The contribution of biomass and waste resources to decarbonizing transportation and related energy and environmental effects

Doris Oke, Jennifer B. Dunn*, Troy R. Hawkins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Various technologies to reduce emissions from the transportation sector have emerged in the past decades, including biofuels and electric vehicles. Electrification is vital to decarbonization, but it is insufficient alone and may not apply to all transportation sectors. There is considerable interest in biofuels to complement electrification in decarbonizing transportation. In this study, we evaluate the extent to which biomass can contribute to the decarbonization of the transportation sector as electrification of the light-duty fleet increases. Using two biomass availability scenarios established at two different price points (≤$40 per dry ton and ≤$60 per dry ton), the study examines how electrification and biomass resources can be used to meet near-term societal transportation needs when biomass use is prioritized towards different transportation sectors. We consider the transportation sector as a whole, including the light-duty, heavy-duty, marine, and aviation sectors. The results show that biofuels could fulfill about 27% of energy demand across the heavy-duty, aviation, and marine sector at ≤$40 per dry ton and more than 50% at ≤$60 per dry ton by 2050, while electrification could be the primary means of decarbonizing light-duty vehicles. While in 2050 transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions could be 26% lower than in the baseline case with extensive electrification of the light-duty sector, this percentage could be increased to 37% and 52% at ≤$40 per dry ton and ≤$60 per dry ton, respectively, with increased market penetration of biofuels in the other transportation sectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-735
Number of pages15
JournalSustainable Energy and Fuels
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 7 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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