This year’s American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual conference coming up Aug. 18-20, in Minneapolis, offers a collection of general sessions that address the industry’s most timely topics, including a presentation from University of Illinois at Chicago’s Dr. Steffen Mueller, principal economist of the Energy Resources Center, that broaches the hype surrounding electric vehicles (EVs) and the role higher ethanol blends can and should play in decarbonizing the U.S. transportation sector.
On the morning of Friday, Aug. 20, Mueller will share some of his recent work which demonstrates the need for a truly technology-neutral approach to assessing the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits and costs of EVs compared to low carbon biofuels.
“The latest University of Illinois at Chicago research compares emissions from gasoline, biofuels, and electric vehicles,” said Mueller. “We find that in many states across the Midwest vehicles with mid-level blend ethanol and E85 provide similar greenhouse gas savings as electric vehicles, and both are good technologies. But, for electric vehicles, emissions savings vary by season and depend on the time-of-day charging, which is often not reflected in emissions comparisons.”
Mueller added that EVs should be held to the same standard as biofuel vehicle technologies. “The latter received substantial scrutiny during the development of the Renewable Fuel Standard and California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and its environmental benefits are well understood,” he said.
Mueller has conducted extensive research on land use change and lifecycle analysis, as well as how the blending of ethanol into gasoline beneficially substitutes for carcinogens like benzene, toluene, xylene, and other harmful aromatics that are emitted into the atmosphere.