Life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of corn kernel fiber ethanol

Zhangcai Qin*, Qianfeng Li, Michael Wang, Jeongwoo Han, Jennifer Marie Dunn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Corn kernel fiber ethanol that can be produced concurrently with corn starch ethanol has recently been approved as cellulosic biofuel in the USA, suggesting that fiber ethanol could be eligible for a higher credit price than conventional starch ethanol due to its anticipated lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A life-cycle analysis was conducted to quantify ethanol's GHG emissions. Here we show that fiber ethanol's life-cycle GHG emissions (36–39 g CO2e MJ−1) are close to meeting the US cellulosic biofuel's legislative mandate of 60% GHG emissions reduction relative to gasoline (~94 g CO2e MJ−1), with slightly lower emissions under the nth plant mature fiber technology than under the state of technology (SOT). The co-product, distiller's grain with solubles (DGS), can notably affect fiber ethanol's GHG emissions, and this impact may need to be further examined when evidence of DGS market impacts becomes available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1022
Number of pages10
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • biofuel
  • corn fiber ethanol
  • distiller's grain with solubles
  • life cycle analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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