Energy Action Month Topic #4: Analysis and Sustainability



Energy Action Month Topic #4: Analysis and Sustainability
Understanding & Enhancing the Benefits of Bioenergy

Landscape Design

Our Strategic Analysis and Crosscutting Sustainability Programs play a vital role at the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) in decision making, demonstrating our progress toward established goals, and directing research activities. This work is instrumental in setting the entire bioenergy value chain on an environmentally, socially, and economically viable course.

Learn about our recent achievements and the highlights of fiscal year (FY) 2015:


Three Analysis Tools are Enhancing Environmental Benefits of Biofuels

Tools called WATER, LEAF, and GREET are helping the bioenergy industry and researchers to develop advanced biofuels with proper consideration of water resources, soil quality, and greenhouse gas emissions. Read more about these exciting tools on the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Blog. 

Research on Multifunctional Landscapes Published

The journal Biomass and Bioenergy published an article about integrating cellulosic biomass production into existing agricultural systems in its September 2015 issue. Watch a short video about this BETO-funded research at Argonne National Laboratory.


Supply Chain Sustainability Analyses Completed: This fiscal year, three Supply Chain Sustainability Analysis (SCSA) reports were published through Argonne National Laboratory. The SCSAs use a life-cycle analysis approach to identify energy consumption or environmental issues that may be associated with biofuel production across a particular technology pathway. These analyses also facilitate comparison of life-cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions across biofuel pathways. 

New Version of WATER Tool Released: In January 2015, Argonne National Laboratory released version 3.0 of the Water Assessment for Transportation Energy Resources (WATER) tool. The tool assesses the water consumption of various types of biofuels. The new version provides water footprint analysis at the county level and includes wood residue as a feedstock for the first time.

Bioenergy and Sustainability Report Published: In April 2015, the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), an international nongovernmental organization, published the SCOPE Bioenergy and Sustainability Report, titled Bioenergy and Sustainability: Bridging the Gaps. The SCOPE report concluded that land availability is not a limiting factor to bioenergy production. The report includes research from several BETO-funded national laboratories and details how informed management of biomass and bioenergy technologies can lead to beneficial economic and environmental outcomes.

Sustainability Webinar Held: In April 2015, in the BETO webinar “Biofuels for the Environment and Communities,” Dr. Virginia Dale (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) and Dr. Cristina Negri (Argonne National Laboratory) discussed their research on how to develop biofuels that positively impact the environmental, socioeconomic, and technoeconomic sustainability of the biofuel industry in the United States.

Research Released on Carbon Impacts of Shale and Canadian Oil Sands: In June 2015, research released from Argonne National Laboratory showed that gasoline and diesel refined from Canadian oil sands have a higher carbon impact than fuels derived from conventional domestic crude sources. In October 2015, Argonne National Laboratory released two studies that show that shale oil production generates greenhouse gas emissions at levels similar to traditional crude oil production. This work helps to improve the petroleum baseline estimate that serves as the comparison point for alternative-fuel pathways in the Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) Model.

Landscape Design Project Selected: In August 2015, Antares Group, Inc. was selected to receive up to $9 million to enable more stable and sustainable future feedstock supplies in areas near three cellulosic ethanol biorefineries in Iowa and Kansas. This project was selected under the funding opportunity announcement “Landscape Design for Sustainable Bioenergy Systems,” a joint effort with our Terrestrial Feedstock Supply and Logistics Program. For more information on integrating bioenergy into sustainable landscape designs, see a report from the FY 2014 landscape design workshops on the Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework.

New Design Reports Published: This fiscal year, three new design reports were published. The Analysis Program develops technology pathway design reports to help guide BETO’s near-term research and development strategy.

This is the last e-blast in our series highlighting FY 2015 accomplishments of our programs across the supply chain. Tomorrow, read our regular News Blast for more of the latest news from the Bioenergy Technologies Office, and be sure to follow our work in the coming year!


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