Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Char Miller

Reader 2

Colin Robins

Reader 3

Marc Los Huertos

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2023 Emily J Rinn


Decarbonizing the aviation sector remains one of the most prevalent obstacles in reducing the United States’ significant contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. Launched in 2021, the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Grand Challenge aims to supply enough fuel to meet 100% of demand by 2050 through reducing its production costs and enhancing its sustainable practices. Corn ethanol feedstock has been proposed to make up as much as half of all SAF production in the 2030 benchmark. This thesis explores the assemblage of corn ethanol – from its true environmental impacts, role in the future SAF market, to research claiming corn ethanol’s environmental benefits that is perforated with conflict of interest. The paper culminates in a call to discontinue the subsidization of corn ethanol under the guise of environmental benefits and a warning against its infiltration into the SAF market.


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