Research shows RFS slashed GHG emissions by nearly a billion metric tons to date

February 14, 2021 |

In Washington, D.C., the Renewable Fuels Association reports that a new analysis from a renowned carbon accounting firm finds that the greenhouse gas emission reductions achieved under the Renewable Fuel Standard far exceed the reductions originally projected by EPA. Between 2008 and 2020, the use of biofuels under the RFS has resulted in cumulative savings of 980 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions.

The research, which updates the results from a previously published study, was conducted for the Renewable Fuels Association by Stefan Unnasch and Debasish Parida of Life Cycle Associates.

The greater-than-expected GHG savings are attributable to several factors: corn ethanol provided larger GHG reductions than anticipated by EPA; the actual carbon intensity of gasoline and diesel was worse than estimated by EPA; and use of biodiesel and renewable diesel exceeded EPA’s original expectations.

According to the report, the carbon intensity of corn-based ethanol used toward the RFS is now 45% below the carbon intensity of gasoline, having dropped 20% between 2008 and 2020. The authors attribute ethanol’s shrinking carbon footprint primarily to improvements in the corn ethanol production process, growth in the use of low-carbon biogas as the process fuel, and the elimination of coal as a thermal energy source for dry mill ethanol plants.

Download the research study here.

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Category: Research

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