Ethanol, which is made from corn, was previously thought to be carbon-neutral. Researchers calculated that the carbon taken from the atmosphere by growing corn was roughly equal to the carbon put into the atmosphere through burning ethanol.
But John DeCicco, the primary author on the study, said that’s just not true.
“My study shows there was only enough additional carbon to balance out 37% percent of the CO2 emission as opposed to 100%, which is what all the carbon footprint studies assume.”
DeCicco said the previous studies made a calculation error that essentially double-counted the amount of carbon taken out of the atmosphere by growing corn.
He said the study has already sparked debate and he hopes it will push legislators to stop advocating for biofuel use.