At Argonne National Laboratory, we work to discover and invent revolutionary green technologies that will build a new energy economy. But while we seek tomorrow’s game-changing technologies, we also look for interim solutions that will help us to protect our environment today.
A proposed City of Chicago ordinance that would require most gas stations to offer E15 fuel – 15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline – is one example of a smaller step we can take now to increase our use of renewable energy sources and limit greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change.
Ethanol is a biofuel, which means it is made from corn and other plants instead of from petroleum. Right now, the United States produces more than 13 billion gallons of ethanol a year – mostly from corn. That domestically produced ethanol now displaces more than 10 percent of our gasoline use. Soon, next-generation manufacturing facilities will begin producing ethanol using agricultural waste, such as corn stalks.
As compared with gasoline, burning ethanol substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the whole process of converting corn into ethanol and transporting it to city gas stations – going from field to wheels – consumes far less petroleum than refining and shipping gasoline…