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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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.
Link to the website with documentation and download instructions for the PNNL Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), a community model or long-term, global energy, agriculture, land use, and emissions. BioEnergy production, transformation, and use is an integral part of GCAM modeling and scenarios.
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).
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.
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.
Understanding the environmental effects of alternative fuel production is critical to characterizing the sustainability of energy resources to inform policy and regulatory decisions. The magnitudes of these environmental effects vary according to the intensity and scale of fuel production along each step of the supply chain. We compare the spatial extent and temporal duration of ethanol and gasoline production processes and environmental effects based on a literature review and then synthesize the scale differences on space-time diagrams.
Indicators of the environmental sustainability of biofuel production, distribution, and use should be selected, measured, and interpreted with respect to the context in which they are used. The context of a sustainability assessment includes the purpose, the particular biofuel production and distribution system, policy conditions, stakeholder values, location, temporal influences, spatial scale, baselines, and reference scenarios.
Eucalyptus is a fast-growing tree native to Australia and could be used to supply biomass for bioenergy and other purposes along the coastal regions of the southeastern United States (USA). At a farmgate price of $66 dry Mg−1, a potential supply of 27 to 41.3 million dry Mg year−1 of Eucalyptus could be produced on about 1.75 million ha in the southeastern USA. A proposed suite of indicators provides a practical and consistent way to measure the sustainability of a particular situation where Eucalyptus might be grown as a feedstock for conversion to bioenergy.
Potential global biodiversity impacts from near-term gasoline production are compared to biofuel, a renewable liquid transportation fuel expected to substitute for gasoline in the near term (i.e., from now until c.