There is much talk today about introducing biofuels in the United States and in the world. It is clear that the best, most defensible policies will have to employ the precautionary principle, and stay away from converting food crops into fuels in order to avoid not just harming the environment but also disrupting food and feed markets. The next generations of biofuels will come from converting lignocellulosic plants. The details of how are emerging now. One of the critical issues is producing biofuels environmentally and economically efficiently on a large scale. We present a case study of Illinois and Indiana, states that could grow biomass, convert it into fuels, and supply their needs from local sources. We calculate the greenhouse gas footprint of this scenario, and account for the human health effects of this large-scale change in fuel provision relative to the existing petroleum refining industry.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)