Biomass converted into electricity could be more efficient than ethanol

May 8th, 2009 - 2:21 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 8 (ANI): A new study by scientists has suggested that biomass converted into electricity could be more efficient than ethanol.

The study was conducted by University of California, Merced, Assistant Professor Elliott Campbell and two other researchers.

In the study, Campbell, along with Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology and David Lobell of Stanford University, the scientists found that biomass converted into electricity produced 81 percent more transportation miles and 108 percent more emissions offsets compared to ethanol.

In other words, according to Campbell, vehicles powered by biomass converted into electricity “got further down the road” compared to ethanol.

“As a result, we found that converting biomass to electricity rather than ethanol makes the most sense for two policy-relevant issues, transportation and climate,” he said.

The scientists based their study on two criteria: miles per area cropland and greenhouse gas offsets per area cropland. In both cases, scientists considered a range of feedstock crops (corn and switchgrass and vehicle types (small car, midsize car, small SUV and large SUV).

First, they looked at how many miles a range of vehicles powered by ethanol could travel versus a range of electric vehicles fueled by electricity.

Second, they examined offsets to greenhouse gas emissions for ethanol and bioelectricity.

Land use is an important factor to consider when evaluating each method. Globally, the amount of land available to grow biomass crops is limited.

Using existing croplands for biofuels could cause increases in food prices and clearing new land, or deforestation, can have a negative impact on the environment.

The researchers are careful to point out their study looked at two criteria, transportation and greenhouse gas offsets, but did not examine the performance of electricity and ethanol for other policy relevant criteria.

“We also need to compare these options for other issues such as water consumption, air pollution and economic costs,” Campbell said. (ANI)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health Science |