Perennial grasses are touted as sustainable feedstocks for energy production. Such benefits, however, may be offset if excessive nitrogen (N) fertilization leads to economic and environmental issues. Furthermore, as yields respond to changes in climate, nutrient requirements will change, and thus guidance on minimal N inputs is necessary to ensure sustainable bioenergy production.
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Sustainable production of algae will depend on understanding trade-offs at the energy-water nexus. Algal biofuels promise to improve the environmental sustainability profile of renewable energy along most dimensions. In this assessment of potential US freshwater production, we assumed sustainable production along the carbon dimension by simulating placement of open ponds away from high-carbon-stock lands (forest, grassland, and wetland) and near sources of waste CO 2 .
Practicing agriculture decreases downstream water quality when compared to non-agricultural lands. Agricultural watersheds that also grow perennial biofuel feedstocks can be designed to improve water quality compared to agricultural watersheds without perennials. The question then becomes which conservation practices should be employed and where in the landscape should they be situated to achieve water quality objectives when growing biofuel feedstocks.
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.
Ecological disturbances are occurring with greater frequency and intensity than in the past. Under projected shifts in disturbance regimes and patterns of recovery, societal and environmental impacts are expected to be more extreme and to span larger spatial extents. Moreover, preexisting conditions will require a longer time to re‐establish, if they do so at all. The word “unprecedented” is appearing more often in news reporting on droughts, fires, hurricanes, tsunamis, ice storms, and insect outbreaks.
Policy makers are interested in estimates of the potential economic impacts of oil price shocks, particularly during periods of rapid and large increases that accompany severe supply shocks. Literature estimates of the economic impacts of oil price shocks, summarized by the oil price elasticity of GDP, span a very wide range due to both fundamental economic and methodological factors. This paper presents a quantitative meta-analysis of the oil price elasticity of GDP for net oil importing countries, with a focus on the United States (US).
Bio-oil derived via fast pyrolysis is being developed as a renewable fuel option for petroleum distillates. The compatibility of neat bio-oil with 18 plastic types was evaluated using neat diesel fuel as the baseline.
Several crops have recently been identified as potential dedicated bioenergy feedstocks for the production of power, fuels, and bioproducts. Despite being identified as early as the 1980s, no systematic work has been undertaken to characterize the spatial distribution of their long‐term production potentials in the United states.
Energy market conditions have shifted dramatically since the USA renewable fuel standards (RFS1 in 2005; RFS2 in 2007) were enacted. The USA has transitioned from an increasing dependence on oil imports to abundant domestic oil production. In addition, increases in the use of ethanol, the main biofuel currently produced in the USA, is now limited by the blend wall constraint. Given this, the current study evaluates alternative biofuel deployment scenarios in the USA, accounting for changes in market conditions.
This analysis estimates the cost of selected oil and biomass supply shocks for producers and consumers in the light-duty vehicle fuel market under various supply chain configurations using a mathematical programing model, BioTrans. The supply chain configurations differ by whether they include selected flexibility levers: multi-feedstock biorefineries; advanced biomass logistics; and the ability to adjust ethanol content of low-ethanol fuel blends, from E10 to E15 or E05.
We explore the role of biofuels in mitigating the negative impacts of oil supply shocks on fuel markets under a range of oil price trajectories and biofuel blending mandate levels. Using a partial equilibrium model of US biofuels production and petroleum fuels trade, we discuss the adjustments in light‐duty vehicle fuel mix, fuel prices, and renewable identification number (RIN) prices following each shock as well as the distribution of shock costs across market participants. Ethanol is used as both a complement (blend component in E10) and a substitute (in E15 and E85 blends) to gasoline.
The ongoing debate about costs and benefits of wood‐pellet based bioenergy production in the southeastern United States (SE USA) requires an understanding of the science and context influencing market decisions associated with its sustainability. Production of pellets has garnered much attention as US exports have grown from negligible amounts in the early 2000s to 4.6 million metric tonnes in 2015. Currently, 98% of these pellet exports are shipped to Europe to displace coal in power plants.
Wood pellet exports from the Southeastern United States (SE US) to Europe have been increasing in response to European Union member state policies to displace coal with renewable biomass for electricity generation. An understanding of the interactions among SE US forest markets, forest management, and forest ecosystem services is required to quantify the effects of pellet production compared to what would be expected under a reference case or ‘counterfactual scenario’ without pellet production.
Published in Bioenergy and Land Use Change (pp. 141–153). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
To date, feedstock resource assessments have evaluated cellulosic and algal feedstocks independently, without consideration of demands for, and resource allocation to, each other. We assess potential land competition between algal and terrestrial feedstocks in the United States, and evaluate a scenario in which 41.5 × 109 L yr−1 of second-generation biofuels are produced on pastureland, the most likely land base where both feedstock types may be deployed.
We propose a causal analysis framework to increase understanding of land-use change (LUC) and the reliability of LUC models. This health-sciences-inspired framework can be applied to determine probable causes of LUC in the context of bioenergy. Calculations of net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for LUC associated with biofuel production are critical in determining whether a fuel qualifies as a biofuel or advanced biofuel category under regional (EU), national (US, UK), and state (California) regulations.
Understanding the complex interactions among food security, bioenergy sustainability, and resource management requires a focus on specific contextual problems and opportunities. The United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals place a high priority on food and energy security; bioenergy plays an important role in achieving both goals.
Goal: Enable long- term supply of sustainable feedstock & bioenergy – Identify key indicators of how bioenergy production affects environmental, social & economic sustainability – Determine how those effects can be quantified – Demonstrate quantitative approach to assessment of progress toward sustainability in case studies
INTRODUCTION The U.S. 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.
Excess nutrients from agriculture in the Mississippi River drainage, USA have degraded water quality in
freshwaters and contributed to anoxic conditions in downstream estuaries. Consequently, water quality is a
significant concern associated with conversion of lands to bioenergy production. This study focused on the
Arkansas-White-Red river basin (AWR), one of five major river basins draining to the Mississippi River. The
AWR has a strong precipitation gradient from east to west, and advanced cellulosic feedstocks are projected to