New study suggests fuel from corn byproduct not as environmentally-friendly as previously thought


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, April 21, 2014, 4:02 -

A new, small-scale study published in Nature Climate Change is casting doubt on the effectiveness of gas made from corn byproducts.

Often touted as an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional gasoline, backers say that corn ethanol is renewable and helps cut down on greenhouse emissions.

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But researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are suggesting otherwise, arguing that the production of biofuel made with corn residue releases 7 percent more greenhouse gases than standard gasoline.

While the corn product may fare better in the long run, the findings mean it won't qualify as a renewable fuel in the U.S.

Members of the biofuel industry are criticizing the research, saying the study is "too simplistic" and "grossly overestimates" the corn biofuel production process.

The study is the first to attempt to measure how much carbon is lost when corn stalks, leaves and cobs are used to make biofuel.

"I knew this research would be contentious,"  study author Adam Liska told the Associated Press.

 "I'm amazed it has not come out more solidly until now."

With files from the Associated Press

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