Despite a rapid worldwide expansion of the biofuel industry, there is a lack of consensus within the scientific community about the potential of biofuels to reduce reliance on petroleum and decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Although life cycle assessment provides a means to quantify these potential benefits and environmental impacts, existing methods limit direct comparison within and between different biofuel systems because of inconsistencies in performance metrics, system boundaries, and underlying parameter values. There is a critical need for standardized life-cycle methods, metrics, and tools to evaluate biofuel systems based on performance of feedstock production and biofuel conversion at regional or national scales, as well as for estimating the net GHG mitigation of an individual biofuel production system to accommodate impending GHG-intensity regulations and GHG emissions trading. Predicting the performance of emerging biofuel systems (e.g., switchgrass cellulosic ethanol) poses additional challenges for life cycle assessment due to lack of commercial-scale feedstock production and conversion systems. Continued political support for the biofuel industry will be influenced by public perceptions of the contributions of biofuel systems towards mitigation of GHG emissions and reducing dependence on petroleum for transportation fuels. Standardization of key performance metrics such as GHG emissions mitigation and net energy yield are essential to help inform both public perceptions and public policy.
Traffic flows in the U.S. have been affected by the substantial increase and, as of January 2009, decrease in biofuel production and use. This paper considers a framework to study the effect on grain transportation flows of the 2005 Energy Act and subsequent legislation, which mandated higher production levels of biofuels, e.g. ethanol and biodiesels. Future research will incorporate changes due to the recent economic slowdown.
The link provides data and reports related to bioenergy - ethanol and biodiesel produced by Minnesota.
A presentation by Andrea Grant of Independent Fuel Terminal Operators Association.
A presentation by Bruce Heine of Magellan Midstream Partners to the 2006 Bioeconomy Conference held at Iowa State University.
Search for and download detailed data on fueling stations for several different types of alternative fuels.
We quantify the emergence of biofuel markets and its impact on U.S. and world agriculture for the coming decade using the multi-market, multi-commodity international FAPRI (Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute) model. The model incorporates the trade-offs between biofuel, feed, and food production and consumption and international feedback effects of the emergence through world commodity prices and trade. We examine land allocation by type of crop, and pasture use for countries growing feedstock for ethanol (corn, sorghum, wheat, sugarcane, and other grains) and major crops competing with feedstock for land resources such as oilseeds. We shock the model with exogenous changes in ethanol demand, first in the United States, then in Brazil, China, the European Union-25, and India, and compute shock multipliers for land allocation decisions for crops and countries of interest. The multipliers show at the margin how sensitive land allocation is to the growing demand for ethanol. Land moves away from major crops and pasture competing for resources with feedstock crops. Because of the high U.S. tariff on ethanol, higher U.S. demand for ethanol translates into a U.S. ethanol production expansion. The latter has global effects on land allocation as higher coarse grain prices transmit worldwide. Changes in U.S. coarse grain prices also affect U.S. wheat and oilseed prices, which are all transmitted to world markets. In contrast, expansion in Brazil ethanol use and production chiefly affects land used for sugarcane production in Brazil and to a lesser extent in other sugarproducing countries, but with small impacts on other land uses in most countries.
Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel substitute. It can be made from a variety of natural oils and fats. Biodiesel is made by chemically combining any natural oil or fat with an alcohol such as methanol or ethanol. Methanol has been the most commonly used alcohol in the commercial production of biodiesel. In Europe, biodiesel is widely available in both its neat form (100% biodiesel, also know as B100) and in blends with petroleum diesel. European biodiesel is made predominantly from rapeseed oil (a cousin of canola oil). In the U.S., initial interest in producing and using biodiesel has focused on the use of soybean oil as the primary feedstock mainly because the U.S. is the largest producer of soybean oil in the world.
This report discusses the development of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions estimates for the production of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) derived fuels (in particular, FT diesel), makes comparisons of these estimates to reported literature values for petroleum-derived diesel, and outlines strategies for substantially reducing these emissions. This report is the product of the first phase of a comprehensive assessment being conducted by Energy and Environmental Solutions (E2S), LLC, for the National Energy Technology Center (NETL) to characterize the impact, both short and long term, of FT fuel production on the environment and on human health and well-being. This study involved the development of GHG inventories for a number of conceptual FT process designs. It also included the development of preliminary estimates for criteria pollutant emissions. The next phase of this assessment will address life-cycle improvements for FT fuels by targeting specific process changes aimed at reducing GHG emissions. Preliminary results have identified promising reduction strategies and these estimates have been included in this document. Future research will be focused on expanding the current emissions inventory to include a broader range of multimedia emissions of interest to NETL programs, and on performing economic analyses corresponding to the new low-emission FT process designs developed.