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Forests 2011, 2(4), 861-874; doi:10.3390/f2040861
Article

Sustainable Biofuel Contributions to Carbon Mitigation and Energy Independence

1,* , 1
, 2
, 3
, 1
, 4
, 5
 and 6
1 Anderson Hall, Room 107, School of Forest Resources, College of Environment, University of Washington, P.O. Box 352100, Seattle, WA 98195, USA 2 Department of Forest Biomaterials, College of Natural Resources, North Carolina State University, 2820 Faucette Drive, Raleigh, NC 27695-8005, USA 3 Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA 4 Leonard Johnson and Associates, 1205 Kamiaken, Moscow, ID 83843, USA 5 WoodLife Environmental Consultants, LLC, 8200 NW Chaparral Drive, Corvallis, OR 97330, USA 6 Forest Products, Building 1, Room 1201, Department of Forest Products, Mississippi State University, P.O. Box 9820, Mississippi State, MS 39762-9820, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 August 2011 / Revised: 25 September 2011 / Accepted: 27 September 2011 / Published: 19 October 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biofuels From Forests: Woody Biomass)
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Abstract

The growing interest in US biofuels has been motivated by two primary national policy goals, (1) to reduce carbon emissions and (2) to achieve energy independence. However, the current low cost of fossil fuels is a key barrier to investments in woody biofuel production capacity. The effectiveness of wood derived biofuels must consider not only the feedstock competition with low cost fossil fuels but also the wide range of wood products uses that displace different fossil intensive products. Alternative uses of wood result in substantially different unit processes and carbon impacts over product life cycles. We developed life cycle data for new bioprocessing and feedstock collection models in order to make life cycle comparisons of effectiveness when biofuels displace gasoline and wood products displace fossil intensive building materials. Wood products and biofuels can be joint products from the same forestland. Substantial differences in effectiveness measures are revealed as well as difficulties in valuing tradeoffs between carbon mitigation and energy independence.
Keywords: biofuels; gasification; fermentation; sustainability; carbon mitigation; energy independence; LCI; LCA biofuels; gasification; fermentation; sustainability; carbon mitigation; energy independence; LCI; LCA
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Lippke, B.; Gustafson, R.; Venditti, R.; Volk, T.; Oneil, E.; Johnson, L.; Puettmann, M.; Steele, P. Sustainable Biofuel Contributions to Carbon Mitigation and Energy Independence. Forests 2011, 2, 861-874.

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