The Biofuel Emissions Debate: Comparing GHG emissions of various biofuel technologies and feedstocks

By Jason Macdonald

The carbon emissions mitigation and sequestration field is riddled with uncertainties, and biofuel emissions are no exception. While the debate over which carbon mitigation techniques are the most effective goes on in both the scientific and political spheres, the present analysis tries to pull together much of the established emissions literature for various biofuels and identify the discrepancies between them. The analysis attempts to determine the sources of these discrepancies and identify potential areas for future research to reduce this uncertainty. Greenhouse gas emissions are considered from a full fuel life cycle perspective.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (2) »

Can human activity count as clean energy?

By Dominic Pietro

Is it possible for the power generated by humans to be count as renewable energy certificates or carbon offsets? As the threat of climate change becomes increasingly severe, more and more novel solutions are being sought out to combat the problem. Bio-based carbon mitigation is an important and growing sector of carbon reduction strategies. So far though, the strategies focus on plant-based carbon sequestration and biofuels. The potential for plant-based carbon mitigation is high, but if we, as a country, or a world, want to seriously tackle global warming as much as possible, perhaps using human-based energy is a feasible option.

Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment »

Moldy Vegetables and Discarded Leftovers: The Hidden Carbon in Table Scraps

By Paul Davis

Each day the average American sends three pounds of solid waste to the landfill, out of which nearly six ounces is energy rich food scraps. While a small portion of our food scraps are currently recaptured for composting, the EPA estimates that nearly 97 plus percent ends up in landfills where it produces prodigious amounts of CH4 gas – contributing to global warming while wasting a precious form of potentially renewable energy. However, as recognition has grown over landfill wastes as a substantial source of greenhouse gas emissions, researchers and businessman have began to dedicate increased amounts of time and money to developing advanced digester technologies that can effectively capture food waste gas emissions and utilize them to produce green energy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment »

Converting Sweets to Biofuels

By Craig Cammarata

It is no secret that the United States has a collective sweet tooth. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “America is drowning in sugar.” We all enjoy occasional, or not so occasional, sweets, but there are opportunity costs associated with our consumption of caloric sweeteners. It is quite possible to use the caloric sweeteners manufactured from sugarcane, sugar beet, and corn for bioethanol production. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the potential of this reallocation by estimating the amount of gasoline that could be offset by converting our use of caloric sweeteners to bioethanol.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (2) »

Combining Bio-Based Carbon Capture with Technological Carbon Sequestration

By Dominic Pietro

Forests have limited use for carbon sequestration. Most of their carbon storage occurs in the wood itself, so a mature forest has a very slow rate of carbon sequestration; most happens while the trees are still growing. Most technological solutions CO2 removal and sequestration are still a long way from being fully developed and are expensive. At least one man has developed a method to turn CO2 into graphite, a highly stable form of carbon. The possibility of combining this new process with afforestation could lead to slow, but cheap and long-term or permanent carbon storage.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (1) »

Could sustainable forest management practices provide regular supply of feed stocks for cellulosic ethanol production at commercial scale?

By Mukesh Patir

The Renewal Fuels Standards (RFS) of US Energy Independence and Security Act 2007 requires replacing 39 billion gallons of gasoline use by 2022 with renewal fuels and of these 21 billion gallons is expected to come from cellulosic ethanol. The USDA provide loan up to $ 250 million dollars for research into renewal fuels and recently it has awarded loan to Range fuels to build a 100 million gallons cellulosic ethanol plant in Georgia using mostly woods and forest residues. Is it going to be sustainable or would intensive forest management practice be able to supply feedstock for producing ethanol?

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (1) »

Pipes, Trains, and Trucks: How to move biomass cost effectively

By Harry Short

Bioenergy plants today are defined by supply chains that use truck-based transport. Such transport has high fuel use per biomass transported as compared to bulk transport modes such as rail or ship. One can easily imagine a future in which a significant percentage of biofuel production is cannibalized to feed the fuel demands of its truck fleet (Hill et al., 2006). This investigative review explores two alternative transport options, rail and pipelines, and attempts to update previous analyses by using higher fuel diesel costs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (3) »