A new study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday found that biofuels made from the residue of harvested corn plants release more greenhouse gases than conventional gasoline does.

The $500,000 study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change, revealed that the biofuel, which was previously believed to be a cleaner oil alternative, releases 7 percent more harmful emissions to the environment and air in the early years compared with gasoline.

According to the Associated Press, biofuels are still better for long-term use but a 2007 energy law would disqualify it as a renewable energy source, which mandates that cellulosic biofuels release 60 percent less carbon pollution than gasoline.

Despite more than $1 billion of federal grants having already gone toward the support of cellulosic biofuels, which are derived from corn residue, the biofuel industry has yet to meet volume targets that were mandated in a previous law.

Administration officials and biofuel industry representatives including Jan Koninckx, the global business director for biorefineries at DuPont, said the report outlines an extreme example of what could happen.

"The core analysis depicts an extreme scenario that no responsible farmer or business would ever employ because it would ruin both the land and the long-term supply of feedstock," Koninckx said. "It makes no agronomic or business sense."

DuPont is expected to produce 30 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol once it completes its $200 million-plus facility in Nevada, Iowa later this year, while nearby farms provide the corn residue.

The company conducted its own review regarding the effects of ethanol on the environment and found that it is more than 100 percent for the environment than gasoline when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, the AP reported.

The Environmental Protection Agency said its analysis of the cellulosic biofuels met the standard in the energy law as well, but Adam Liska, lead author of the study and assistant professor of biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said he knew his research would stir a debate.

"I knew this research would be contentious," Liska said. "I'm amazed it has not come out more solidly until now."