E³ and the Environment
The energy industry has not always been the most environmentally friendly sector of business. E3 BioFuels is committed to changing that with our ethanol process by:
- Eliminating the number one source of water pollution in the U.S.—run-off from livestock manure
- Creating a product that produces far less air pollution when used in cars than gasoline and diesel fuels
- Pursuing "carbon-neutral" energy sources that won't introduce new greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere that cause global warming
96 percent of the cattle in the U.S. live on vast feedlots that concentrate their numbers—and their waste. These cows produce manure in great amounts. It's no surprise that the top source of water pollution in the United States is run-off from such Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
The E3 BioFuels closed-loop technology eliminates run-off from its feedlot operations. On top of that, ethanol serves to reduce water pollution in another way. It replaces MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether), a common gasoline additive meant to reduce smog, that was recently found to cause soil and groundwater contamination. As a a result, MTBE bans have been passed in at least 25 states.
Following the Energy Policy Act of 2005, most major refiners announced their intention to discontinue use of MTBE, opening the way to greater use of ethanol, which serves as a clean, non-carcinogenic, and biodegradable replacement.
Blending ethanol into the gasoline we use in our cars and trucks reduces gasoline's most toxic and harmful emissions, fine particulates and benzene, which can directly impair breathing. It lowers carbon monoxide emissions, helping reduce ozone smog.
Blended in low percentages, ethanol can increase the evaporation rate of gasoline, but this effect is offset when refiners are given the flexibility to blend it in the winter, when smog is not a problem. "High-blend" ethanol such as E-85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline), reduces the evaporation of Volatile Organic Compounds as well, and minimizes nitrogen oxide, another smog ingredient.
"Rapid transition to high blends will unlock ethanol's potential" to reduce air pollution, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. There are over 5 million "Flexible Fuel Vehicles" that can burn E-85 on American roads today. The remaining 212 million gasoline cars and trucks can be upgraded over time.
Global warming pollution
Welcome to the closed-loop revolution.
— Farm Futures, December 2006
Replacing gasoline with ethanol helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. That's because burning gasoline releases carbon dioxide trapped millions of years ago in oil deposits. Burning ethanol releases carbon dioxide recaptured from the atmosphere just last growing season.
E10, a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline, reduces greenhouse gases from cars by one percent, according to a 1999 study. E85, an 85-percent ethanol blend already in use by the growing number of flexible fuel vehicles, reduces greenhouse gasses by 14 to 19 percent. E95 could reduce greenhouse gasses by 19 to 25 percent.
These kinds of emissions savings can be a real bonus in states like California, where new legislation calls for limits on greenhouse gasses. And even in other states, reducing greenhouse gasses will help to combat global warming.
The use of ethanol blends in cars helps to reduce global warming pollution, but the E3 BioFuels system offers something more.
Corn, like all plants, absorbs greenhouse gasses as it grows. When ethanol is burned, it releases greenhouse gasses in amounts similar to those absorbed from the atmosphere by the corn while growing. This zero-sum balance is considered "carbon neutral."
Most ethanol plants burn fossil fuels in order to create ethanol. The greenhouse gasses released pollute the atmosphere, making ethanol produced in this way a net polluter (although less so than gasoline).
E3 BioFuels' patented closed-loop process uses biogas made from cow manure and corn cellulose to power our facilities. That makes our ethanol production process carbon-neutral. That is, making ethanol our way does not contribute significantly to global warming.
That's even before the benefits of replacing gasoline in your car.