With the goal of understanding environmental effects of a growing bioeconomy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), national laboratories, and U.S. Forest Service research laboratories, together with academic and industry collaborators, undertook a study to estimate environmental effects of potential biomass production scenarios in the United States, with an emphasis on agricultural and forest biomass. Potential effects investigated include changes in soil organic carbon (SOC), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water quality and quantity, air emissions, and biodiversity.
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The 2016 Billion-Ton Report: Advancing Domestic Resources for a Thriving Bioeconomy is the third in a series of Energy Department national assessments that have calculated the potential supply of biomass in the United States. The report concludes that the United States has the future potential to produce at least one billion dry tons of biomass resources (composed of agricultural, forestry, waste, and algal materials) on an annual basis without adversely affecting the environment.
The Federal Activities Report on the Bioeconomy has been prepared to emphasize the significant potential for an even stronger U.S. bioeconomy through the production and use of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. Bioeconomy activities have already touched on the interests of many federal agencies and offices. This report is intended to educate the public on the wide-ranging, federally funded activities that are helping to bolster the bioeconomy.
Nitrogen (N) is an important nutrient as it often limits productivity, but in excess can impair water quality. Most studies on watershed N cycling have occurred in upland forested catchments where snowmelt dominates N export; fewer studies have focused on low-relief watersheds that lack snow. We examined watershed N cycling in three adjacent, low-relief watersheds in the Upper Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States to better understand the role of hydrological flowpaths and biological transformations of N at the watershed scale.
The Bioenergy Technologies Office hosted a workshop on Incorporating Bioenergy into Sustainable Landscape Designs on June 24-26 in partnership with Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Landscape design offers a promising means for sustainably increasing bioenergy production while maintaining or enhancing other ecosystem services.