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

ny 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 avail
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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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