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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE April 22, 2014

Federally funded study says biofuels not better than gasoline in short run

Associated Press  •    •  Posted April 22, 2014

The biofuel industry and administration officials immediately criticized the research as flawed. They said it was too simplistic in its analysis of carbon loss from soil, which can vary over a single field, and vastly overestimated how much residue farmers actually would remove once the market gets underway. “The core analysis depicts an extreme scenario that no responsible farmer or business would ever employ because it would ruin both the land and the long-term supply of feedstock. It makes no agronomic or business sense,” said Jan Koninckx, global business director for biorefineries at DuPont. [ read more … ]

Experts say ethanol study used bad model

Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted April 22, 2014

Experts on Monday criticized a new University of Nebraska-Lincoln study, saying it used “worst-case” assumptions to determine that cellulosic ethanol creates more carbon emissions than gasoline. The report from Adam Liska, an associate professor at Nebraska, says crop residue used to make cellulosic ethanol creates 7 percent more greenhouse gas emissions in the short-run than gasoline emissions and are “above the 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions” required by the federal government. Tom Vilsack, the U.S. secretary of agriculture, said the study makes “certain assumptions about farming operations” that “aren’t a reality. It’s not what’s happening on the ground. [ read more … ]

Emissions from corn stover greater than those from gasoline — DOE-backed study

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted April 22, 2014

Producing biofuels from cornstalks, husks and other agricultural wastes will increase greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline, according to a new Department of Energy-backed study. The study published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change estimated the effects of removing corn crop residues from 128 million acres across 12 Corn Belt states. It found that total annual emissions from producing biofuel out of those residues would be 7 percent higher than those of gasoline averaged out over five years and above the regulatory threshold set by the federal renewable fuel standard for cellulosic biofuel. [ read more … ]

Study casts doubts on GHG savings of fuels made from corn stover, cobs

Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted April 22, 2014

Douglas Karlen, a research leader in the Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Research Service, disagrees with the study’s assumptions. The average corn stover yield for 10 corn-growing states is 3.61 tons per acre. Using the 2.68-tons-per-acre removal rate that is assumed in the study would mean that farmers would be removing 75 percent of their corn residue, Karlen said. “You’d have corn residue stacks for miles if you tried to take that much off,” said Karlen, who has advised corn stover ethanol companies on how to maintain soil quality. A more realistic collection rate is about 25 percent, the amount that Poet-DSM’s Project Liberty says it collects, according to the company’s website. [ read more … ]

Stanford scientists discover a novel way to make ethanol without corn or other plants

BY MARK SHWARTZ, Stanford News  •    •  Posted April 22, 2014

Stanford University scientists have found a new, highly efficient way to produce liquid ethanol from carbon monoxide gas. This promising discovery could provide an eco-friendly alternative to conventional ethanol production from corn and other crops, say the scientists. Their results are published in the April 9 advanced online edition of the journal Nature. “We have discovered the first metal catalyst that can produce appreciable amounts of ethanol from carbon monoxide at room temperature and pressure – a notoriously difficult electrochemical reaction,” said Matthew Kanan, an assistant professor of chemistry at Stanford and coauthor of the Nature study. [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.