Publication Details

Title : Developing Country-Level Water Footprints of Biofuel Produced from Switchgrass and Miscanthus x Giganteus in the United States
Publication Date : October 23, 2014
Authors : M. Wu, Y.W. Chiu
Abstract : Perennial grass has been proposed as a potential candidate for producing cellulosic biofuel because of its promising productivity and benefits to water quality, and because it is a non-food feedstock. While extensive research focuses on selecting and developing species and conversion technologies, the impact of grass-based biofuel production on water resources remains less clear. As feedstock growth requires water and the type of water consumed may vary considerably from region to region, water use must be characterized with spatial resolution and on a fuel production basis. This report summarizes a study that assesses the impact of biofuel production on water resource use and water quality at county, state, and regional scales by developing a water footprint of biofuel produced from switchgrass and Miscanthus × giganteus via biochemical conversion. Estimates of the blue, green, and gray water footprints of these perennial biofuels were conducted at the county level for the U.S. On the basis of the feedstock resource production potential projected in the U.S. Billion-Ton Update [USDOE 2011], a series of feedstock production scenarios is analyzed. The perennial-grass-based biofuel pathway is examined under six biomass resource projection scenarios, for the years 2022 and 2030 at farm-gate prices of $40, $60, and $80 per dry short ton of feedstock.

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