Michigan Technological University Sustainable Futures Institute
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931
Phone: 906.487.3612
Fax: 906.487.2943
e-mail: sfi@mtu.edu


Expanded Life Cycle Assessments of Biofuels, Petroleum, Diesel, and Synthetic Diesel: Screening and Detailed Assessments

Principal Investigator: David Shonnard
Sponsor: Universal Oil Products, LLC
Award Amount: $79,448
Project Duration: 1/1/2008 - 8/31/2009
Project Summary: Alternative bio-based transportation fuels have a great potential to decrease climate change emissions from vehicular transportation.  The magnitude of this emission reduction can only be accurately determined through a comprehensive evaluation of the biofuel production and use systems using the methods of life cycle assessment (LCA).  This study is quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions and fossil energy consumption of emerging biofuels such as biodiesel, green diesel, synthesis diesel, and ethanol and comparing them to conventional diesel refined from crude oil. The study  focuses in particular on the source of plant oil feedstock and on inventory allocation methods, but also considers land use change emissions and on-farm releases of N2O, a potent GHG.  Another area of interest is gaining life cycle perspectives about additional alternative fuels, such as green jet fuel, synthetic diesel derived from coal and/or biomass, and synthetic gasoline derived from the pyrolyis and hydrogenation of biomass.


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