Role of Biomass in Americas Energy Future

Project Tasks

The RBAEF project consists of two components—1) an analysis of technology and economics; and 2) an assessment of environmental consequences and policy options—and is comprised of seven tasks:

1) Biomass production

Analysis of potential future productivity and cost of energy crops.
Technical Task Leader: Sandy McLaughlin, University of Tennessee

2) Biomass power

Analysis of advanced biomass-to-electricity technologies, especially gasification-based processes employing gas turbines or fuel cells.
Technical Task Leader: Eric Larson (PDF file), Princeton University

3) Biomass vehicular fuels

Analysis of advanced biomass fuels production and use, including both biological and thermochemical conversion processes.
Technical Task Leaders: Lee Lynd, Dartmouth; Eric Larson (PDF file), Princeton; Michael Wang, Argonne National Lab

4) Co-product potential

Evaluation of potential co-products—including organic chemicals and fuels, hydrogen, electricity, and/or animal feed—to improve economic returns and/or environmental benefits.
Technical Task Leaders: Mark Laser, Dartmouth; Bruce Dale, Michigan State University

5) Biomass resource sufficiency

Determination of land requirements for a range of biomass energy scenarios, with consideration given to biomass productivity, conversion and end-use efficiency, requirements for food and organic materials, and other factors.
Technical Task Leader: Lee Lynd, Dartmouth

6) Transition dynamics

Assessment of potential transition paths and timing for shifting toward large-scale reliance on biomass energy, including identification and analysis of factors affecting market penetration.
Technical Task Leader: John Sheehan, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

7) Policy options and evaluation

Identification and evaluation of potential policies aimed at accelerating the rate of advancement and deployment of biomass conversion technologies.
Technical Task Leader: Nathanael Greene, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)