Current and future environmental impacts of potential bioethanol production pathways are examined by incorporating a Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis within a life cycle model to account for system variability. Compared to single-valued estimates, this range of energy and greenhouse gas impacts provides additional information to decision makers and brings greater clarity to the ethanol debate. The petroleum consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and land impacts of an expanding and evolving ethanol industry are also evaluated. Corn and cellulosic ethanol production projections are evaluated over the next 20 years to determine the potential impacts of producing 130 billion liters, the current alternative fuels production goal.
Department of Mechanical Engineering