Posts

Biofuels Could Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 96%

biofuel studyResearch by three national laboratories has created a new process that converts ethanol to fuels in one step. The result could be a reduction in greenhouse gases from transportation by up to 96%

CleanTechnica

Meta-Analysis: Nearly All Studies Used To Promote Biofuels Are Flawed & Need To Be Redone

Nearly all of the studies that have been used to promote the deployment of biofuels over the past two decades are flawed and need to be redone, according to the findings of a new meta-analysis of more than 100 research papers published on the subject over recent years. The comprehensive study review — coming to

Meta-Analysis: Nearly All Studies Used To Promote Biofuels Are Flawed & Need To Be Redone was originally published on CleanTechnica.

To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 50,000 other subscribers: Google+ | Email | Facebook | RSS | Twitter.


CleanTechnica

Cornstalk Biofuels Can Generate More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline, Research Finds



Biofuels created from corn crop residues — such as stalks, leaves, cobs, etc — can generate higher levels of greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The production of these biofuels — including ethanol — also works to reduce soil carbon, further contributing to greenhouse gas emissions via that pathway.

Baling corn residue at a University of Nebraska-Lincoln field experiment site in Saunders County, Neb. Image Credit: UNL

Baling corn residue at a University of Nebraska-Lincoln field experiment site in Saunders County, Nebraska.
Image Credit: UNL

This new work casts yet further doubt on the usefulness of biofuels with regard to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, biofuels have a number of other advantages over conventional fuels that will likely see them used in some capacities for some time to come — especially by militaries, and/or governmental agencies.

The work also casts doubt on whether or not “corn residue can be used to meet federal mandates to ramp up ethanol production.”

The press release from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln provides more:

Corn stover — the stalks, leaves and cobs in cornfields after harvest — has been considered a ready resource for cellulosic ethanol production. The US Department of Energy has provided more than $ 1 billion in federal funds to support research to develop cellulosic biofuels, including ethanol made from corn stover. While the cellulosic biofuel production process has yet to be extensively commercialized, several private companies are developing specialized biorefineries capable of converting tough corn fibers into fuel.

The researchers, led by assistant professor Adam Liska, used a supercomputer model at UNL’s Holland Computing Center to estimate the effect of residue removal on 128 million acres across 12 Corn Belt states. The team found that removing crop residue from cornfields generates an additional 50 to 70 grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule of biofuel energy produced (a joule is a measure of energy and is roughly equivalent to 1 BTU). Total annual production emissions, averaged over five years, would equal about 100 grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule — which is 7% greater than gasoline emissions and 62 grams above the 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as required by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

Importantly, they found the rate of carbon emissions is constant whether a small amount of stover is removed or nearly all of it is stripped.

“If less residue is removed, there is less decrease in soil carbon, but it results in a smaller biofuel energy yield,” Liska explained.


According to the research, the way to limit increased carbon dioxide emissions and to reduce soil carbon, would be to increase the planting of cover crops — in order to fix more carbon in the soil.

According to Liska, the researchers tried their best to poke holes in the study — but without success. The work appears to be quite solid.

“If this research is accurate, and nearly all evidence suggests so, then it should be known sooner rather than later, as it will be shown by others to be true regardless,” he continued. “Many others have come close recently to accurately quantifying this emission.”

Of course, the findings aren’t all that surprising to many people — most especially farmers, who have long noted the need to retain crop residue on their fields to protect against soil erosion and to preserve soil quality.

Some more specifics on the work:

Until now, scientists have not been able to fully quantify how much soil carbon is lost to carbon dioxide emissions after removing crop residue. They’ve been hampered by limited carbon dioxide measurements in cornfields, by the fact that annual carbon losses are comparatively small and difficult to measure, and the lack of a proven model to estimate carbon dioxide emissions that could be coupled with a geospatial analysis.

Liska’s study, which was funded through a three-year, $ 500,000 grant from the US Department of Energy, used carbon dioxide measurements taken from 2001 to 2010 to validate a soil carbon model that was built using data from 36 field studies across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Using USDA soil maps and crop yields, they extrapolated potential carbon dioxide emissions across 580 million 30-meter by 30-meter “geospatial cells” in Corn Belt states. It showed that the states of Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin had the highest net loss of carbon from residue removal because they have cooler temperatures and more carbon in the soil.

The new findings were just published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Cornstalk Biofuels Can Generate More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline, Research Finds was originally published on CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 50,000 other subscribers: Google+ | Email | Facebook | RSS | Twitter.


CleanTechnica

Biofuels Without Enzymes — Cheap Acid-Based Approach Developed

Producing biofuels from plant and food waste is an approach that has long been pursued by researchers, but it’s one largely dependent upon relatively expensive enzymes. That may now be changing, though, thanks to new research from the University of Southern Denmark. The use of expensive enzymes can be avoided completely with a cheap new

Biofuels Without Enzymes — Cheap Acid-Based Approach Developed was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 other subscribers: RSS | Facebook | Twitter.


CleanTechnica

EU Lawmakers Back Limits to Biofuels’ Use in Transport – Wall Street Journal- India

EU Lawmakers Back Limits to Biofuels' Use in Transport
Wall Street Journal- India
The proposed change to biofuels legislation comes as the value of turning food crops like rapeseed, palm oil and sugar cane into transport fuel has become increasingly controversial. Biofuels were lauded a decade ago as a way of emitting far-less

and more »

palm oil Controversial – read more

Thinktank: Biofuels are too expensive – and they don’t always reduce emissions – Carbon Brief (blog)

Thinktank: Biofuels are too expensive – and they don't always reduce emissions
Carbon Brief (blog)
oils is not a cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Biofuel targets have been controversial ever since scientific studies began indicating that these fuels may have a far higher impact on greenhouse gas emissions than previously

and more »

Read more

Burning biofuels could be worse than coal – The Voice of Russia


The Voice of Russia

Burning biofuels could be worse than coal
The Voice of Russia
Using palm oil and biodiesel has become a controversial issue. More than 80% is grown in Indonesia and Malasia with vast areas of natural forests cleared each year to make way for new plantations. Recent research published in the journal Nature

and more »

Read more

Biofuels: Between a Rock and a Green Place – The International


The International

Biofuels: Between a Rock and a Green Place
The International
With the possibility of an oil crisis on the horizon, a scramble for renewable and sustainable energy sources is underway. In recent years, plant-based fuels known as biofuels have emerged as Yet biofuels remain controversial, as the many impacts

Read more

Renewable Diesel on the March – Biofuels Digest

Renewable Diesel on the March
Biofuels Digest
Bio-based diesel has a much less controversial set of environmental attributes, for one. Biodiesel made from palm oil has attracted substantial criticism, merging as it does into a generally critical conversation over land conversion in Southeast Asia.
Gigantic Italian Oil Refiner Switches To Green DieselCleanTechnica



all 3 news articles »

Read more

EU Makes Radical Shift on Biofuels – Wall Street Journal

EU Makes Radical Shift on Biofuels
Wall Street Journal
The use of biofuels has become increasingly controversial in the EU, as questions have emerged about their real contribution in fighting climate change and about the impact they have in lifting global food prices. Biofuels are produced from crops such

Read more