New domestic, renewable energy resources must be considered to increase energy security in the U.S. Ethanol production through second-generation (cellulosic) feedstocks will help the U.S. meet the legislative Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022. However, conversion of cropland to meet the cellulosic feedstock production goals may have unforeseen environmental consequences.
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This report provides a status of the markets and technology development involved in growing a domestic bioenergy economy. It compiles and integrates information to provide a snapshot of the current state and historical trends influencing the development of bioenergy markets. This information is intended for policy-makers as well as technology developers and investors tracking bioenergy developments. It also highlights some of the key energy and regulatory drivers of bioenergy markets. This report is supported by the U.S.
In July 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) released a request for information (RFI) to seek input from industry, academia, national laboratories, and other biofuels and bioproducts stakeholders to identify existing capabilities to produce lignocellulosic sugars and lignin for use by the research community. The purpose of this RFI is to develop a comprehensive list of suppliers who are willing and able to produce and sell cellulosic sugar and/or lignin for use by the research community.
This 2016 Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP) sets forth the goals and structure of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). It identifies the research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities the Office will focus on over the next five years and outlines why these activities are important to meeting the energy and sustainability challenges facing the nation. This MYPP is intended for use as an operational guide to help the Office manage and coordinate its activities, as well as a resource to help communicate its mission and goals to stakeholders and the public.
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.
This paper analyzes the rural Chinese biomass supply system and models supply chain operations according to U.S. concepts of logistical unit operations: harvest and collection, storage, transportation, preprocessing, and handling and queuing. In this paper, we quantify the logistics cost of corn stover and sweet sorghum in China under different scenarios. We analyze three scenarios of corn stover logistics from northeast China and three scenarios of sweet sorghum stalks logistics from Inner Mongolia in China.
Pioneer cellulosic biorefineries across the United States rely on a conventional feedstock supply system based on one-year contracts with local growers, who harvest, locally store, and deliver feedstock in low-density format to the conversion facility. While the conventional system is designed for high biomass yield areas, pilot scale operations have experienced feedstock supply shortages and price volatilities due to reduced harvests and competition from other industries.
In-field measurements of direct soil greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions provide critical data for quantifying the net energy efficiency and economic feasibility of crop residue-based bioenergy production systems. A major challenge to such assessments has been the paucity of field studies addressing the effects of crop residue removal and associated best practices for soil management (i.e., conservation tillage) on soil emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4).
Economic, environmental, and energy independence issues are contributing to rising fossil fuel prices, petroleum supply concerns, and a growing interest in biomass feedstocks as renewable energy sources. Potential feedstocks include perennial grasses, timber, and annual grain crops with our focus being on corn (Zea mays L.) stover. A plot-scale study evaluating stover removal was initiated in 2008 on a South Carolina Coastal Plain Coxville/Rains–Goldsboro–Lynchburg soil association site.
To prepare for a 2014 launch of commercial scale cellulosic ethanol production from corn/maize (Zea mays L.) stover, POET-DSM near Emmetsburg, IA has been working with farmers, researchers, and equipment dealers through “Project Liberty” on harvest, transportation, and storage logistics of corn stover for the past several years. Our objective was to evaluate seven stover harvest strategies within a 50-ha (125 acres) site on very deep, moderately well to poorly drained Mollisols, developed in calcareous glacial till.
Harvesting crop residues for bioenergy or bio-product production may decrease soil organic matter (SOM) content, resulting in the degradation of soil physical properties and ultimately soil productivity. Using the least limiting water range (LLWR) to evaluate improvement or degradation of soil physical properties in response to SOM changes has generally been hampered by the extensive amount of data needed to parameterize limiting factor models for crop production.
Rigorous economic analyses are crucial for the successful launch of lignocellulosic bioenergy facilities in 2014 and beyond. Our objectives are to (1) introduce readers to a query tool developed to use data downloaded from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) REAPnet for constructing enterprise budgets and (2) demonstrate the use of the query tool with REAPnet data from two field research sites (Ames, IA, and Mandan, ND) for evaluating short-term economic performance of various biofuel feedstock production strategies.
Peer-reviewed letter written in response to a March 11, 2015, letter to US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy (http://bit.ly/1HsSaWf), in which the Ecological Society of America objected to EPA’s proposal that sustainably harvested woody biomass could reduce carbon emissions.
As U.S. energy policy turns to bioenergy, and second-generation biofuels in particular, to foster energy security and environmental benefits, consideration should be given to the implications of climate risk for the incipient bioenergy industry. As a case-in-point, we review evidence from the 2012 U.S. drought, underscoring the risk of extreme weather events to the agricultural sector in general, and the bioenergy supply chain in particular, including reductions in feedstock production and higher prices for agricultural commodities and biofuels.
a b s t r a c t
As U.S. energy policy turns to bioenergy, and second-generation biofuels in particular, to
foster energy security and environmental benefits, consideration should be given to the
implications of climate risk for the incipient bioenergy industry. As a case-in-point, we
review evidence from the 2012 U.S. drought, underscoring the risk of extreme weather
events to the agricultural sector in general, and the bioenergy supply chain in particular,
including reductions in feedstock production and higher prices for agricultural
Difficulties in accessing high-quality data on trace gas fluxes and performance of bioenergy/bioproduct feedstocks limit the ability of researchers and others to address environmental impacts of agriculture and the potential to produce feedstocks. To address those needs, the GRACEnet (Greenhouse gas Reduction through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement network) and REAP (Renewable Energy Assessment Project) research programs were initiated by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
Second generation ethanol bioconversion technologies are under demonstration-scale development for the production of lignocellulosic fuels to meet the US federal Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS2). Bioconversion technology utilizes the fermentable sugars generated from the cellulosic fraction of the feedstock, and most commonly assumes that the lignin fraction may be used as a source of thermal and electrical energy.
This study provides a spatially comprehensive assessment of sustainable agricultural residue removal potential across the United States for bioenergy production. Earlier assessments determining the quantity of agricultural residue that could be sustainably removed for bioenergy production at the regional and national scale faced a number of computational limitations. These limitations included the number of environmental factors, the number of land management scenarios, and the spatial fidelity and spatial extent of the assessment.
Landscape design provides an approach under which bioenergy production systems can be integrated into other components of the land, environment and socioeconomic system. Landscape design is a spatially explicit collaborative plan for resource allocation and management. It should be applied to a particular area and developed with the involvement of key stakeholders.