Abstract: Cellulosic-based biofuels are needed to help meet energy needs and to strengthen rural investment and development in the midwestern United States (US). This analysis identifies 11 categories of indicators to measure progress toward sustainability that should be monitored to determine if ecosystem and social services are being maintained, enhanced, or disrupted by production, harvest, storage, and transport of cellulosic feedstock.
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There is an inextricable link between energy production and food/feed/fiber cultivation with available water resources. Currently in the United States, agriculture represents the largest sector of consumptivewater usemaking up 80.7%of the total. Electricity generation in the U.S. is projected to increase by 24 % in the next two decades and globally, the production of liquid transportation fuels are forecasted to triple over the next 25-years, having significant impacts on the import/export market and global economies.
A framework for selecting and evaluating indicators of bioenergy sustainability is presented.
This framework is designed to facilitate decision-making about which indicators are useful for assessing
sustainability of bioenergy systems and supporting their deployment. Efforts to develop sustainability
indicators in the United States and Europe are reviewed. The fi rst steps of the framework for
indicator selection are defi ning the sustainability goals and other goals for a bioenergy project or program,
Understanding the development of the biofuels industry in the United States is important to policymakers and industry. The Biomass Scenario Model (BSM) is a system dynamics model of the biomass-to-biofuels system that can be used to explore policy effects on biofuels development. Because of the complexity of the model, as well as the wide range of possible future conditions that affect biofuels industry development, we have not developed a single reference case but instead developed a set of specific scenarios that provide various contexts for our analyses.
The Biomass Scenario Model (BSM) is a system dynamics model that represents the entire biomass-to-biofuels supply chain, from feedstock to fuel use. The BSM is a complex model that has been used for extensive analyses; the model and its results can be better understood if input data used for initialization and calibration are well-characterized. It has been carefully validated and calibrated against the available data, with data gaps filled in using expert opinion and internally consistent assumed values.
The US Congress passed the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) seven years ago. Since then, biofuels have gone from darling to scapegoat for many environmentalists, policy makers, and the general public. The reasons for this shift are complex and include concerns about environmental degradation, uncertainties about impact on food security, new access to fossil fuels, and overly optimistic timetables. As a result, many people have written off biofuels.
The sustainability of future bioenergy production rests on more than continual improvements in its environmental, economic, and social impacts. The emergence of new biomass feedstocks, an expanding array of conversion pathways, and expected increases in overall bioenergy production are connecting diverse technical, social, and policy communities. These stakeholder groups have different—and potentially conflicting—values and cultures, and therefore different goals and decision making processes. Our aim is to discuss the implications of this diversity for bioenergy researchers.
In support of the national goals for biofuel use in the United States, numerous technologies have been developed that convert biomass to biofuels. Some of these biomass to biofuel conversion technology pathways are operating at commercial scales, while others are in earlier stages of development. The advancement of a new pathway toward commercialization involves various types of progress, including yield improvements, process engineering, and financial performance.
Transitioning to a larger biofuels industry requires a robust biomass-to-biofuels system of systems that operates within existing agriculture, forestry, energy, and transportation markets. Using the existing fuel supply chain infrastructure as a framework, this paper discusses a vision for biomass-based fuels and the challenges associated with a massive market and infrastructure transformation.
Biomass Scenario Model Zotero References
National Renewable Energy Laboratory