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Study: Ethanol continues to gain ground in the race to reduce carbon


Replacing toxic carcinogens in gasoline is a huge boost to an already impressive number of carbon reductions for ethanol, according to a new study published by Transport Energy Strategies, a leading energy consulting firm with expertise in emissions, fuel and petroleum refining.

You found that the inclusion of ethanol in the fuel supply has had an even greater impact on reducing carbon emissions than previously determined. This happens because ethanol replaces toxic aromatics in gasoline, the most carbon-intensive component of fuel. Ethanol has the highest octane number of any other additive and reduces the need for these known carcinogens in an oil refinery.

Based on the findings of TES, the Urban Air Initiative calculates that when attributed to the reduction of aromatics, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of ethanol are 56% lower than those of the gasoline, compared to the 43% reduction currently modeled.

“For years, the ethanol industry has touted the value of replacing aromatics with ethanol from an air pollution and public health perspective, but to the knowledge of our team, no one never really considered what the move might mean for carbon intensity and GHG reduction. emissions, ”said Tammy Klein, founder and CEO of Transport Energy Strategies and a member of the study team. “Our discoveries innovate. “

Until now, all of the modeling around corn ethanol and carbon has focused on the life cycle analysis of how the ethanol moves from the cornfield to the processing stage. TES studied the carbon impact of the ethanol blend in gasoline in order to more accurately assess the total life cycle. The study found that displaced aromatics have a high carbon score, and the inclusion of ethanol therefore improves the GHG impact of the finished fuel. This advantageous mixing attribute is due to the high octane number of ethanol and has been overlooked in the previous literature.

“This is just another example of how ethanol helps decarbonize liquid transportation fuels. This is a clean, readily available herbal solution that has already made more of a difference than you might think. The results from TES demonstrate the need to update current science and recognize the ability of ethanol to have an even greater carbon advantage with increased availability of higher blends, ”said Dave VanderGriend, President of the Urban Air Initiative.

VanderGriend said the goal now is for the updated carbon score for ethanol to be incorporated into a calculation of the Greenhouse Gas and Transport Regulated Emissions (GREET) model, which is the benchmark. in the modeling of GHG emissions developed by the Ministry of Energy via their Argonne. National laboratory.

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