Hey Happy, David Pemintal is a pimp for big oil. His credibility on this issue sucks.
A dry grind ethanol plant that produces and sells dry distiller’s grains and uses conventional fossil fuel power for thermal energy and electricity produces nearly two times more energy in the form of ethanol delivered to customers than it uses for corn, processing, and transportation. The ratio is about 2.3 BTU of ethanol for 1 BTU of energy in inputs, when a more generous means of removing byproduct energy is employed.
Some dry mills are already using up to 50 percent biomass power. The energy output for these plants is near 2.8 times energy inputs, even using the conservative byproduct allowance. As processors master the logistics of handling bulky biomass, the energy balance ratio could reach 26 BTUs of ethanol per BTU of inputs used.
Overall then, ethanol has made the transition from an energy sink, to a moderate net energy gain in the 1990s, to a substantial net energy gain in the present. And there are still prospects for improvement.