Ethanol fuels: E10 or E85 - Life cycle perspectives

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    • 63 Citations

    Abstract

    Goal and Scope. The environmental performance of two ethanol fuel applications (E10 and E85) is compared (E10 fuel: a mixture of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline by volume, and E85 fuel: a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline by volume). Methods. Two types of functional units are considered here: An ethanol production-oriented perspective and a traveling distance-oriented perspective. The ethanol production-oriented functional unit perspective reflects the fact that the ethanol fuel supply (arable land or quantity of biomass used in ethanol fuel) is constrained, while the traveling distance-oriented functional unit implies that the ethanol fuel supply is unlimited. Results and Discussion. In the ethanol production-oriented functional unit perspective, the E10 fuel application offers better environmental performance than the E85 fuel application in terms of natural resources used, nonrenewable energy and global warming. However, in the calculations based on the traveling distance perspective, the E85 fuel application provides less environmental impacts in crude oil consumption, nonrenewable energy and global warming than the E10 fuel application. Conclusions and Outlook. The choice of functional units significantly affects the final results. Thus the functional unit in a descriptive LCA should reflect as nearly as possible the actual situation associated with a product system. Considering the current situation of constrained ethanol fuel supply, the E10 fuel application offers better environmental performance in natural resources used, nonrenewable energy and global warming unless the fuel economy of an E85 fueled vehicle is close to that of an E10 fueled vehicle.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)117-121
    Number of pages5
    JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
    Volume11
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 2006

    Profile

    Suckling Animals
    Breast Diseases
    Ethanol fuels
    ethanol
    Ethanol
    Global warming
    Carotid Body
    Agglutination Tests
    Analgesia
    Gasoline
    Natural resources
    global warming
    energy
    Melanesia
    Panthera
    Community Psychiatry
    Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage
    Immunity
    Energy utilization
    Equipment and Supplies

    Keywords

    • Biofuel
    • E10
    • E85
    • Ethanol fuels
    • Functional unit

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Engineering
    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Environmental Chemistry

    Cite this

    Ethanol fuels : E10 or E85 - Life cycle perspectives. / Kim, Seungdo; Dale, Bruce E.

    In: International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Vol. 11, No. 2, 03.2006, p. 117-121.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Kim, Seungdo; Dale, Bruce E. / Ethanol fuels : E10 or E85 - Life cycle perspectives.

    In: International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Vol. 11, No. 2, 03.2006, p. 117-121.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    abstract = "Goal and Scope. The environmental performance of two ethanol fuel applications (E10 and E85) is compared (E10 fuel: a mixture of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline by volume, and E85 fuel: a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline by volume). Methods. Two types of functional units are considered here: An ethanol production-oriented perspective and a traveling distance-oriented perspective. The ethanol production-oriented functional unit perspective reflects the fact that the ethanol fuel supply (arable land or quantity of biomass used in ethanol fuel) is constrained, while the traveling distance-oriented functional unit implies that the ethanol fuel supply is unlimited. Results and Discussion. In the ethanol production-oriented functional unit perspective, the E10 fuel application offers better environmental performance than the E85 fuel application in terms of natural resources used, nonrenewable energy and global warming. However, in the calculations based on the traveling distance perspective, the E85 fuel application provides less environmental impacts in crude oil consumption, nonrenewable energy and global warming than the E10 fuel application. Conclusions and Outlook. The choice of functional units significantly affects the final results. Thus the functional unit in a descriptive LCA should reflect as nearly as possible the actual situation associated with a product system. Considering the current situation of constrained ethanol fuel supply, the E10 fuel application offers better environmental performance in natural resources used, nonrenewable energy and global warming unless the fuel economy of an E85 fueled vehicle is close to that of an E10 fueled vehicle.",
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