DEVELOPMENT OF BIOMASS RESOURCES
All of the improvements that were mentioned on the previous pages will be made even greater with the increased use of ethanol made from non-traditional biomass material.
There is a growing need to develop a market for biomass removed from forests and woodlots to maintain the health of trees, soils and wildlife. Removal of nonproductive biomass from forests and woodlots also reduce the likelihood of uncontrolled forest fires.
Biomass feedstocks including crop residues (e.g. corn stover, rice straw, sugar cane bagasse, etc.), animal waste, and low-input energy crops can be utilized to produce electricity, heat, fuels, chemicals, and a variety of marketable products, creating new businesses and jobs. Biomass can be co-fired with coal in existing facilities to produce electricity, or combusted in dedicated biomass plants, lowering the emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Burdensome agricultural waste streams can be converted into revenue streams.
Tremendous untapped renewable resources exist throughout America's farmland.
Cellulosic ethanol can be produced from biomass and blended with gasoline or used as a stand-alone fuel. According to the Argonne National Laboratory, cellulosic ethanol can achieve over a 100 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to gasoline. Biofuels, like ethanol, can be produced along with biobased chemicals, polymers, and other products in "biorefineries," lowering production costs and producing several marketable products.
The new Energy Bill creates several new programs to accelerate research and demonstration of biomass-to-ethanol technologies. Conservative estimates suggest 30% to 50% US fuel needs could be met through biomass conversion.
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