The net energy value of biodiesel and ethanol is very hotly debated. There are many net energy studies of biofuels, particularly ethanol, which give a wide range of values. The main problem is that net energy studies are easily influenced by biases. The researcher must choose the energy inputs and outputs and the values to assign to these various inputs and outputs. There is no clear standard. However, in a survey of a large sampling of ethanol studies, the authors found that the average of all these studies taken together showed a net energy loss of 8%. Throwing out the three highest and three lowest outliers cut this loss to 2%.1
In this report, while we will discuss the net energy profile of various biofuels, we will also bring up several other criticisms of biofuels and the biofuel industry that are not so controversial, nor so open to debate.