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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Analysis of Lifecycle Water Requirements of Transportation Fuels: Corn-based Ethanol - Model Description


Deriving ethanol from from corn grain and corn cob (crop residue) requires water. This report contains model estimates of the water requirements for ethanol based on default or user inputs of crop evapotranspiration, pre-irrigation water requirements for salt leaching and crop establishment, irrigation methods and the efficiencies of conversion technologies, and projected crop yields. Water requirements also depend upon procedures adopted for calculating co-product credits at various stages of the lifecycle. The model characterizes water requirements in terms of withdrawal and consumption, and source – ground water, surface water, precipitation, and soil moisture.

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