Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Ethanol from Iowa Corn: Life Cycle Analysis versus System-wide Accounting

dc.contributor.author Babcock, Bruce
dc.contributor.author Rubin, Ofir
dc.contributor.author Feng, Hongli
dc.contributor.department Center for Agricultural and Rural Development
dc.date 2018-02-16T16:35:27.000
dc.date.accessioned 2020-06-30T01:05:15Z
dc.date.available 2020-06-30T01:05:15Z
dc.date.embargo 2015-07-05
dc.date.issued 2008-02-01
dc.description.abstract <p>Life cycle analysis (LCA) is the standard approach used to evaluate the greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits of biofuels. However, it is increasingly recognized that LCA results do not account for some impacts—including land use changes—that have important implications on GHGs. Thus, an alternative accounting system that goes beyond LCA is needed. In this paper, we contribute to the literature by laying out the basics of a system-wide accounting (SWA) method that takes into account all potential changes in GHGs resulting from biofuel expansion. We applied both LCA and SWA to assess the GHG impacts of ethanol based on Iowa corn.</p> <p>Growing corn in rotation with soybeans generated 35% less GHG emissions than growing corn after corn. Based on average corn production, ethanol's GHG benefits were lower in 2007 than in 2006 because of an increase in continuous corn in 2007. When only additional corn was considered, ethanol emitted about 22% less GHGs than gasoline. Results from SWA varied with the choice of baseline and the definition of geographical boundaries. Using 2006 as a baseline and 2007 as a scenario, corn ethanol's benefits were about 20% of the emissions of gasoline. If we expand geographical limits beyond Iowa, but assume the same emission rates for soybean production and land use changes as those in Iowa, then corn ethanol generated more GHG emissions than gasoline. These results highlight the importance of boundary definition for both LCA and SWA.</p>
dc.identifier archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/card_workingpapers/491/
dc.identifier.articleid 1482
dc.identifier.contextkey 7289310
dc.identifier.s3bucket isulib-bepress-aws-west
dc.identifier.submissionpath card_workingpapers/491
dc.identifier.uri https://dr.lib.iastate.edu/handle/20.500.12876/12844
dc.source.bitstream archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/card_workingpapers/491/08wp461.pdf|||Sat Jan 15 00:30:02 UTC 2022
dc.subject.disciplines Agricultural and Resource Economics
dc.subject.disciplines Agricultural Economics
dc.subject.disciplines Economics
dc.subject.disciplines Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment
dc.subject.disciplines Natural Resource Economics
dc.subject.disciplines Oil, Gas, and Energy
dc.subject.keywords biofuels
dc.subject.keywords corn ethanol
dc.subject.keywords greenhouse gas
dc.subject.keywords life cycle analysis
dc.subject.keywords system-wide accounting
dc.title Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Ethanol from Iowa Corn: Life Cycle Analysis versus System-wide Accounting
dc.type article
dc.type.genre article
dspace.entity.type Publication
relation.isAuthorOfPublication be977ffd-4ef3-4f33-a854-9db833e957f4
relation.isAuthorOfPublication 391fa56d-abad-402c-a62c-06701fca45ad
relation.isOrgUnitOfPublication 1a6be5f1-4f64-4e48-bb66-03bbcc25c76d
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