News

Study: Corn-based ethanol worse for environment than fossil fuels

on

cornA federally funded report published Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change suggests that corn-based ethanol is worse for than environment than traditional fossil fuels.

The study contradicts an essential tenet of belief among modern day environmentalists and President Barack Obama’s administration, who have both pointed to corn-based biofuel as a cleaner alternative to oil. According to this study, the federal government’s generous subsidies for ethanol producers may, in fact, be supporting an industry that actually increases greenhouse gas emissions.

From the Associated Press:

A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.

While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won’t meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.

The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.

“The study says it will be very hard to make a biofuel that has a better greenhouse gas impact than gasoline using corn residue,” which puts it in the same boat as corn-based ethanol, said David Tilman, a professor at the University of Minnesota who has done research on biofuels’ emissions from the farm to the tailpipe.

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson was the editor of The Maine Wire from 2013 through 2014. A native of Dexter, Maine, Robinson is a graduate of Bowdoin College, and is currently a Producer for The Howie Carr Show in Boston.

Recommended for you

Discuss this story
NFL jerseys says:

Now you might have something NFL jerseys to dress in as you last of all get that reservation at Slash.