Greater Transportation Energy and GHG Offsets from Bioelectricity Than Ethanol. J. E. Campbell, D. B. Lobell, C. B. Field.
The quantity of land available to grow biofuel crops without impacting food prices or greenhouse gas emissions from land conversion is limited. Therefore, bioenergy should maximize land use efficiency when addressing transportation and climate change goals. Biomass could power either internal combustion or electric vehicles, but the relative land use efficiency of these two energy pathways is not well quantified. Here we show that bioelectricity outperforms ethanol across a range of feedstocks, conversion technologies, and vehicle classes. Bioelectricity produces an average 81% more transportation kilometers and 108% more emissions offsets per unit area cropland than cellulosic ethanol. These results suggest that alternative bioenergy pathways have large differences in how efficiently they use the available land to achieve transportation and climate goals.