According to the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, two timely publications addressing the environment were recently released at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop by the Ethanol Across America (EAA) education campaign.
The first publication is part of the highly successful Issue Brief series which to date has covered subjects such as Net Energy Balance; Economic Impacts of Ethanol; Food, Feed and Fuel; and other areas. The latest in the series released is the Environmental Impacts of Ethanol Production.
Ethanol Across America Director Douglas A. Durante said the focus on the environment and the urgency to go green makes this is a timely publication. “As ethanol production increases in response to the Renewable Fuel Standard, it is important that people understand the environmental impacts of ethanol, and this Issue Brief should serve that purpose very well. With reduced emissions, low energy use, minimal water consumption, increasingly efficient farming practices, and a resulting low impact on land use, we have a good story to tell.”
The direct and indirect land use issue has been particularly visible of late due to proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and Durante said the new White Paper also released here this week is a complimentary piece to the brief. The White Paper series is an editorial-like forum for ideas, proposals, concepts, and “think pieces” according to Durante and has featured numerous guest authors.
“Rethinking the Value of Corn Ethanol Co-Products in Lifecycle Assessments: Producing More Food and Fuel with Less Carbon” is written by Dave Vander Griend, President and CEO of ICM, Inc., one of the nation’s leading ethanol process design and engineering firms. Mr. Vander Griend makes a compelling case in the White Paper for totally rethinking the land use issue in consideration of several critical factors that EPA models and others are not considering.
“It is important we look at the net impact of corn usage for ethanol, and that net is considerably lower than what the numbers might indicate on the surface. We return 1/3 of the volume of corn back to the animal feed supply, but we are returning nearly 1/2 of the nutritional, or feeding value. The end result is that for every two bushels of feed corn we use for ethanol we are returning one back into the supply.”
Vander Griend goes on to explain in the White Paper that along with the feed value, the increased yields of corn grown per acre means that meeting the first 15 billion gallons of ethanol demand of the RFS from corn will have no land use impact in that essentially no new land is being used — and over time there will be a reduction in land use. “All of this leads to less carbon emissions, which is a fundamental objective of our energy strategy,” he said.