Environmental and Sustainability Impacts

Risks to global biodiversity from fossil-fuel production exceed those from biofuel production

Potential global biodiversity impacts from near-term gasoline production are compared to biofuel, a renewable liquid transportation fuel expected to substitute for gasoline in the near term (i.e., from now until c.

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April 21

Indicators to support environmental sustainability of bioenergy systems

Indicators are needed to assess environmental sustainability of bioenergy systems. Effective indicators
will help in the quantification of benefits and costs of bioenergy options and resource uses. We identify
19 measurable indicators for soil quality, water quality and quantity, greenhouse gases, biodiversity, air
quality, and productivity, building on existing knowledge and on national and international programs
that are seeking ways to assess sustainable bioenergy. Together, this suite of indicators is hypothesized

McBride, Allen

Ethanol and a Changing Agricultural Landscape

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 established specific targets for the production of biofuel in the United States. Until advanced technologies become commercially viable, meeting these targets will increase demand for traditional agricultural commodities used to produce ethanol, resulting in land-use, production, and price changes throughout the farm sector. This report summarizes the estimated effects of meeting the EISA targets for 2015 on regional agricultural production and the environment. Meeting EISA targets for ethanol production is estimated to expand U.S.


Impact of United States Corn-based Ethanol Production on Land Use

The purpose of this research was to determine whether indirect land use occurs and if so to what extent. Indirect land use is a change from non-cropland to cropland (e.g. deforestation) that may occur in response to increasing scarcity of cropland. As farmers worldwide respond to higher crop prices in order to maintain the global food supply and demand balance, pristine lands are cleared and converted to new cropland to replace the crops for feed and food that were diverted elsewhere to biofuels production.


The Effect of Ethanol Production on the U.S. National Corn Price

A system of equations representing corn supply, feed demand, export demand, food, alcohol and industrial (FAI) demand, and corn price is estimated by three-stage least squares. A price dependent reduced form equation is then formed to investigate the effect of ethanol production on the national average corn price. The elasticity of corn price with respect to ethanol production is then obtained. Results suggest that ethanol production has a positive impact on the national corn price and that the demand from FAI has a greater impact on the corn price than other demand categories.


Spatial Equilibrium in the Bio-Fuel Economy: A Multi-Market Analysis of Trade Distortions in the U.S. and Brazilian Ethanol Sector

Energy security and environmental concerns about global climate change have lead to recent growth in the use of bio-fuels in the U.S. Brazil currently exports a substantial share of its sugarcane based ethanol to the U.S. to support the growing demand for bio-fuels. However, U.S. policies that exogenously affect the bio-fuel sector confound the understanding of the multi-market impacts of a growing bio-fuel demand. Moreover, the various forms of government intervention in the bio-fuel economy leave researchers with unclear conclusions about the prospects for bio-fuels.


Land Use Change and Consequent CO2 Emissions due to U.S. Corn Ethanol Production: A Comprehensive Analysis

The basic objective of this research was to estimate land use changes associated with US corn ethanol production up to the 15 billion gallon Renewable Fuel Standard level implied by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. We also used the estimated land use changes to calculate Greenhouse Gas Emissions associated with the corn ethanol production.


Simulation of the Process for Producing Butanol from Corn Fermentation

This study focuses on the simulation of a complete process for producing butanol via
acetone, butanol, and ethanol corn fermentation.


Life-Cycle Assessment of Energy and Greenhouse Gas Effects of Soybean-Derived Biodiesel and Renewable Fuels

We assessed the life-cycle energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission impacts of the following three soybean-derived fuels by expanding, updating, and using Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model: (1) biodiesel produced from soy oil transesterification, (2) renewable diesel produced from hydrogenation of soy oil by using two processes (renewable diesel I and II), and (3) renewable gasoline produced from catalytic cracking of soy oil.


Assessing the Ecological Impacts of Bioenergy Projects

One of the major objectives of the current expansion in bioenergy cropping is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions for environmental benefit. The cultivation of bioenergy and biofuel crops also affects biodiversity more directly, both positively and negatively.

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