The 2011 US Billion-Ton Update1 estimates that there are enough agricultural and forest resources to sustainably provide enough biomass to displace approximately 30% of the country’s current petroleum consumption. A portion of these resources are inaccessible at current cost targets with conventional feedstock supply systems because of their remoteness or low yields. Reliable analyses and projections of US biofuels production depend on assumptions about the supply system and biorefinery capacity, which, in turn, depend on economics, feedstock logistics, and sustainability. A cross-functional team has examined optimal combinations of advances in feedstock supply systems and biorefinery capacities with rigorous design information, improved crop yield and agronomic practices, and improved estimates of sustainable biomass availability. Biochemical-conversion-to-ethanol is analyzed for conventional bale-based system and advanced uniform-format feedstock supply system designs. The latter involves ‘pre-processing’ biomass into a higher-density, aerobically stable, easily transportable format that can supply large-scale biorefineries. Feedstock supply costs, logistics and processing costs are analyzed and compared, taking into account environmental sustainability metrics.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_muth/17/