Ethanol vs oil – which emits less carbon?

EEEIG ResearchIndustry Updates, Insights

  • Do ethanol plants produce more carbon emissions than oil refineries per gallon of fuel capacity?
  • The answer is yes as per a Reuters analysis which would suggest that the federal policy for blending ethanol into gasoline was based on our incorrect understanding of ethanol’s actual impacts. Average ethanol plant emitted 1187 metric tons per gallon capacity vs. an average refinery produced 533 metric tons of carbon.
  • A more comprehensive life cycle analysis of ethanol that takes into consideration emissions and environmental impacts from farming, production and consumption suggests that ethanol may not be as emissions or climate friendly.
  • The solution lies in retrofitting and pairing ethanol plants, especially those that are emit more than industry averages, with CCS and benefiting from tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • This creates an investment opportunity in deploying CCS in multiple industries which could potentially bring down costs in CO2 capture, compression and pipeline transport, building new energy transition infrastructure.