The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) along with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have released its 2016 Billon-Ton Report. The study found that within 25 years, the U.S. could produce enough biomass to support a bioeconomy including renewable aquatic and terrestrial biomass resources. The report also found that by 2040, the country could sustainably produce at least one billion tons of non-food biomass. Key biomass feedstocks fueling the bioeconomy include agricultural, forestry, and algal biomass, as well as waste – all useable for the production of biofuel, biopower, and bioproducts.
The report findings show that under a base-case scenario, the U.S. could increase its use of dry biomass resources from a current 400 million tons to 1.57 billion tons under a high-yield scenario. This is important because increasing production and use of biofuel, biopower, and bioproducts would substantially decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the utility and transportation sectors and reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil as the domestic bioeconomy grows.
New to the 2016 report is novel assessments of potential biomass supplies from algae, from new energy crops (miscanthus, energy cane, eucalyptus), and from municipal solid waste. For the first time, the report also considers how the cost of pre-processing and transporting biomass to the biorefinery may impact feedstock availability.
On July 21, 2016, the Bioenergy Technologies Office will be hosting a joint webinar with Oak Ridge National Laboratory staff to further discuss and answer questions regarding the 2016 Billion-Ton Report volume 1 results, scenarios, assumptions, and constraints.