Biofuels Feedstock
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Date: 1/1/94    Record No.: 10051
Contact: Janet Cushman, 615-574-7818; Lynn Wright, Robin Graham, 615- 576-7756

Biofuels Feedstock
ORNL has managed the DOE's Transportation Program's work in crops and cropping systems for biofuel for over 14 years. (SERI/NREL handles the conversion technology.) An emphasis on ethanol is now broadened, with additional funding from DOE/EER and EPRI. Initially focused on crop yield research, there is now also work on demonstration and analysis (environmental CO2, economic development benefits, etc.)

Working with utilities on trees, especially interested due to opportunity to cofire with wood, and "closed CO2 cycle" aspects. Also with ethanol producers and NREL. No plans to use existing forests, but need fuel while waiting for trees to grow. Ultimate objective is agricultural cropping. Doing project with TVA (Bruce Gold) and EPRI on cofiring woodwaste and crop residues, and resource assessment (economics, GIS/network model, etc.). Planting 1000 acre poplar farm in S. Minn., cofunded with EPRI, NSP and Minn. Power.

Species breeding--focus on poplars (hardwood). Best non-wood option is switch-grass--screening/breeding program at Purdue.

DOE/NREL recently released an RFP for feasibility studies of complete systems for biomass power and liquid fuels. (When making alcohol from biomass, 25% of mass is lignin, which goes unused unless it's burned for power--i.e., power as a by-product--same idea would apply for paper mills.)

Ethanol producers formed a Consortium for Plant Biotechnology at Purdue, to use cellulose waste. (Involves New Energy of Indiana and ADM)