Biofuels developed from plant biomass and purpose-grown crops can substantially move California toward its ambitious energy goals, a new report says, but only through the wise allocation of feedstocks and the success of energy efficiency measures throughout the state.
That's the conclusion of "California Energy Future: the Potential for Biofuels," a report of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) co-authored by Energy Biosciences Institute scientists Heather Youngs and Chris Somerville. The study is one of seven produced by the CCST's California's Energy Future Committee, which was tasked with understanding how the state can meet aggressive reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions required by California policy by 2050.
The biofuels paper, according to lead author Youngs, a Senior Fellow at the EBI, addressed six scenarios of varied supply and demand options. They illustrate that the degree to which biofuels may help California meet its emissions goals depends upon how future demand for fuels rises or falls and what technologies are developed. Other factors include energy crop availability, investment decisions, public acceptance, and competing demands for renewable energy resources.
"The concerns regarding large-scale use of biomass for energy in California are largely a matter of sustainable resource management," Youngs said. "Judicious use of feedstocks will be required to obviate long-term sustainability concerns and maximize efficient resource management."
The researchers concluded that next-generation biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions of transportation to meet the target GHG reduction goals of the state, but deep replacement of fossil fuels through implementation of low-carbon lignocellulosic ethanol and advanced biomass-derived hydrocarbons (drop-in fuels), and reduction in demand, are required.
The challenge for California lies in landmark State Executive Order S-03-05, signed
|Contact: Ron Kolb|
University of California - Berkeley