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 Regional Feedstock Partnership (the Partnership) has published a report to summarize its accomplishments from 2008–2014. DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) partnered with the Sun Grant Initiative and Idaho National Laboratory to co-author this report.
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.
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.