But hey, what a few million gallons of water per day? I mean, we're going to save the planet if it kills us, right?
City officials in Champaign and Urbana took notice when they heard that an ethanol plant proposed nearby would use about 2 million gallons of water per day, most likely from the aquifer that also supplies both cities. "There was concern about impacting a pretty valuable resource," said Matt Wempe, a city planner for Urbana. "It should raise red flags." It would take about 300 million gallons of water for processing the product and cooling equipment to make 100 million gallons of ethanol each year, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.
The demand for water by the two dozen operating ethanol plants in Iowa has not damaged water sources or supplies, said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. Improving technology means new plants use as much as 80 percent less water than plants built just five years ago, and most plants recycle their water so it has more than one use, he said.
Still, the draw on Midwest water supplies is a concern. The possibility of a new ethanol plant is one reason the city of Aberdeen, S.D., decided to seek new water sources, perhaps from deeper wells, Mayor Mike Levsen said. "We felt that for the current demand we had plenty of water to supply them, but that would begin to run us up to our limit," he said.
19 June 2006
Cool, Refreshing, Thirst Quenching Ethanol
Ethanol is magic! Not only does it take more energy to produce than it yields, and delivers worse miles-per-gallon than gasoline, it also pisses away millions of gallons of water from aquifers. Why, we can't get behind this subsidized bliss fast enough.