skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Fuel-cycle assessment of selected bioethanol production.

Abstract

A large amount of corn stover is available in the U.S. corn belt for the potential production of cellulosic bioethanol when the production technology becomes commercially ready. In fact, because corn stover is already available, it could serve as a starting point for producing cellulosic ethanol as a transportation fuel to help reduce the nation's demand for petroleum oil. Using the data available on the collection and transportation of corn stover and on the production of cellulosic ethanol, we have added the corn stover-to-ethanol pathway in the GREET model, a fuel-cycle model developed at Argonne National Laboratory. We then analyzed the life-cycle energy use and emission impacts of corn stover-derived fuel ethanol for use as E85 in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). The analysis included fertilizer manufacturing, corn farming, farming machinery manufacturing, stover collection and transportation, ethanol production, ethanol transportation, and ethanol use in light-duty vehicles (LDVs). Energy consumption of petroleum oil and fossil energy, emissions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide [CO{sub 2}], nitrous oxide [N{sub 2}O], and methane [CH{sub 4}]), and emissions of criteria pollutants (carbon monoxide [CO], volatile organic compounds [VOCs], nitrogen oxide [NO{sub x}], sulfur oxide [SO{sub x}], and particulate matter with diameters smaller than 10 micrometers [PM{submore » 10}]) during the fuel cycle were estimated. Scenarios of ethanol from corn grain, corn stover, and other cellulosic feedstocks were then compared with petroleum reformulated gasoline (RFG). Results showed that FFVs fueled with corn stover ethanol blends offer substantial energy savings (94-95%) relative to those fueled with RFG. For each Btu of corn stover ethanol produced and used, 0.09 Btu of fossil fuel is required. The cellulosic ethanol pathway avoids 86-89% of greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike the life cycle of corn grain-based ethanol, in which the ethanol plant consumes most of the fossil fuel, farming consumes most of the fossil fuel in the life cycle of corn stover-based ethanol.« less

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
925333
Report Number(s):
ANL/ESD/06-7
TRN: US0803040
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
ENGLISH
Subject:
02 PETROLEUM; 03 NATURAL GAS; 09 BIOMASS FUELS; 10 SYNTHETIC FUELS; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; AGRICULTURAL WASTES; CARBON; ENERGY CONSUMPTION; ETHANOL; ETHANOL PLANTS; FERTILIZERS; FOSSIL FUELS; FUEL CYCLE; GASOLINE; GREENHOUSE GASES; LIFE CYCLE; MACHINERY; MAIZE; MANUFACTURING; METHANE; NITROGEN OXIDES; NITROUS OXIDE; ORGANIC COMPOUNDS; PARTICULATES; PETROLEUM; POLLUTANTS; SULFUR OXIDES; BIOFUELS

Citation Formats

Wu, M., Wang, M., Hong, H., and Energy Systems. Fuel-cycle assessment of selected bioethanol production.. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.2172/925333.
Wu, M., Wang, M., Hong, H., & Energy Systems. Fuel-cycle assessment of selected bioethanol production.. United States. doi:10.2172/925333.
Wu, M., Wang, M., Hong, H., and Energy Systems. Wed . "Fuel-cycle assessment of selected bioethanol production.". United States. doi:10.2172/925333. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/925333.
@article{osti_925333,
title = {Fuel-cycle assessment of selected bioethanol production.},
author = {Wu, M. and Wang, M. and Hong, H. and Energy Systems},
abstractNote = {A large amount of corn stover is available in the U.S. corn belt for the potential production of cellulosic bioethanol when the production technology becomes commercially ready. In fact, because corn stover is already available, it could serve as a starting point for producing cellulosic ethanol as a transportation fuel to help reduce the nation's demand for petroleum oil. Using the data available on the collection and transportation of corn stover and on the production of cellulosic ethanol, we have added the corn stover-to-ethanol pathway in the GREET model, a fuel-cycle model developed at Argonne National Laboratory. We then analyzed the life-cycle energy use and emission impacts of corn stover-derived fuel ethanol for use as E85 in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). The analysis included fertilizer manufacturing, corn farming, farming machinery manufacturing, stover collection and transportation, ethanol production, ethanol transportation, and ethanol use in light-duty vehicles (LDVs). Energy consumption of petroleum oil and fossil energy, emissions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide [CO{sub 2}], nitrous oxide [N{sub 2}O], and methane [CH{sub 4}]), and emissions of criteria pollutants (carbon monoxide [CO], volatile organic compounds [VOCs], nitrogen oxide [NO{sub x}], sulfur oxide [SO{sub x}], and particulate matter with diameters smaller than 10 micrometers [PM{sub 10}]) during the fuel cycle were estimated. Scenarios of ethanol from corn grain, corn stover, and other cellulosic feedstocks were then compared with petroleum reformulated gasoline (RFG). Results showed that FFVs fueled with corn stover ethanol blends offer substantial energy savings (94-95%) relative to those fueled with RFG. For each Btu of corn stover ethanol produced and used, 0.09 Btu of fossil fuel is required. The cellulosic ethanol pathway avoids 86-89% of greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike the life cycle of corn grain-based ethanol, in which the ethanol plant consumes most of the fossil fuel, farming consumes most of the fossil fuel in the life cycle of corn stover-based ethanol.},
doi = {10.2172/925333},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Jan 31 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Wed Jan 31 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • The DOE is in the process of developing technologies for converting plant matter other than feed stock, e.g., corn stover, into biofuels. The goal of this research project was to determine what the farming community thinks of ethanol as a fuel source, and specifically what they think of bioethanol produced from corn stover. This project also assessed the image of the DOE and the biofuels program and determined the perceived barriers to ethanol-from-stover production.
  • Volume I of the five-volume report contains executive and technical summaries of the entire report, background information of the LWR fuel cycle alternatives, descriptions of waste types, and projections of waste quantities. Overview characterizations of alternative LWR fuel cycle modes are also included. (JGB)
  • Ever since it was demonstrated that Jatropha seed oil could be converted into a world class biodiesel and could run in unmodified stationary and mobile diesel engines with simultaneous reduction in emissions, it caught the attention of the world. The capability to grow this crop on wastelands added to its attractiveness. However, the single biggest challenge came in the form of the availability of adequate feed stock in the form of the Jatropha fruit. Adequacy of feed stock can only be possible if large plantations are cultivated and produce enough fruit. The people, world over, jumped into Jatropha cultivation withoutmore » heeding to the need to first ensure quality germplasm and understand the agronomic requirements of the plants. As a result many plantations failed to give the required yield. CSIR-CSMCRI had been researching Jatropha and had an end-to-end approach, i.e., it developed the best technology to prepare biodiesel and also worked towards the practical problems that it envisaged to be important for raising Jatropha productivity. It focused only on cultivation on wastelands as this was the only practical strategy, given the limited arable land India has and the risk of food security for the burgeoning population. While working in this direction, the Institute zeroed-in on a few germplasm, which gave consistently higher seed yield over several years. These germplasm were clonally propagated in large numbers to be raised in experimental plantations at different geographical locations in India. Many agronomic practices were developed as a part of these different projects. It was at this juncture that General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy joined hands with CSIR-CSMCRI to further the work on Jatropha. A center of expertise for Jatropha was established and work was initiated to further refine the understanding regarding the best practices. Efforts were to be made to generate primary data, hitherto unavailable for wastelands, on which life cycle assessment studies were to be performed as a part of the project.« less
  • This study evaluates the feasibility of co-locating a cellulose-to-ethanol (bioethanol) facility at the existing AES Greenidge coal-fired electric power plant near Dresden, NY.
  • Based on available, published information, it is apparent that the CANDU heavy water reactor requires a significantly lower lifetime U/sub 3/O/sub 8/ supply than a comparably operated light water reactor. Thorium utilization in the CANDU system has the potential of requiring only 30 to 35% as much fuel, at realistic conversion ratios (0.85 to 0.9), as a no recycle CANDU. This advantage is partially offset by the much higher initial U/sub 3/O/sub 8/ and fissile requirements of the thorium fueled options. The effect of an expanding nuclear power system tends to amplify these higher front end U/sub 3/O/sub 8/ requirements.more » For example, at a growth rate of five reactors per year, 11 years are required before the fuel requirements for a thorium fueled CANDU (conversion ratio = 0.85) become less than those of a CANDU-no recycle and between 27 and 30 years before they are less than those of a CANDU system on plutonium recycle. The economics of thorium utilization seem to be marginal (as a consequence of high recovery costs) for plutonium makeup recovered from CANDU fuels, but may be competitive operating on U-235 makeup. A definite economic optimum seems to exist for conversion ratios between 0.8 and 0.9, based on present cost concepts.« less