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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374892

Research Project: Sustainable Intensification of Crop and Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems at Multiple Scales

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: The role of biorefinery co-products, market proximity and feedstock environmental footprint in meeting biofuel policy goals for winter barley-to-ethanol

item SPATARI, SABRINA - Drexel University
item STAEDEL, ALEXANDER - Drexel University
item Adler, Paul
item KAR, SAURAJYOTI - Drexel University
item PARTON, WILLIAM - Colorado State University
item Hicks, Kevin
item McAloon, Andrew
item GURIAN, PATRICK - Drexel University

Submitted to: Energies
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/25/2020
Publication Date: 5/3/2020
Citation: Spatari, S., Staedel, A., Adler, P.R., Kar, S., Parton, W.J., Hicks, K.B., Mcaloon, A.J., Gurian, P.L. 2020. The role of biorefinery co-products, market proximity and feedstock environmental footprint in meeting biofuel policy goals for winter barley-to-ethanol. Energies. 1-15.

Interpretive Summary: Reducing the carbon footprint of transportation fuels to replace gasoline is an important goal; identifying new crops and ways to produce ethanol with a low carbon footprint is a challenge. In this study we quantified the carbon footprint of a new way to produce ethanol from barley. We found that ethanol could be produced from barley with a carbon footprint more than 50% lower than gasoline allowing it to meet the advanced fuel standard of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. This study provided the needed information to the USEPA to evaluate the process to qualify as an advanced fuel.

Technical Abstract: Renewable fuel standards for biofuels have been written into policy in the U.S. to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of transportation energy supply. Biofuel feedstocks sourced from within a regional market have the potential to also address sustainability goals. The U.S. Mid-Atlantic region could meet the advanced fuel designation specified in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), which requires a 50% reduction in GHG emissions relative to a gasoline baseline fuel, through ethanol produced from winter barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). We estimate technology configurations and winter barley grown on available winter fallow agricultural land in six Mid-Atlantic states. Using spatially weighted stochastic GHG emission estimates for winter barley supply from 374 counties and biorefinery data from a commercial dry grind facility design with multiple co-products, we conclude that winter barley would meet RFS2 goals even with U.S. EPA’s indirect land use change estimates. Using a conservative threshold for soil GHG emissions sourced from barley produced on winter fallow lands in the U.S. MidAtlantic, a biorefinery located near densely populated metropolitan areas in the Eastern U.S. seaboard could economically meet the requirements of an advanced biofuel with the co-production of CO2 for the soft drink industry.