions, and

  • 3% reduction in fossil energy use.

Use of E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline by volume) achieves:

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