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 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
Social and economic indicators can be used to support design of sustainable energy systems. Indicators representing categories of social well-being, energy security, external trade, profitability, resource conservation, and social acceptability have not yet been measured in published sustainability assessments for commercial algal biofuel facilities.
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.
This project looks at the potential of blending ethanol with natural gasoline to produce Flex-Fuels (ASTM D5798-13a) and high-octane, mid-level ethanol blends. Eight natural gasoline samples were collected from pipeline companies or ethanol producers around the United States.
The objective of this work was to measure knock resistance metrics for ethanol-hydrocarbon blends with a primary focus on development of methods to measure the heat of vaporization (HOV). Blends of ethanol at 10 to 50 volume percent were prepared with three gasoline blendstocks and a natural gasoline.
High-octane fuels (HOFs) such as mid-level ethanol blends can be leveraged to design vehicles with increased engine efficiency, but producing these fuels at refineries may be subject to energy efficiency penalties. It has been questioned whether, on a well-to-wheels (WTW) basis, the use of HOFs in the vehicles designed for HOF has net greenhouse gas (GHG) emission benefits.