Navigation Links
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 many of the residues from agriculture and forestry products have higher value uses as feed and fiber than as feedstock for biofuels. Additionally, these resources are difficult to collect and transport to processing facilities.

Like many parts of the country, the Northwest has a limited ability to supply the quantity of low-cost feedstocks required for traditional biofuel conversions, said Dennis Stiles, lead author of the report. We will need to use multiple resources and new technologies. A sustainable biofuels industry in the Northwest is possible, but it wont be easy.

One resource that is readily available is municipal solid waste. In 2004, Oregon and Washington residents generated 8.2 lbs and 7.5 lbs per person per day respectively. According to the report, the organic fraction of MSW constitutes 70 percent of the regions currently available biomass.

MSW can be an important part of a larger biofuels industry that utilizes multiple biomass resources, including agriculture and timber, according to the report. It has fewer traditional hurdles than other biomass resources: the infrastructure to collect it already exists; it is concentrated in a small number of locations; and current disposal options are limited and becoming increasingly expensive. In contrast, resources such as wheat straw and timber harvesting residues are not currently collected at a significant scale and are dispersed throughout the region. Over time, MSW can help provide a market to develop new energy crops within the region, note the reports authors.

If we can find a way to ensure waste reaches its potential as a viable fuel source and in a cost-effective manner, its a win-win scenario for the economy and the environment. said Stiles.

The use of indigenous resources also heightens the need for investment in conversion technologies that arent yet commercially available. The need is significant because nearly all of the Northwests available biomass resources, including MSW, are comprised of lignocellulosic materials. These materials are more difficult to convert to traditional biofuels than grain crops. A concerted research and development effort is necessary for these complex feedstocks to become cost-competitive with petroleum fuels.

The report also identifies an important opportunity for development of new chemical processes that convert the lignocellusic biomass to bio-crude. Biocrude, with appropriate upgrading, can be directly substituted for petroleum at regional refineries. The report also describes approaches that use chemical processes to convert biomass to gasoline and to diesel fuels that are compatible with existing vehicles and the current fuel distribution systems. These approaches better leverage the existing fuels infrastructure.

A new look at conversion technologies can give the region a chance to leapfrog from the existing suite of biofuels technologies to the next generation of biofuels that work with todays vehicles and gas stations, said Stiles. The technologies developed here can also be successfully used in other regions of the country to provide biofuels for our nation.

Biofuels will be part of the solution to reducing Americas dependence on imported oil while transitioning to a renewable energy base -- but they arent the only solution, according to Davis.

We must substantially advance all potential solutions -- from energy efficiency and conservation to demand-side management and carbon capture -- if were going to get to the rate and scale needed to reduce dependence on imported oil while reducing carbon emissions.


'/>"/>

Contact: Christy Lambert
christy.lambert@pnl.gov
509-375-3732
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. A screening strategy using zebrafish targets genes that protect against hearing loss
2. The art of using science to inform ecosystem restoration in Puget Sound
3. Using DNA, scientists hunt for the roots of the modern potato
4. Paired microbes eliminate methane using sulfur pathway
5. Scientists find missing evolutionary link using tiny fungus crystal
6. Using carbon nanotubes to seek and destroy anthrax toxin and other harmful proteins
7. Using nanotechnology, UCLA researchers discover cancer cells feel much softer than normal cells
8. Using fMRI to study brain development
9. Massive Canadian oilfield could be exploited using new UK system
10. Rare cancer-causing syndrome found, for the first time, in Singapore
11. Study shows housing development on the rise near national forests
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/23/2017)... GENOA, Italy , May 23, 2017  Hunova, the first robotic ... and trunk, has been officially launched in Genoa, Italy ... Europe and the USA . The ... launched on the market by the IIT spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to ... view the Multimedia News Release, please click: ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... , April 24, 2017 ... and partner with  Identity Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) ... "With or without President Trump,s March 6, 2017 ... Terrorist Entry , refugee vetting can be instilled with ... resettlement. (Right now, all refugee applications are suspended ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... , April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through ... Innovation Summits will run alongside the expo portion of ... sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on trending topics within ... advanced design and manufacturing event will take place June ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... RURO, Inc., a leading ... 6.5, a content-packed update to the Limfinity® framework. , LimitLIS® and other RURO ... diverse base of customers among labs and other businesses. Limfinity® 6.5 adds new ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... Pa. , June 20, 2017  Kibow Biotech ... pleased to announce the issuance of a new patent ... or hyperuricemia by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ... a winner of the Buzz of Bio award in ... is akin to developing non-drug approaches to chronic disease. ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... ... June 19, 2017 , ... ... clinical development reported today that it is launching two new additions of its ... be demonstrating new capabilities at the DIA 2017 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, ...
(Date:6/16/2017)... ... June 16, 2017 , ... CTNext , Connecticut’s go-to resource ... held at The LOFT at Chelsea Piers in Stamford. , Nine finalists, all of ... of judges for an opportunity to secure $10,000 awards to help support business growth. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: