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Monetary value of the environmental and health externalities associated with production of ethanol from biomass feedstocks

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  • Kusiima, Jamil M.
  • Powers, Susan E.
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    Abstract

    This research is aimed at monetizing the life cycle environmental and health externalities associated with production of ethanol from corn, corn stover, switchgrass, and forest residue. The results of this study reveal current average external costs for the production of 1Â l of ethanol ranged from $0.07 for forest residue to $0.57 for ethanol production from corn. Among the various feedstocks, the external costs of PM10, NOX, and PM2.5 are among the greatest contributors to these costs. The combustion of fossil fuels in upstream fertilizer and energy production processes is the primary source of these emissions and their costs, especially for corn ethanol. The combined costs of emissions associated with the production and use of nitrogen fertilizer also contribute substantially to the net external costs. For cellulosic ethanol production, the combustion of waste lignin to generate heat and power helps to keep the external costs lower than corn ethanol. Credits both for the biogenic carbon combustion and displacement of grid electricity by exporting excess electricity substantially negate many of the emissions and external costs. External costs associated with greenhouse gas emissions were not significant. However, adding estimates of indirect GHG emissions from land use changes would nearly double corn ethanol cost estimates.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 6 (June)
    Pages: 2785-2796

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:6:p:2785-2796

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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    Keywords: External cost Ethanol Biofuel Life cycle;

    References

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    1. Tol, Richard S. J., 2008. "The Social Cost of Carbon: Trends, Outliers and Catastrophes," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 2(25), pages 1-22.
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    4. Tol, Richard S. J., 2005. "The marginal damage costs of carbon dioxide emissions: an assessment of the uncertainties," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(16), pages 2064-2074, November.
    5. Searchinger, Timothy & Heimlich, Ralph & Houghton, R. A. & Dong, Fengxia & Elobeid, Amani & Fabiosa, Jacinto F. & Tokgoz, Simla & Hayes, Dermot J. & Yu, Hun-Hsiang, 2008. "Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change," Staff General Research Papers 12881, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    6. Lavigne, Amanda & Powers, Susan E., 2007. "Evaluating fuel ethanol feedstocks from energy policy perspectives: A comparative energy assessment of corn and corn stover," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5918-5930, November.
    7. Ribaudo, Marc O. & Heimlich, Ralph & Claassen, Roger & Peters, Mark, 2001. "Least-cost management of nonpoint source pollution: source reduction versus interception strategies for controlling nitrogen loss in the Mississippi Basin," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 183-197, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Bhavik Bakshi & Nathan Cruze & Tim Haab & Matthew Winden, 2013. "Integrating Life Cycle Assessment and Choice Analysis for Alternative Fuel Valuation," Working Papers 13-01, UW-Whitewater, Department of Economics.
    2. Timmons, David, 2013. "Social Cost of Biomass Energy from Switchgrass in Western Massachusetts," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 42(1), April.
    3. Winden, Matthew & Cruze, Nathan & Haab, Tim & Bakshi, Bhavik, 2014. "Integrating life-cycle assessment and choice analysis for alternative fuel valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 83-93.

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