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Survey of Biomass Resource Assessments and Assessment ... - NREL

Survey of Biomass Resource Assessments and Assessment ... - NREL


Theoretical Assessment. An economy-wide biomass assessment completed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is referred to as the “Billion Ton Study” (Perlack et al. 2005). This report examined whether the land resources of the United States are capable of producing a sustainable supply of biomass sufficient to displace 30% or more of the economy’s petroleum consumption – the goal set by the Biomass R&D Technical Advisory Committee (a panel established by Congress) in its vision for biomass technologies. Accomplishing this goal would require approximately 1,000 million dry tons of biomass feedstock a year. The study found that this goal could be met with resources from forest and agricultural lands (Figure 31). Forest resources – fuel wood harvested from forests, residues from wood- processing mills and pulp and paper mills, urban wood residues including construction and demolition debris, logging residues, and forest fuel treatment materials – could provide 367 Mt of biomass. Agricultural resources – residues from major crops, perennial crops, grains, and processing residues – could provide 997 Mt. Excluding grains, the second-generation cellulosic potential from perennial crops, farm and forest residues would amount to some 1,277 Mt. With a process yielding 300 liters per tonne, this would convert to 383 hm 3 of ethanol or 185 Mt of gasoline equivalent, an amount sufficient to displace 49% of 2005 U.S. gasoline consumption or 34% of 2005 U.S. crude oil imports. These estimates of future biomass potential are based on assumptions of high crop yield increase with changes in land use, as well as agricultural and forestry practices that could significantly increase the biomass resources available for energy conversion. The study is based on regional USDA data and contains tabular summaries of the potential future sustainable biomass resources that could be supplied from agricultural and forest lands. In 2008, ORNL is pursuing the second phase of this study, updating assumptions and data where needed, as well as looking at finer regional breakouts. 117

Source: Perlack et al., 2005 Figure 31. Potential Forest and Agricultural Resources in the United States Technical Assessment. While the “high crop yield increase with land use change” scenario of the “Billion Ton Study” illustrates future potential biomass resources, a baseline summary of the same study illustrates current feedstock availability. Resources catalogued in the baseline include 113 Mt of agricultural residues, 136 Mt of forest residues, and 60 Mt of waste products. The baseline second-generation biofuel potential is thus estimated to total some 309 Mt, which converts to 93 hm 3 of ethanol or 45 Mt of gasoline equivalent. This would be sufficient to displace about 12% of 2005 gasoline consumption or 8% of net 2005 crude oil imports in the United States. A study developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) also focuses on currently available biomass (Milbrandt 2005). The study estimates resources at a county level and it illustrates their geographic distribution in a series of maps for each resource type. 118

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