Logging and mill residues are currently the largest sources of woody biomass for bioenergy in the US, but short-rotation woody crops (SRWCs) are expected to become a larger contributor to biomass production, primarily on lands marginal for food production. However, there are very few studies on the environmental effects of SRWCs, and most have been conducted at stand rather than at watershed scales.
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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.
Advanced biomass feedstocks tend to provide more non-fuel ecosystem goods and services (ES) than 1st-generation alternatives. We explore the idea that payment for non-fuel ES could facilitate market penetration of advanced biofuels by closing the profitability gap. As a specific example, we discuss the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB), where 1st-generation bioenergy feedstocks (e.g., corn-grain) have been integrated into the agricultural landscape.
Join the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office on Dec. 6, 2018, at 1 p.m. CST for a webinar on “Biomass Production and Water Quality in the Mississippi River Basin.” In this webinar, Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory will jointly present modeling and analyses of potential implications of biomass production on nutrients and sediments in each of the six tributaries of the Mississippi River Basin.
Model-data comparisons are always challenging, especially when working at a large spatial scale and evaluating multiple response variables. We implemented the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to simulate water quantity and quality for the Tennessee River Basin.
This dataset reports the pre-treatment hydrology and pre- and post-treatment water quality data from a watershed-scale experiment that is evaluating the effects of growing short-rotation loblolly pine for bioenergy on water quality and quantity in the southeastern U.S. The experiment is taking place on the Savannah River Site, near New Ellenton, South Carolina, USA. Beginning in 2010, water quality and hydrology were measured for two years in 3 watersheds (R, B, C).
Global development of the biofuel sector is proceeding rapidly. Biofuel feedstock continues to be produced from a variety of agricultural and forestry resources. Large-scale feedstock production for biofuels could change the landscape structure and affect water quantity, water quality, and ecosystem services in positive or negative ways. With rapid advancements in computation technologies and science, field- and watershed-scale models have become a vital tool for quantifying water quality and ecosystem responses to bioenergy landscape and management practices.
Water consumption and water quality continue to be key factors affecting environmental sustainability in biofuel production. This review covers the findings from biofuel water analyses published over the past 2 years to underscore the progress made, and to highlight advancements in understanding the interactions among increased production and water demand, water resource availability, and potential changes in water quality. We focus on two key areas: water footprint assessment and watershed modeling.
For analyzing sustainability of algal biofuels, we identify 16 environmental indicators that fall into six categories: soil quality, water quality and quantity, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, and productivity. Indicators are selected to be practical, widely applicable, predictable in response, anticipatory of future changes, independent of scale, and responsive to management.