Argonne researchers quantify how farmers can reduce carbon emissions

July 23, 2020 |

In Illinois, Argonne researchers have quantified how to reduce emissions by farms changing their practices and adopting novel technologies. A recent study by researchers in the Energy Systems division at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory quantified how much farms might reduce emissions by changing their practices and adopting novel technologies.

The research focused on the corn belt of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Michigan, South Dakota and Wisconsin and showed how different farming practices affect feedstock CI. Sustainable farming professionals could implement lower CI practices, such as adopting conservation tillage, reducing nitrogen fertilizer use, and implementing cover crops, to reduce their carbon footprint, which could improve farm efficiency and help the environment.

The Argonne team’s research has historically focused on the CI of biofuels, which is determined via the life-cycle analysis technique to account for the energy/material uses and emissions as feedstock is produced and converted to fuel. The technique is used by California Air Resources Board’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program to calculate biofuel CI. Farms that reduce biofuel CI can generate LCFS credit, which has monetary value for biofuel producers and potentially for farmers supplying the lower carbon feedstocks. Biofuel producers can improve their overall CI score by rewarding feedstocks with lower CI, thereby further reducing the total CI of biofuels.

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Category: Research

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