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This is an article from Science Magazine from October 2008. Science-based policy is essential for guiding an environmentally sustainable approach to cellulosic biofuels. The May 2008 passage of the 2008 Farm Bill raises the stakes for biofuel sustainability: A substantial subsidy for the production of cellulosic ethanol starts the United States again down a path with uncertain environmental consequences.

Author(s):
Robertson G. Philip

A working paper review of current approaches to accounting for indirect land-use changes in green house gas balances of biofuels. This report reviews the current effort made worldwide to address this issue. A
description of land-use concepts is first provided (Section 2) followed by a classification of
ILUC sources (Section 3). Then, a discussion on the implications of including ILUC
emissions in the GHG balance of biofuel pathways (Section 4) and a review of methodologies
being developed to quantify indirect land-use change (Section 5) are presented. Section 6

Author(s):
Gnansounou,Edgard

Biofuels from land-rich tropical countries may help displace foreign petroleum imports for many industrialized nations, providing a possible solution to the twin challenges of energy security and climate change. But concern is mounting that crop-based biofuels will increase net greenhouse gas emissions if feedstocks are produced by expanding agricultural lands. Here we quantify the ?carbon payback time? for a range of biofuel crop expansion pathways in the tropics.

Author(s):
Gibbs, H.K.

Land-use changes are frequently indicated to be one of the main human-induced factors influencing the groundwater system. For land-use change, groundwater research has mainly focused on the change in water quality thereby neglecting changes in quantity. The objective of this paper is to assess the impact of land-use changes, from 2000 until 2020, on the hydrological balance and in particular on groundwater quantity, as results from a case study in the Kleine Nete basin, Belgium.

Author(s):
Dams, J.

In this paper we investigate the potential production and implications of a global biofuels industry. We develop alternative approaches to the introduction of land as an economic factor input, in value and physical terms, into a computable general equilibrium framework. Both approach allows us to parameterize biomass production in a manner consistent with agro-engineering information on yields and a ?second generation? cellulosic biomass conversion technology.

Author(s):
Gurgel, Angelo

The harvest of corn stover or herbaceous crops as feedstocks for bioenergy purposes has been shown to have significant benefits from energy and climate change perspectives. There is a potential, however, to adversely impact water and soil quality, especially in Midwestern states where the biomass feedstock production would predominantly occur.

Author(s):
Nelson, Richard

National interests in greater energy independence, concurrent with favorable market forces, have driven increased production of corn-based ethanol in the United States and research into the next generation of biofuels. The trend is changing the national agricultural landscape and has raised concerns about potential impacts on the nation?s water resources. This report examines some of the key issues and identifies opportunities for shaping policies that help to protect water resources.

Author(s):
Schnoor, Jerald

Power generation emits significant amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly carbon dioxide (CO2). Sequestering CO2 from the power plant flue gas can significantly reduce the GHGs from the power plant itself, but this is not the total picture. CO2 capture and sequestration consumes additional energy, thus lowering the plant's fuel-to-electricity efficiency. To compensate for this, more fossil fuel must be procured and consumed to make up for lost capacity.

Author(s):
Spath, Pam

An analysis was performed at NREL to examine the global warming potential and energy balance of power generation from fossil and biomass systems including CO2 sequestration. To get the true environmental picture, a life cycle approach, which takes into account upstream process steps, was applied. Each system maintained the same constant generating capacity and any lost capacity due to CO2 sequestration was accounted for by adding power generation from a natural gas combined-cycle system. This paper discusses the systems examined and gives the net energy and GWP for each system.

Author(s):
Spath, Pam

The generation of electricity, and the consumption of energy in general, often result in adverse effects on the environment. Coal-fired power plants generate over half of the electricity used in the U.S., and therefore play a significant role in any discussion of energy and the environment. By cofiring biomass, currently-operating coal plants have an opportunity to reduce the impact they have, but to what degree, and with what trade-offs? A life cycle assessment (LCA) has been conducted on a coal-fired power system that cofires wood residue.

Author(s):
Spath, Pam

To determine the environmental implications of producing electricity from biomass and coal, life cycle assessments (LCA) have been conducted on systems based on three power generation options: (1) a biomass-fired integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) system, (2) three coal-fired power plant technologies, and (3) a system cofiring waste biomass with coal.

Author(s):
Spath, Pam

Biomass is a significant contributor to the US economy--agriculture, forest and paper products, food and related products account for 5% of our GDP. While the forest products industry self generates some of their energy, other sectors are importers. Bioenergy can contribute to economic development and to the environment. Examples of bioenergy routes suggest that atmospheric carbon can be cycled through biofuels in carefully designed systems for sustainability. Significant potential exists for these options.

Author(s):
Costello, Raymond

The U.S. Department of Energy has supported a research and development program for the establishment of renewable, biomass-derived, liquid fuels for the better part of the last twenty years. These 'biofuels' represent opportunities to respond to uncertainties about our energy security and the future health of our environment. Throughout its history, the Biofuels Program has experienced an ongoing fiscal 'roller coaster'. Funding has ebbed and flowed with changing political and public attitudes about energy.

Author(s):
Sheehan, J.

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 established specific targets for the production of biofuel in the United States. Until advanced technologies become commercially viable, meeting these targets will increase demand for traditional agricultural commodities used to produce ethanol, resulting in land-use, production, and price changes throughout the farm sector. This report summarizes the estimated effects of meeting the EISA targets for 2015 on regional agricultural production and the environment. Meeting EISA targets for ethanol production is estimated to expand U.S.

Author(s):
Malcolm, Scott A.

This paper examines the impact of biofuel expansion on grain utilization and distribution at the state and cropping district level as most of grain producers and handlers are directly influenced by the local changes. We conducted a survey to understand the utilization and flows of corn, ethanol and its co-products, such as dried distillers grains (DDG) in Iowa. Results suggest that the rapidly expanding ethanol industry has a significant impact on corn utilization in Iowa.

Author(s):
Yu, Tun-Hsiang (Edward)

This paper introduces a spatial bioeconomic model for study of potential cellulosic biomass supply at regional scale. By modeling the profitability of alternative crop production practices, it captures the opportunity cost of replacing current crops by cellulosic biomass crops. The model draws upon biophysical crop input-output coefficients, price and cost data, and spatial transportation costs in the context of profit maximization theory. Yields are simulated using temperature, precipitation and soil quality data with various commercial crops and potential new cellulosic biomass crops.

Author(s):
Egbendewe-Mondzozo, Aklesso

Transgenic modification of plants is a key enabling technology for developing sustainable biofeedstocks for biofuels production. Regulatory decisions and the wider acceptance and development of transgenic biofeedstock crops are considered from the context of science-based risk assessment. The risk assessment paradigm for transgenic biofeedstock crops is fundamentally no different from that of current generation transgenic crops, except that the focus of the assessment must consider the unique attributes of a given biofeedstock crop and its environmental release.

Author(s):
Wolt, Jeffrey D.

Soaring global food prices are threatening to push more poor people back below the poverty line; this will probably become aggravated by the serious challenge that increasing population and climate changes are posing for food security. There is growing evidence that human activities involving fossil fuel consumption and land use are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and consequently changing the climate worldwide. The finite nature of fossil fuel reserves is causing concern about energy security and there is a growing interest in the use of renewable energy sources such as biofuels.

Author(s):
Acosta, O.

The aim of this study is to show the impact of different assumptions and methodological choices on the life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) performance of biofuels by providing the results for different key parameters on a consistent basis. These include co-products allocation or system expansion, N2O emissions from crop cultivation, conversion systems and co-product applications and direct land-use change emissions. The results show that the GHG performance of biofuels varies depending on the method applied and the system boundaries selected.

Author(s):
Ric Hoefnagels

The rapidly expanding biofuel industry has changed the fundamentals of U.S. agricultural commodity markets. Increasing ethanol and biodiesel production has generated a fast-growing demand for corn and soybean products, which competes with the well-established domestic livestock industry and foreign buyers. Meanwhile, the co-products of biofuel production are replacing or displacing coarse grains and oilseed meal in feed rations for livestock.

Author(s):
Tun-Hsiang (Edward) Yu