A spatially and temporally explicit life cycle inventory of air pollutants from gasoline and ethanol in the United States

Christopher W. Tessum, Julian D. Marshall, Jason D. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

The environmental health impacts of transportation depend in part on where and when emissions occur during fuel production and combustion. Here we describe spatially and temporally explicit life cycle inventories (LCI) of air pollutants from gasoline, ethanol derived from corn grain, and ethanol from corn stover. Previous modeling for the U.S. by Argonne National Laboratory (GREET: Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation) suggested that life cycle emissions are generally higher for ethanol from corn grain or corn stover than for gasoline. Our results show that for ethanol, emissions are concentrated in the Midwestern "Corn Belt". We find that life cycle emissions from ethanol exhibit different temporal patterns than from gasoline, reflecting seasonal aspects of farming activities. Enhanced chemical speciation beyond current GREET model capabilities is also described. Life cycle fine particulate matter emissions are higher for ethanol from corn grain than for ethanol from corn stover; for black carbon, the reverse holds. Overall, our results add to existing state-of-the-science transportation fuel LCI by providing spatial and temporal disaggregation and enhanced chemical speciation, thereby offering greater understanding of the impacts of transportation fuels on human health and opening the door to advanced air dispersion modeling of fuel life cycles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11408-11417
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume46
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 16 2012

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