April 5 (Renewables Now) - Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the production and combustion of corn ethanol could be 47% to 70% lower than these of gasoline in 2022, a new study suggests.
Back in 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) projected that corn ethanol from a new refinery would have 21% lower lifecycle emissions than gasoline in 2022. The new study released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), however, shows that corn ethanol has achieved already 39% lower GHG emissions when compared to gasoline and the difference could reach 43% when the refinery at which it is produced is powered by natural gas.
The study explains that the difference between EPA’s forecast from 2010 and current figures comes mainly from revised estimates of the impacts of land-use change as a result of demand for ethanol. On-farm conservation practices that reduce GHG emissions and ethanol refinery upgrades have helped reduce emissions associated with corn ethanol and there is room for further improvements to reach a 70% reduction.