Archive for General Information

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.

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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.

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Canada’s potential for biofuel

By Laura Palombi

In my first review, I focused on how the oils sands industry is one reason why Canada is not on track to meet its Kyoto emissions reduction targets. Despite this setback, Canada is working to expand its biofuel industry and has set targets of 5% renewable content for gasoline by 2010 and 2% renewable content for diesel and home heating oil by 2012. In this review, I will explore how wood biomass and warm-season prairie grasses could contribute to meeting these targets and the implications for land use demands and large-scale commercial production.

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Indirect Land Use Change and U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard

By Mark Ellis

Recent articles in Science and other publications have indicated that the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from indirect land use changes (ILUC) from U.S. biofuels production may exceed those resulting from direct land use change (DLUC). This effect is hypothesized to occur when existing cropland is converted from producing fuel to producing food, which then increased food prices and drives land use change in other areas of the globe to compensate for lost food and feed supply. Moreover the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act has recently been amended to require the inclusion of ILUC in life-cycle analysis of GHG emissions associated with U.S. biofuel production. Yet the science to justify the inclusion of ILUC and measure its impact is immature and the issue is laden with high levels of uncertainty. Camps on both sides of the argument are lobbying intensely on this issue as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers revisions to the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard. This investigative review examines the issue of ILUC resulting from U.S. biofuels production and whether future U.S. biofuel policy should in fact require its inclusion.

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