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Key to using local resources for biomass may include waste
Date:3/17/2008

The Northwest can have a sizeable biofuels industry based primarily on local resources -- if non-traditional feedstocks, such as municipal waste, and new conversion technologies are used, according to a report issued today by the Department of Energys Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

It will be difficult for the Northwest to create a significant biofuels industry based on todays land use practices with currently available agricultural and forestry resources alone. However, if municipal solid waste is used in conjunction with these existing resources, the region can produce 10 to 15 percent of its transportation fuel from indigenous resources. An even larger industry can be created with new land use practices and the identification of new energy crops. These findings are from the PNNL report, Biofuels in Oregon and Washington: A Business Case Analysis of Opportunities and Challenges.

The regions rapidly emerging ethanol and biodiesel industry is currently dependant on imported feedstocks.

With a growing demand for transportation fuels and constrained petroleum supplies, there is a growing need for a significant biofuels industry in the Northwest and across the country, said Mike Davis, who leads PNNLs Energy and Environment Directorate. If we want to develop an industry that makes sense for the local economy and environment and is big enough to make a difference, we need to be willing to look beyond the Midwest model.

We need to develop unconventional approaches that are consistent with regional resources and economics.

It is critical that the Northwest look beyond the traditional biomass model, the report finds, because the region has a highly diversified agricultural system, with the most productive acreage used to grow high-value food, seed and ornamental crops. The value of these crops for traditional uses currently exceeds their potential value as a resource for biofuels. The report also finds ma
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Contact: Christy Lambert
christy.lambert@pnl.gov
509-375-3732
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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