The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is pleased with recent updates to the Greenhouse gas and Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) model made by U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory scientists. The GREET model is widely recognized as the gold-standard tool used to audit the energy and environmental effects of transportation fuels such as ethanol and gasoline.
Notably, the 2020 updates include a new Feedstock Carbon Intensity Calculator to take inventory on how corn yields, fertilizer use, and agronomic practices on individual farms influence the lifecycle carbon intensity of ethanol and a new lookup table to estimate rates of soil carbon sequestration from different farming practices.
ACE CEO Brian Jennings says the updates will help farmers, ethanol producers, and government agencies better understand how farming practices play a pivotal role in reducing the overall carbon intensity of corn ethanol. “Given the growing support for new clean fuel markets at the state and federal level, particularly among Midwestern states, these timely updates to the GREET model should help us advocate for policies that give credit to farmers for practices which further reduce corn ethanol’s carbon footprint,” said Jennings.
In 2018, ACE published the White Paper “The Case for Properly Valuing the Low Carbon Benefits of Corn Ethanol” to spotlight the need for these kind of updates to the GREET model. Ron Alverson, ACE board member and main author of the 2018 White Paper, said the new Feedstock Carbon Intensity Calculator will be extremely helpful in evaluating the effect farming practices have on ethanol’s GHG emissions because it will account for corn yield and energy, fertilizer, and chemical use factors for individual farms instead of relying on default values.