New research shows corn ethanol GHG emissions 46% lower than gasoline

January 26, 2021 |

In Massachusetts, research from Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&E) shows that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for ethanol, a biofuel made from corn, are 46% lower than gasoline. Conventional wisdom based on a prior analysis done by EPA had pegged the difference to only 20%. EH&E’s topical review of the latest science shows that this renewable biofuel is less carbon intensive and more climate-favorable than previously thought.

The research delivers a transparent, state-of-the-science assessment on life cycle analyses of corn starch ethanol in the U.S. EH&E researchers reached their conclusions after critically reviewing earlier life cycle analysis modeling and data, and consulting with more than two dozen experts from government, academia, and nonprofits. Their findings uncovered significant reductions in carbon intensity made possible by advances in farming technology, soil conservation practices, and production of animal feed as a by-product of making ethanol.

EH&E’s assessment also shows that carbon emissions from converting prior land uses to corn farming make up only 3.9% of the biofuel’s total GHG emissions–a much smaller amount than generally recognized. This finding stems directly from the latest models and data that consider both the economic value and productivity of land to estimate release of carbon when land is put into corn production. The research’s findings suggest that substitution of conventional gas with corn ethanol could deliver a net carbon sink over a much shorter period than previously estimated.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , ,

Category: Research

Thank you for visting the Digest.