A new study released this week further emphasizes the need and benefits of corn ethanol in the nation's fuel supply. Scientists from Harvard University, Tufts University and Environmental Health & Engineering Inc., in Carbon Intensity of Corn Ethanol in the United States: State of the Science showed that corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 46 percent, compared to gasoline.
“This study underscores what we have known for a long time,” says NCGA President John Linder. “Corn farmers continue to use sustainable practices to grow an affordable and abundant crop that is the solution to combating climate issues. This study is another reason why we need to continue moving to higher blends of ethanol as the baseline for the nation's fuel supply.”
“Updated analysis such as this reflects changes in corn production that reduce carbon intensity and updated land use data that shows land use is a ‘minor contributor’ to ethanol’s profile,” Linder added. “Relying on updated data and the best science show ethanol is truly a low carbon fuel, with the potential to become even more low carbon, thanks to how farmers continue to improve corn production practices and increased yields that produce more corn from less land and fewer inputs.”
The study “reviewed well-to-wheel greenhouse gas life cycle analyses for corn ethanol and evaluated models, input data, and results for farming, fuel production, co-product credit, land use change, transport of feedstock and fuel, tailpipe, and denaturant. Compared to earlier analyses, recent life cycle analyses for corn ethanol contain updates to modeling systems and data that reflect: (1) market-driven changes in corn production that lowered the intensity of fertilizer and fossil fuel use on farms; (2) more efficient use of natural gas and recent electric generation mix data for energy consumed at ethanol refineries, and (3) land use change analyses based on hybrid economic-biophysical models that account for land conversion, land productivity, and land intensification.”
You can read the full study here.