A report released by Dr. Steffen Mueller of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Energy Resources Center shows that ethanol not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to petroleum – but is continuing to steadily improve upon the levels at which it does so. In his study findings – Mueller outlines how ethanol has helped the Renewable Fuel Standard meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and – due to a uniquely high rate of innovation and technology adoption in the ethanol industry – continues to improve the level of greenhouse gas emission reductions offered by the fuel. This report comes from a study funded by the National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Committee, the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Monsanto with research assistance provided by the Renewable Fuels Association. NCGA is going to utilize the data outlined in the report to submit comments on the impact of the RFS in response to the House Energy Committee’s third white paper – Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Other Environmental Impacts.
According to NCGA – the report answers specific questions about the environmental impacts of ethanol use under the RFS and shows that even when potential indirect land use change emissions are considered for ethanol – today’s average corn-based ethanol does reduce GHG emissions compared to petroleum. The researchers found that ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 19 to 48-percent compared to gasoline. Furthermore – when indirect land use change emissions are excluded – average corn ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 29 to 57-percent relative to gasoline.
NCGA Ethanol Committee Chair Chad Willis says the findings of the study are exciting – but don’t come as a surprise to those who have been involved with the ethanol industry and have seen concrete improvements to the technology and practices used to make ethanol.
[The full report is available here: https://www.erc.uic.edu/staff/smueller.htm. It’s the report titled 2012 Corn Ethanol – Emerging Plant Energy and Environmental Technologies.]