Proposed Rulemaking For Renewable Fuel Standard Acknowledges Need For More Science
Ethanol Expert Dr. Steffen Mueller Says Peer Review Process Critical
Our UIC Energy Resources Center team has conducted several scientific studies on land use effects for corn ethanol and the results of that work lead us to conclude that the consideration of indirect land use effects today would be premature.
Our detailed studies of land use requirements surrounding an ethanol plant indicate that indirect land use effects differ between manufacturing plants (based on plant location, agricultural practices, etc.) and that these differences are not captured in current models. Furthermore, we have published a study of underutilized ethanol technologies that if ubiquitous throughout manufacturing, would alter the fossil fuel requirements and co-products produced with ethanol and thereby greatly shift the global warming and land use impact of corn-based biofuels
Our latest work (by Messrs. Copenhaver and Mueller) looks at the limitations of satellite imaging technology in assessing indirect land use effects. We have observed that the error range of certain technologies relied upon today to provide indirect land use data in some cases exceeds the indirect effects they purport to claim.
Every day science moves closer to a better understanding of indirect land use effects. The EPA’s commitment to transparency and scientific review is pragmatic and consistent with the Administration’s stated goal – which the broad scientific community supports — that rule making be based on sound science.
Dr. Mueller is a Principal Research economist at UIC’s Energy Resources Center where he is directing the biofuels and bioenergy research efforts. He is also a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UIC. The Energy Resources Center is an interdisciplinary public service, research, and special projects organization dedicated to improving energy efficiency and the environment.