Agricultural Marketing Resource Center Publishes Study of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Corn and Ethanol Production
Don Hofstrand “focus(es) on GHG emissions including a detailed analysis of the sources of these emissions from corn and ethanol production. We will also show how GHG emissions from corn production vary based on region of the country. The sale value of GHG credits will be discussed briefly. We will conclude with a summary of the research focus areas for improving corn ethanol production technologies.”
… Detailed GHG emissions from a natural gas ethanol biorefinery located in Iowa are presented… . Emissions are divided into those from corn production, ethanol production and the emissions credit from the co-product.
… Crop production accounts for 50 percent of the total emissions from ethanol production. … The ethanol biorefinery accounts for the other half of the emissions. Natural gas contributes about two-thirds of these emissions. Natural gas and electricity together account for about 90 percent of the biorefinery emissions. The distillers grains co-product provides a 29 percent GHG emission credit. Most of the credit is due to the reduction in emissions resulting from substituting distillers grains for other feeds (that emit GHG in their production) in cattle rations.
So, the net emissions from corn ethanol production are 42 units of emissions per unit of energy produced (grams of CO2 emissions per megajoule of energy produced). This compares to 92 units for gasoline and represents a 54 percent reduction in GHG emissions as compared to gasoline. READ MORE