15% of Iowa's Carbon Emissions Come From Ethanol Plants, More Than Belching Cattle

corn ethanol plant photo

photo: Steven Roemerman

OK, before anyone accuses me of a misleading headline: Coal-fired power plants in Iowa produce much more carbon emissions than do ethanol plants. Said. Done. Moving on: While it's true that I believe that corn ethanol is probably one of the worst biofuels out there on many levels, I'm presenting this not to bash ethanol; instead I saw this in the context of "gee, whaddya know..."

7.6 Million Tonnes From Ethanol Plants
The results of the state's new survey of major sources of greenhouse gas emissions from industry, business and power plants did find that ethanol plants produced 7.6 million tonnes (of a total 52 million tonnes) of carbon emissions. Perhaps more interesting than that however is the source of emissions at the plants:Fermenting Grain Largest Share of Ethanol Emissions
The survey found that the largest share of emissions coming from ethanol production was not burning coal or natural gas to power the plant, by the fermenting grain itself. The amount of greenhouse gas emissions from fermenting grain is slightly less than the combined total of emissions from belching cattle (4.3 million tonnes) and livestock manure (6.6 million tonnes).

Of the state's 10 single worst carbon emitters, 9 were coal-fired power plants; number 8 of the list is an ethanol and corn-processing plant in Clinton, run by agricultural behemoth ADM.

More at DesMoinesRegister.com: Coal-fired plants give off most emissions and Ethanol plants generate 15% of state's emissions
Corn Ethanol
Corn Ethanol Worsens Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone
Ethanol: How the Fuel is Produced, Growing Corn and Other Feedstocks, More
Round and Round We Go: Is Corn-Based Ethanol Viable

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