E15 ethanol: a smog, cancer and CO2 reducer, new study concludes

Source: By Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest • Posted: Monday, September 8, 2014

In Illinois, a new report concludes that E15 gas rather than regular gas displaces cancer causing emissions from gasoline, and will result in a 6.6% net decrease in cancer risk, a reduction in smog forming potential and a 1.5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to regular gasoline which contains 10% ethanol.

The study was conducted by Life Cycle Associates, a leading environmental research organization that has completed numerous research projects for institutions like the U.S. Department of Energy, environmental groups, and the California Air Resources Board.

The report aggregates the results of independent research by the Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, California Air Resources Board, Coordinating Research Council, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Chicago and other institutions.

“The most significant changes from a change … to E15 include a reduction in cancer risk from vehicle exhaust and evaporative emissions, a reduction in the potential to form ozone or photochemical smog, and a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” the study reported.

Life Cycle Associates examined and aggregated a wide range of research to assess changes in the emissions from E15 tailpipe and evaporative emissions, compared to regular gasoline. The following factors were considered: ethanol blend composition; vehicle tailpipe emissions; storage and fueling with ethanol blends; changes in evaporative and exhaust emissions; human health impacts; ozone potential; and life cycle greenhouse gas emissions.

The report’s authors warned that effective action is needed to promote the availability of E15 fuel to consumers because, they contend,” the oil industry has engaged in a systematic effort to prevent these fuels from coming to the market.”