The objective of this research project was to assess whether standard forestry best management practices (BMPs) are sufficient to protect stream water quality from intensive silviculture associated with short-rotation woody crop (SRWC) production for bioenergy. Forestry BMPs are designed to prevent the movement of deleterious quantities of nutrients, herbicides, sediments, and thermal energy (sunlight hitting stream channels) from clear-cuts and plantations to surface waters.
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This is a joint report between three national labs, ORNL, INL, and ANL, that describes outcomes from a workshop. The Bioenergy Solutions to Gulf Hypoxia Workshop gathered stakeholders from industry, academia, national laboratories, and U.S. federal agencies to discuss how biomass feedstocks could help decrease nutrient loadings to the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf), a root cause of the large hypoxic zone that forms each summer.
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.
One approach to assessing progress towards sustainability makes use of multiple indicators spanning the
environmental, social, and economic dimensions of the system being studied. Diverse indicators have different
units of measurement, and normalization is the procedure employed to transform differing indicator
measures onto similar scales or to unit-free measures. Given the inherent complexity entailed in interpreting
information related to multiple indicators, normalization and aggregation of sustainability indicators
The DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office initiated a collaborative research program between Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) to investigate HOF in late 2013. The program objective was to provide a quantitative picture of the barriers to adoption of HOF and the highly efficient vehicles it enables, and to quantify the potential environmental and economic benefits of the technology.
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.
The Bioenergy Technologies Office of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy sponsored a scoping study to assess the potential of ethanolbased
high octane fuel (HOF) to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
HOF blends used in an engine designed for higher octane have the potential to increase vehicle
energy efficiency through improved knock suppression. When the high-octane blend is made
with 25%–40% ethanol by volume, this energy efficiency improvement is potentially sufficient
Conventional feedstock supply systems exist and have been developed for traditional agriculture and forestry systems. These conventional feedstock supply systems can be effective in high biomass-yielding areas (such as for corn stover in Iowa and plantation-grown pine trees in the southern United States), but they have their limits, particularly with respect to addressing feedstock quality and reducing feedstock supply risk to biorefineries. They also are limited in their ability to efficiently deliver energy crops.
The United States government has been promoting increased use of biofuels, including ethanol from non-food feedstocks, through policies contained in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The objective is to enhance energy security, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and provide economic benefits. However, the United States has reached the ethanol blend wall, where more ethanol is produced domestically than can be blended into standard gasoline. Nearly all ethanol is blended at 10 volume percent (vol%) in gasoline.
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.