Low-Carbon Futures for Bioethylene in the United States

Foster, Gillian Joanne (2019) Low-Carbon Futures for Bioethylene in the United States. Energies, 12 (10). p. 1958. ISSN 1996-1073

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Abstract

The manufacture of the chemical ethylene, a key ingredient in plastics, currently depends on fossil-fuel-derived carbon and generates significant greenhouse gas emissions. Substituting ethylene's fossil fuel feedstock with alternatives is important for addressing the challenge of global climate change. This paper compares four scenarios for meeting future ethylene supply under differing societal approaches to climate change based on the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways. The four scenarios use four perspectives: (1) a sustainability-focused pathway that demands a swift transition to a bioeconomy within 30 years; (2) a regional energy-focused pathway that supports broad biomass use; (3) a fossil-fuel development pathway limited to corn grain; and (4) a fossil-fuel development pathway limited to corn grain and corn stover. Each scenario is developed using the latest scientifically informed future feedstock analyses from the 2016 Billion-Ton report interpreted with perspectives on the future of biomass from recent literature. The intent of this research is to examine how social, economic, and ecological changes determining ethylene supply fit within biophysical boundaries. This new approach to the ethylene feedstocks conundrum finds that phasing out fossil fuels as the main source of U.S. ethylene is possible if current cellulosic ethanol production expands.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: ethylene; bioeconomy; sustainable biomass; socio-economic scenarios; climate change
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Ecological Economics
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: Gertraud Novotny
Date Deposited: 31 May 2019 09:21
Last Modified: 31 May 2019 09:27
Related URLs:
FIDES Link: https://bach.wu.ac.at/d/research/results/91041/
URI: https://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/6975

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