Ethanol fuels: E10 or E85 - Life cycle perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 67 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.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages117-121
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

Profile

Ethanol fuels
Life cycle
ethanol
life cycle
Ethanol
Global warming
Natural resources
Gasoline
global warming
Petroleum
Fuel economy
Environmental impact
natural resource
Biomass
Energy utilization
Crude oil
energy
arable land
crude oil

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

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