This biofuel emits 46% less GHGs than conventional fuel

January 27, 2021
A new study finds that biofuel derived from corn emits even fewer greenhouse gases than we initially thought. Meanwhile, data from around the world tells us why vaccine equity is not only the right thing to do, but also good for the economy. (762 words, 3 minutes, 48…
BIO

A new study finds that biofuel derived from corn emits even fewer greenhouse gases than we initially thought. Meanwhile, data from around the world tells us why vaccine equity is not only the right thing to do, but also good for the economy. (762 words, 3 minutes, 48 seconds)

This biofuel emits 46% less GHG than conventional fuel
 
 

A new study finds that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from corn-derived ethanol are significantly lower than emissions from traditional fossil fuels—and even lower than we initially thought. And we have biotechnology to thank.

Corn-derived ethanol emits 46% less GHG emissions than conventional gasoline, concludes a new study by Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. (EH&E), based on research from Harvard, Tufts, and more than two dozen other institutions.

Specifically, the biofuel’s carbon intensity (CI) estimate is 51.4 grams of CO2-equivalent emission per megajoule, compared to an average CI of 96 gCO2e/MJ for conventional gasoline.

The difference is much larger than we thought. “Conventional wisdom based on a prior analysis done by EPA had pegged the difference to only 20%,” say the study authors.

 
Ethanol Carbon Intensity Path to Zero Carbon (003).jpg
 

What’s behind it? EH&E credits factors including improved design and operation of refineries, increases in corn yield, and a drop in fertilizer use and fuel consumption on farms, among others.

Furthermore, EH&E says farmers in the Midwest could slash the CI score of corn up to 74% by “adopting conservation tillage, reducing nitrogen fertilizer use, and implementing cover crops.”

This is why we need policy that supports the development of agricultural and environmental biotechnology.
BIO looks forward to working with the new administration, Congress, and the states to boost biobased land management practices like carbon capture and sequestration, as well as sustainable fuels through low-carbon fuel standards.

Read the accepted manuscript of the study.

Learn more about sustainable biofuels.


Additional Agriculture & Environment News:

Agri-Pulse: Ag groups take Tai USTR nomination
In a letter to Senate Finance Committee leaders, 115 food and ag groups threw their support behind Tai, a former staffer on the House Ways and Means Committee, and urged her confirmation. They say she is “deeply familiar” with USTR’s mission and its role in “opening foreign markets and reducing barriers for U.S. food and agriculture workers and exporters.”

Washington Post: Biden to place environmental justice at center of sweeping climate plan
The president plans far-reaching actions to cut carbon emissions, aid polluted communities and shift the nation away from fossil fuels. The administration will treat climate change "as the emergency that it is," one top adviser says.

 
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What is a vaccine? How are vaccines developed? How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective? We answer these questions and more at www.CovidVaccineFacts.org. Visit to spread facts and combat misinformation in this critical time.
 
 

Why vaccine equity is a "moral, strategic, and economic imperative"

As we exceed 100 million COVID-19 cases worldwide, it’s clear that we need a global, equitable effort to beat the pandemic. But data from around the world—including the United States—shows that we have a long way to go to get there.

“More than 39 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries,” said World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reports VOA News.

However: “Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest income country.”

“Vaccine equity is not just a moral imperative; it is a strategic and economic imperative,” he continued. If developed nations vaccinate their own populations but don’t ensure equitable access in developing nations, it’ll cost the global economy as much as $9.2 trillion—with wealthier nations incurring almost half, found the International Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation.

This is why BIO applauded the United States’ decision to join the COVAX Facility, the global effort to deliver COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics to poor and under-developed countries.

But we have to work on equity at home, too. “Early analyses and news reports show that in many cities and states, people of color—particularly Black Americans—are falling behind white Americans in the vaccination effort,” reported Axios.

“Hispanic, Black, and lower-income Americans are more likely than white and higher-income Americans to say they don't have enough information about when or where they'll be able to get a coronavirus vaccine, according to new KFF polling,” said another Axios report. Access to a computer or internet to make a vaccination appointment as well as access to pharmacies or vaccination sites are also inequitable.

The bottom line? We must prioritize equity. Learn what BIO’s doing to counteract the systemic inequality, injustice, and unfair treatment of underserved communities.

 

More Health Care News:

Biopharma Dive : Can new Regeneron, Lilly data move the needle for COVID-19 antibody drugs?
“New study data released Tuesday by  Regeneron and  Eli Lilly provide some of the most definitive proof to date that combinations of engineered antibody drugs can help either prevent COVID-19 or treat the disease in its earliest stages.”

The Wall Street Journal : Johnson & Johnson expects to report COVID-19 vaccine results by next week
“Johnson & Johnson said it expects to…deliver 100 million doses for use in the U.S. by the end of June if the data are positive and the vaccine is authorized.”
 
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President Biden’s Wednesday: It’s climate day. At 12:15 PM ET, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy will join a press briefing. At 1:30 PM ET, President Biden will give remarks and sign several executive orders related to climate, jobs, and restoring scientific integrity. ICYMI, POLITICO recaps yesterday’s executive orders on racial equity.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will vote on the nomination of Pete Buttigieg for Treasury secretary, reports POLITICO Pro. He’s expected to receive bipartisan support. Among additional nominees getting their day in the Senate, President Biden’s Energy nominee, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, will appear before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

 
 
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