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Biofuel Production

This workshop examines the potential benefits, feasibility, and barriers to the use of biofuels in place of heavy fuel oil (HFO) and marine gas oil for marine vessels. More than 90% of world’s shipped goods
travel by marine cargo vessels powered by internal combustion (diesel) engines using primarily low-cost residual HFO, which is high in sulfur content. Recognizing that marine shipping is the largest source of
anthropogenic sulfur emissions and is a significant source of other pollutants including particulates, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide (CO2), the International Maritime Organization enacted regulations to
lower the fuel sulfur content from 3.5 wt.% to 0.5 wt.% in 2020. These regulations require ship operators either to use higher-cost, low-sulfur HFO or to seek other alternatives for reducing sulfur emissions (i.e.,
scrubbers, natural gas, distillates, and/or biofuels). The near-term options for shipowners to comply with regulations include fueling with low-sulfur HFO or distillate fuels or installing emissions control systems.
However, few refineries are equipped to produce low-sulfur HFO. Likewise, the current production rates of distillates do not allow the necessary expansion required to fuel the world fleet of shipping vessels
(which consume around 330 million metric tons). This quantity is more than twice that used in the United States for cars and trucks. The other near-term option is to install emission control systems, which also
requires a significant investment. All of these options significantly increase operational costs. Because of such costs, biofuels have become an attractive alternative since they are inherently low in sulfur and
potentially also offer greenhouse gas benefits. Based on this preliminary assessment, replacing HFO in large marine vessels with minimally processed, heavy biofuels appears to have potential as a path to
reduced emissions of sulfur, CO2, and criteria emissions. Realizing this opportunity will require deeper knowledge of (1) the combustion characteristics of biofuels in marine applications, (2) their compatibility
for blending with conventional marine fuels (including HFO), (3) needs and costs for scaling up production and use, and (4) a systems assessment of their life cycle environmental impacts and costs. It is
recommended that a research program investigating each of these aspects be undertaken to better assess the efficacy of biofuels for marine use.

Keywords
Publication Year
Organization
Lab
Bioenergy Category
Author
Mike Kass , Zia Abdullah , Mary Biddy , Corinne Drennan , Troy Hawkins , Susanne Jones , Johnathan Holladay , Dough Longman , Emily Newes , Tim Theiss , Tom Thompson , Michael Wang
Funded from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office.

Producing renewable fuel from dedicated energy crops, such as switchgrass, has the potential to generate localized environmental benefits. This study uses high-resolution spatial data for west Tennessee to quantify the effects of producing switchgrass for cellulosic ethanol on the grey water footprint (GWF), or the amount of freshwater needed to dilute nitrate leachate to a safe level, relative to existing agricultural production. In addition, the estimated cost and GWF are incorporated in a mixed-integer multi-objective optimization model to derive the efficient frontier of the feedstock supply chain and determine a switchgrass supply chain that achieves the greatest reduction in GWF at the lowest cost. Results suggest that background nitrate concentration in ambient water and the types of agricultural land converted to switchgrass production influence the extent of the GWF. The average GWF of switchgrass in the study area ranges between 131.8 L L−1 and 145.9 L L−1 of ethanol, which falls into the range of estimated GWF of other lignocellulosic biomass feedstock in the literature. Also, the average cost of reducing GWF from the feedstock supply chain identified by the compromise solution method is $0.94 m−3 in the region. A tradeoff between biofuel production costs and reduced nitrate loading in groundwater is driven by differences in the agricultural land converted to feedstock production. Our findings illustrate the energy-water-food nexus in the development of a local bioenergy sector and provide a management strategy associated with land use choices for the supply of energy crops. However, the water quality improvements associated with displacing crop with feedstock production in one region could be offset by expanded or more intensive agricultural production in other regions.

Publication Year
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.09.070
Contact Person
Jia Zhong
Contact Organization
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Bioenergy Category
Author
Zhong, J. , T. E. Yu , C. D. Clark , B. C. English , J. A. Larson , C. L. Cheng

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), a native of the North American prairies, has been selected for bioenergy research. With a focus on biomass yield improvement, this study aim (i) to estimate the genetic variation in biomass yield and important agronomic traits in ‘Alamo’, (ii) to determine correlations between biomass yield and agronomic traits, and (iii) to compare efficiency of phenotypic selection from a sward plot and advanced cycle half-sibs (ACHS) on the basis of space-plant performance. Sixty-two Alamo half-sib families (AHS) from a 4-yr-old Alamo sward and 20 advanced cycle half-sib families (ACHS) were evaluated in replicated field trials under simulated swards in Knoxville and Crossville, TN. Results showed significant variation (P < 0.05) among AHS for biomass yield, tillering ability, and spring vigor, suggesting the importance of additive genetic variation in these traits. Overall mean biomass yield of AHS was not different from the Alamo control, demonstrating the inefficiency of phenotypic selection from swards. Mean biomass yield of ACHS was 15 and 20% less than that of the control and AHS, respectively. Such results could be attributable to the influence of environment and genotype × environment interaction. However, results showed great potential for biomass yield improvement through selection on the basis of family performance. Using 10% selection intensity, parental control of two, and a narrow-sense heritability estimate of 0.11, gain per cycle selection from half-sib family selection is estimated to be 23%. Spring vigor showed potential use for indirect selection due to its high genetic correlation (rG = 0.75) with biomass yield. However, it is impeded by the low heritability estimate (h2 = 0.34).

Publication Year
Bioenergy Category
Author
Dalid, C. , A. M. Saxton , F. L. Allen , V. R. Pantalone , S. Nayak , H. Bhandari

on environment friendly and socio-economically sustainable renewable energy sources. However, commercial production of bioenergy is constrained by biomass supply uncertainty and associated costs. This study presents an integrated approach to determining the optimal biofuel supply chain considering biomass yield uncertainty. A two-stage stochastic mixed integer linear programming is utilized to minimize the expected system cost while incorporating yield uncertainty in the strategic level decisions related to biomass production and biorefinery investment.

Publication Year
Bioenergy Category
Author
Sharma, B. P. , T. E. Yu , B. C. English , C. Boyer , J. A. Larson

Despite of the key role that short rotation woody crops (SRWC) play in supporting bioenergy and the bioeconomy, questions arise about the sustainability of bioenergy. Is it net energy efficient? Is bioenergy carbon neutral? Do SRWC plantations adversely affect food security by competing for land with agriculture? How will SRWC affect biodiversity and provision of environmental services? Answers are elusive and definitive answers require considering specific technology applied at a specific location. Thus, identifying where dedicated SRWC plantations would be viable in terms of biological productivity and economic attractiveness is a necessary first step in order to begin assessing their sustainability. We present a modeling framework using a process-based growth model, 3PG, and geographic information system technology to begin to answer sustainability questions about bioenergy plantations in the southern United States. We assessed potential profitability of four candidate SRWC species, Pinus taeda, Populus deltoides, Eucalyptus grandis, and Eucalyptus benthamii. Estimated yield (mean annual increment) was evaluated as internal rate of return on investment and land expectation value at the 5-digit ZIP code tabulation area level for 13 southern states. The 3PG model incorporates data on weather, soil, and species specific parameters to estimate potential volume production. This approach can be used for as a coarse filter for bioenergy projects that are under construction, in operation, proposed, or where due-diligence is required and to guide more detailed investigations in bioenergy siting-decision support systems. This approach will be most useful for choosing species to plant on former farmland or where landowners may be willing to change species on cutover forestland. The flexibility of the 3PG model allows for different climate scenarios to be developed and to assess risk of failure or lowered yields from extreme events such as drought, as well as altered future climate effects on sustainability. The silvicultural regime used in the model represents current and emerging practice; however, many feasible management regimes and site adaptations have been proposed. For example, the well-developed value chain for loblolly pine in the southern US provide opportunities for diverse silvicultural systems that could incorporate other biomass/bioenergy components, in addition to dedicated SRWC. The yield estimates can be used for further research on sustainability of carbon sequestration. The approach is useful generally as long as sufficient information on species traits is available to model productivity, silvicultural information to estimate management costs, and spatially explicit data on climate, environmental, and growing site conditions exists.
 

Publication Year
Contact Person
Stanturf J.
Bioenergy Category
Author
Stanturf J. , T. M. Young , J. H. Perdue

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. Here, a pairwise meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the effects of N fertilization (amount and duration) and climate on the above-ground biomass yields of miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.). Both regression models and meta-analyses showed that switchgrass was more responsive to N than miscanthus, although both showed significant and positive N effects. Meta-analysis further showed that the positive growth response of miscanthus to N application increased with N addition rates of 60–300 kg N ha−1 year−1, but the magnitude of the response decreased with the number of years of fertilization (duration). N effects on switchgrass biomass increased and peaked at rates of 120–160 kg N ha−1 year−1 and 5–6 years of N inputs, but diminished for rates >300 kg N ha−1 year−1 and >7 years. Meta-analysis further revealed that the influences of N on switchgrass increased with both mean annual temperature and precipitation. Miscanthus yields were less responsive to climate than switchgrass yields. This meta-analysis helps fill a gap in estimation of biofeedstock yields based on N fertilization and could help better estimate minimum N requirements and soil management strategies for miscanthus and switchgrass cultivation across climatic conditions, thereby improving the efficiency and sustainability of bioenergy cropping systems.

    Publication Year
    Organization
    Lab
    DOI
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2019.03.037
    Contact Person
    Huaihai Chen
    Contact Organization
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory
    Bioenergy Category
    Author
    Huaihai Chen , Zhongmin Dai , Henriette I. Jager , Stan D. Wullschleger , Jianming Xu , Christopher W. Schadt
    Funded from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office.

    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. In this review, we focused on four types of spatial decisions in a bioenergy landscape: decisions about placement of vegetated strips, artificial drainage, wetlands, and residue removal. The appropriate tools for addressing spatial design questions are optimizations that seek to minimize losses of sediment and nutrients, reduce water temperature, and maximize farmer income. To accomplish these objectives through placing conservation practices, both field-scale and watershed-scale cost and benefits should be considered, as many biophysical processes are scale dependent. We developed decision trees that consider water quality objectives and landscape characteristics when determining the optimal locations of management practices. These decision trees summarize various rules for placing practices and can be used by farmers and others growing biofuels. Additionally, we examined interactions between conservation practices applied to bioenergy landscapes to highlight synergistic effects and to comprehensively address the question of conservation practice usage and placement. We found that combining conservation practices and accounting for their interactive effects can significantly improve water quality outcomes. Based on our review, we determine that by making spatial decisions on conservation practices, bioenergy landscapes can be designed to improve water quality and enhance other ecosystem services.

      Publication Year
      Organization
      Lab
      Email
      jkreig@vols.utk.edu
      DOI
      https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2019.105327
      Contact Person
      Jasmine A.F. Kreig
      Contact Organization
      University of Tennessee
      Bioenergy Category
      Author
      Jasmine A.F. Kreig , Herbert Ssegane , Indrajeet Chaubey , Maria C. Negri , Henriette I. Jager
      Funded from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office.

      This data article focuses on sustainability indicators for bioenergy generation from Brazilian Amazon׳s non-woody native biomass sources, considered to be modern forms of biomass. In the construction of the indicators, the Indicator-based Framework for Evaluation of Natural Resource Management Systems (MESMIS, from the original Spanish) method was used, with the application of the seven sustainability attributes to identify critical points and limiting and favorable factors for sustainability. The data yielded a list of 29 indicators distributed across 27 critical points, selected from three system evaluation areas: 11 environmental indicators, 11 social indicators, and 7 economic indicators.

      Publication Year
      Email
      josmarflores@gmail.com
      DOI
      https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2018.11.022
      Contact Person
      Josmar AlmeidaFlores
      Contact Organization
      Universidade do Vale do Taquari
      Bioenergy Category
      Author
      Josmar Almeida Flores , Odorico Konrad , Cíntia Rosina Flores , Nádia Teresinha Schroder

      The economic potential for Eucalyptus spp. production for jet fuel additives in the United States: A 20 year projection suite of scenarios ranging from $110 Mg-1 to $220 Mg-1 utilizing the POLYSYS model.

      Phone
      Publication Year
      Project Title
      The economic potential for Eucalyptus spp. production for jet fuel additives in the United States
      Organization
      Lab
      Email
      davismr@ornl.gov
      Contact Person
      Maggie R. Davis
      Contact Organization
      ORNL
      Author
      Maggie R. Davis

      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.

      http://jgcri.github.io/gcam-doc/

      Phone
      Publication Year
      Project Title
      GCAM Bioenergy and Land Use Modeling
      Lab
      Email
      marshall.wise@pnnl.gov
      Contact Person
      Marshall Wise
      Contact Organization
      PNNL
      Author
      Marshall Wise
      WBS Project Number
      4.1.2.50 NL0022708
      Funded from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office.
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