Ethanol as Fuel: Energy, Carbon Dioxide Balances, and Ecological Footprint

Dias De Oliveira, Marcelo E.; Vaughan, Burton E.; Rykiel Jr., Edward J.
July 2005
BioScience;Jul2005, Vol. 55 Issue 7, p593
Academic Journal
The major contributor to global warming is considered to he the high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide (CO2, caused by the burning of fossil fuel. Thus, to mitigate CO2 emissions, renewable energy sources such as ethanol have been seen as a promising alternative to fossil fuel consumption. Brazil was the world's first nation to run a large-scale program for using ethanol as fuel. Eventually, the United States also developed large-scale production of ethanol. In this study, we compare the benefits and environmental impacts of ethanol fuel, in Brazil and in the United States, using the ecological footprint tool developed by Wackernagel and Rees. We applied the STELLA model to gauge possible outcomes as a function of variations in the ethanol production scenario.


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