Navigation Links
Mandate for biofuels production requires science-based policy and global perspective
Date:10/2/2008

In his State of the Union Address on January 23, 2007, President Bush stated that, in order to substantially lower foreign oil imports, "We must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017."

This mandate coupled with a $1.01 ethanol refiner subsidy promised in the 2008 Farm Bill and a $45 subsidy per ton of biomass production for growers are putting energy needs ahead of environmental sustainability, according to an article in the October 3, 2008 issue of Science Magazine entitled "Sustainable Biofuels Redux."

"Whether or not the benefits of biofuels are realized will depend on which, where and how these crops are grown," said Michelle Wander, University of Illinois soil scientist and one of the 23 authors of the Science Magazine article.

"Even though there are many questions about biofuel sustainability that remain unanswered, we do know enough to move in the right direction right now by aggressively developing and implementing best management approaches in both the grain and cellulose-based systems," Wander said.

"Increasing the production of cellulosic materials to produce alternative fuels could have many social and environmental benefits, but it could also create problems for the environment and society that we haven't anticipated. In some instances we haven't had time to do the research while, in others, we have overlooked the obvious."

Wander said that the article in Science cautions that although cellulosic feedstocks show promise by lessening the need for nitrogen fertilizer and other chemical inputs, the effects on biodiversity, water and soil could be negative if marginal land is claimed in order to prevent competition with food crops.

"We are going to have to tailor systems and crop choice to site conditions. For example, selection of miscanthus over switchgrass as a cellulosic bioenergy crop would produce more biomass and require less nitrogen but would require more water and would not feed wildlife."

The article goes on to state that globally, to produce an important amount of energy with biofuels requires a large amount of land. This will change the landscape of the Earth, not just in the United States. "One of the least understood aspects of the biofuels roll out is how it will play out on the international stage. U.S. decisions can influence the magnitude and direction of land-use change elsewhere, and vice versa," Wander said.

It calls for research that assesses the energy yield and carbon implications as well as the full impact of biofuel production including implementation of land-management approaches and a better understanding of how policy and management practices will impact food access, food security, farmland, forests, watersheds and the globe.

The article concludes that "sustainable biofuel production systems could play a highly positive role in mitigating climate change, enhancing environmental quality, and strengthening the global economy, but it will take sound, science-based policy and additional research effort to make this so."


'/>"/>

Contact: Debra Levey Larson
dlarson@illinois.edu
217-244-2880
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mandate for public access to NIH-funded research poised to become law
2. Thinking it through: Scientists call for policy to guide biofuels industry toward sustainability
3. Stevens awarded $1M for advanced biofuels research
4. A better way to make hydrogen from biofuels
5. Can biofuels be sustainable?
6. UGA gets $2.5 million in grants to study plants to make biofuels
7. Miscanthus can meet US biofuels goal using less land than corn or switchgrass
8. Biofuels and biodiversity dont mix, ecologists warn
9. Some biofuels might do more harm than good to the environment, study finds
10. New source for biofuels discovered
11. Iowa State, ConocoPhillips and National Renewable Energy Lab to cooperate on biofuels research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/29/2016)... 2016 BioDirection, a privately held medical device ... objective detection of concussion and other traumatic brain injury ... a meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ... Package. During the meeting company representatives reviewed plans for ... to commencement of a planned pilot trial. ...
(Date:11/22/2016)... -- According to the new market research report "Biometric System ... Voice), Multi-Factor), Component (Hardware and Software), Function (Contact and Non-contact), Application, and ... expected to grow from USD 10.74 Billion in 2015 to reach USD ... 2022. Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:11/17/2016)...  AIC announces that it has just released a new white paper authored by ... plus high speed data transfer storage solutions. Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161116/440463 ... ... ... Setting up a high performance computing or HPC system can ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/5/2016)... 5, 2016 NxGen MDx announced today that it brought its ... house, we,ve been able to improve customer service through shortened turnaround times ... Alan Mack , CEO of NxGen MDx. ... , A decrease in turnaround ... to more job opportunities at the Grand Rapid headquarters. The ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition ... Markets and Companies" to their offering. ... , , ... genome variations, development of sequencing technologies, and their applications. Current ... developing them. Various applications of sequencing are described including those ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... A proposed five-year extension for ... funded research and development is welcome news for the photonics community, say leaders ... As part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) compromise agreement finalized today ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... 2016  In five studies being presented today during ... and Exposition in San Diego , ... the delivery of life-saving treatments to patients with a ... to carry therapies directly to the sites in the ... a substantial advantage over traditional, systemic methods. The studies ...
Breaking Biology Technology: