U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Could Biofuels Replace a Large Fraction of the U.S. Petroleum Demand?
Published: October 25, 2010
Posted: November 03, 2010

Sustainability of large-scale biofuel domestic production is a serious concern. A new model has been developed at the DOE Great Lakes BioEnergy Research Center to assess the potential impact of existing and emerging technologies for the production of biofuels and animal feed. The model assumes that all land used for human food, forests, rangeland, and most other uses will not be affected by the production of bioenergy and animal feed. The only land considered for these technologies is currently allocated to animal feed and corn ethanol. The technologies considered in this study include separating and concentrating leaf protein, pretreating forage, and double cropping where possible. These results outlined in a recent article in Environmental Science & Technology indicate the potential for annual production of about 100 billion gallons of ethanol with no impact on domestic food production or indirect land use change, while significantly reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, increasing soil fertility, and promoting biodiversity.

Reference: Dale B., Bals B., Kim S., and Eranki P., "Biofuels Done Right: Land Efficient Animal Feeds Enable Large Environmental and Energy Benefits," Environ. Sci. Technol, 10.1021/es101864b, October 7, 2010

Contact: John Houghton, SC-23.2, (301) 903-8288
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Multisector Dynamics (formerly Integrated Assessment)
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)