Publication Details

Title : Life-Cycle Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emission Impacts of Different Corn Ethanol Plant Types
Publication Date : May 22, 2007
Publication Journal : Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 2 (2007), 024001
Authors : M. Wang, M. Wu, H. Huo
Abstract : This paper documents key assumptions of corn ethanol plant energy use by process fuel types. We examine nine corn ethanol plant types categorized according to the type of process fuels employed, use of combined heat and power, and production of wet distillers grains and solubles. Process fuels in corn ethanol plants include natural gas, coal, wet DGS, and wood chips. We found that these ethanol plant types can have distinctly different energy and greenhouse gas emission effects on a full fuel-cycle basis. In particular, greenhouse gas emission impacts can vary significantly - from a 3% increase if coal is the process fuel, to a 52% reduction if wood chips are used. As a result, the GREET model was expanded to include these process fuels for corn ethanol plants.

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