US DOE released 2016 Billion-Ton Report

In July 2016, US DOE released its third report on the estimation of biomass production, which is entitled “2016 BILLION-TON REPORT Advancing Domestic Resources for a Thriving Bioeconomy”. The previous two reports were released in 2005 and 2011, respectively. This report is to quantify the potential of U.S. biomass resources, under biophysical and economic constraints, for production of renewable energy and bioproducts. The largest single source of renewable energy is biomass including agricultural and forestry resources, municipal solid waste (MSW), and algae. It represented 3.9 quadrillion of 9.6 quadrillion Btu in 2015. As shown in the report:

  • Roadside, i.e. Forest Resources and Urban Wood Waste: Spatial distribution of the 97 million tons is available at $60 per ton in 2040.
  • At the Farmgate, i.e. Agricultural Supplies (including switchgrass, miscanthus, energy cane, biomass sorghum, willow, eucalyptus, poplar and pine): The spatial distribution of the 588 million tons is potentially available at $60 or less in 2040.
  • Wastes (agricultural wastes, forestry wastes, and MSW): The spatial distribution of 132 million tons of MSW, secondary crop residues, and manure is estimated available at roadside at $60 per ton or less.
  • Combined forestry resources, agricultural resources, wastes, and currently used supplies potentially available at $60 or less were estimated as total 1.2 billion tons under the base-case scenario and 1.5 billion under tons a high-yield scenario by 2040.
  • Algae: Biomass potential for Chlorella sorokiniana in freshwater media is estimated to be 12 million, 19 million, and 15 million dry tons for co-location scenarios with CO2 from eth­anol production plants, coal-fired electric generating units (EGUs), and natural gas EGUs, respectively. Current productivities for Nannochloropsis salina in saline media are potentially higher.

In summary, this report concludes that the United States has the potential to sustainably produce at least 1 billion dry tons of nonfood biomass resources annually by 2040.

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